Within the square mile that makes up the City of London, there are more than 14,000 businesses. Fortunately the city’s landscape reaches high, otherwise there wouldn’t be much more room for budding entrepreneurs.
Known worldwide for being a hub of financial activity, the City of London is home to some of the world’s biggest accountancy firms, banks, and investors. Amongst the financial moguls you’ll find the occasional law firm, tech ventures like Google, and telecommunications outfits like Three. Competition for rental space is fierce, and the City of London’s local government does expect businesses to commit to sustainable practice. Knowing a little more about this area in general can help you determine whether it’s the right place to invest.
The City of London’s Financial Sector
The City of London is also known as the “Square mile”, and when investors worldwide hear that phrase, they know people are referring to the UK’s financial hub. There, you will find traditional banks and insurance agencies, including international branches like the Bank of America and the Bank of Canada. Foreign exchange businesses also thrive in the City of London, with a turnover of around 0.73 trillion alone.
Sitting at the heart of all this financial activity is the London Stock Exchange, which has been in existence since 1801. Alongside the heavily regulated London Stock Exchange is the alternative investment market, which exists for those who do not have the usual connections for traditional investing. It’s less well regulated, but it does open the financial floor up to a broader range of investors.
Although the finance industry dominates the City of London’s business activities, you will find the odd non-financial venture. This includes Google, which is home to one of London’s most innovative offices with hundreds of employees. Finally, there’s Three, which is a relative newcomer to the telecommunications industry, but is one that continues to grow stronger on a daily basis. Continue reading “Focus on Business in the City of London”
In 2013, major international brands from around the world gave London’s economy a boost by bringing a total of 31 new stores to the city. From the acclaimed American clothing store J Crew to luxury brand Tom Ford, each one placed its mark on the capital of England for the first time. After what has seemed like an endlessly tense economic recovery, the introduction of these stores to the capital has proved to bring good news. As of May 2014, London held the title of being the ‘World’s most popular city for international retailers’, making it a go-to shopping destination for people across the globe.
London Knocking Dubai from the Hot Shopping Top Spot
With approximately 57% of the world’s major international brands now owning stores in London, the city is ahead of Dubai, New York, Paris, and Shanghai, all of which have enviable shopping reputations of their own. To complement its reputation for shopping prestige, London carries a cosmopolitan vibe, which appeals to young and rich fashion lovers looking to make the most of their cash in an environment that’s enjoyable. Worldwide, Regent Street and Westfield are now well-known amongst the globe’s shopping elite. Eric Eastman of CBRE has since noted that London now attracts more international visitors than any other city in the world, with a considerable number of them coming from China.
Thanks to more major brands investing in the city, areas outside of the main shopping hubs are now attracting investment. This has seen some of Covent Garden’s boutique shopping spaces give way to bigger brands, which are beginning to fight for space within the city. Continue reading “How the Shopping and Retail Industry Boosts London’s Economy”
For the majority of office workers, there are usually very few things about their workspace that can be considered truly remarkable. Office space can tend to be rather dull and drab, and there is a reason for it too: decades ago, the old school of organisational psychology claimed that making an office slightly inviting would be counterproductive, as employees would feel too comfortable to be productive.
Luckily, that school of thought is slowly being replaced by a commitment to turning offices into convivial and welcoming spaces that inspire employees and encourage productivity. The workspaces listed below are living proof of this, so take a look at some of the world’s most stunning office interiors and discover the key elements that can make an office stand out.
TBWA – Hakuhodo
The Japanese subsidiary of this international marketing firm is an example of excellent sustainable office practices. As you can see in the picture below, this office is characterised by having a large amount of green areas that can be seen from pretty much every corner of the office thanks to its open plan design. Instead of using carpet or tiles as flooring materials, hardwood and grass were used to create comfortable, warm, and relaxing spaces. Every aspect of this working space is perfectly in line with the company’s motto “think happy”. We are pretty sure that staff appreciate working in such a peaceful environment right in the middle of Tokyo’s hectic business district.
BBC Headquarters, Salford
The BBC’s impressive complex at Salford is often listed as one of the best office spaces to work in. More than 2,500 people work at this shiny, sleek, and modern waterfront office location where creativity and leisure are an integral part of working life. Step into this office complex and you’ll soon come across security staff patrolling on Segways, futuristic-looking ‘thought wheels’, and colour-coded areas (magenta for ‘thinking’ spaces and green/lilac for ‘doing’ spaces). The corridors are lined with ‘collaboration pods’, which are designed to foster brainstorming and creative thinking. The most distinctive feature of this office interior model is precisely the fact that there are no offices as such, but rather closed booths and large open spaces designed to facilitate flexibility and mobility.
Continue reading “Office Interiors That Will Make You Green With Envy”
Compared to the rest of the UK, London has seen significant rises in house prices since the beginning of the recession. With the average home in the capital costing a painful £530,000 in 2014, many employees living in London are finding the property market is difficult to manage. Such steep rises are also reflected in rental prices, leading to a growing number of city workers commuting from outside areas, or living with their colleagues.
The Rising Cost of Housing in London
Between the start of 2014 and May 2014, housing prices in London rose by more than £87,000. The Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, has stated that there are deep structural problems within the city’s housing market, and that an absence of new builds may exacerbate the issue. Continue reading “Housing for London Employees”
When it comes to working in the city, life is rarely dull. From the constantly busy atmosphere through to working locations, London’s business sector is an exciting place for workers of all ages to be. In recent years, more and more companies have begun using famous landmarks as their office buildings of choice. For those who work in them, going to work comes with the simple pleasure of sitting in a building with historic significance, day after day.
The Batman Building in Clerkenwell
Sat in the heart of Clerkenwell is a building known as ‘The Batman Building’. In addition to finding fame for its role in Gotham City, this mid-19th-century glass and leadworks outfit is owned by the Farmiloe family, which was the original family to commission it. In addition to featuring in Batman, it has been snapped up by the producers of Inception and Sherlock Holmes.
Although this Clerkenwell building has continued to be popular amongst movie directors, the owners have since chosen to turn it into offices, targeting multinational corporations like Amazon. While those working for everyday small and medium businesses might not get a look in, the lucky few who do work for multinational corporations in the area may find themselves travelling to Gotham City on a daily basis for their 9 to 5 job.
To the rest of the UK the Gherkin is well-known for its role in the business world. When it comes to visitors, however, it is a towering landmark that they’ll forever associate with London’s skyline. As a commercial skyscraper that sits in the heart of London’s financial district, the Gherkin is home to hundreds of city workers, who spend most of their days and weeks toying with the financial market from within its glass walls.
For those who don’t work in the city, the Gherkin presents an excellent opportunity to grab a bite to eat. At the top there is a restaurant, which offers one of the city’s best panoramic views. Those who walk into to play with the stock market may benefit from its luxurious surroundings on a daily basis, but everyday people can enjoy the views without so many city stresses. Continue reading “Famous London Landmark Buildings Being Used as Offices”
During the third quarter of 2014, the commercial property market in London has greatly benefited from a strengthened economy. Low interest rates and improved consumer confidence have contributed to making commercial floorspace in the British capital attractive to the eyes of investors and property managers, many of whom are trying to make the most out of the fact that overall prices still remain well below the peak they reached in 2007. During the past three months, average values for commercial property in London have been 31 per cent lower than in 2007. Return rates on investment for all types of commercial property have hovered around the 15 per cent mark, a slightly higher figure than the one experienced during the first half of the year. The commercial property market in London remains largely dominated by overseas investors, who currently have a 57 per cent market share, followed by UK institutions and property firms. Read on for more details on the market’s performance during the third quarter of 2014.
The London Office Market Q3 2014
On the whole, the cost of office space in central London is currently 4 per cent below its 2007 record high values. Having said that, it is important to note that some areas within central London have managed to return to or even exceed their pre-recession values. This is the case of offices in the West End, whose value increased by 5 per cent during the third quarter of this year. At the end of August 2014, office take-up rates in London were 17 per cent higher than during the previous year.
The latest data also show that the gap in prices between primary and secondary office stock in the city has been consistently narrowing down over the past quarter. Moderate rental growth is now evident across most city locations. However moderate, rental value increases and rising occupation costs have led more than 40 corporate occupiers to relocate from West End core offices to cheaper properties in areas like Midtown, the South Bank, or the city fringe. Year-on-year rental growth values are now 9.8 per cent higher in Midtown properties (which have been clearly outperforming those in other areas) and 7.3 per cent higher in city fringe locations.
Another trend worth mentioning is the significant number of central London offices that have been earmarked for conversion into residential properties. In the West End alone, more than 800,000 square feet of office space are set to be re-developed into residential floorspace within the next few years. It is expected that this trend will continue, as during the past three months consent has been granted to dozens of planning applications that will result in office-to-residential conversions. Continue reading “Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 3rd Quarter 2014”
In a world that is increasingly dependent on technology, offices of all sizes use a lot of natural resources. From electricity through to water, businesses across the UK are now striving to reduce their carbon emissions by cutting down on their resource usage. Far from making life difficult, there are a few approaches business owners can take to give the planet a helping hand, while doing their bank balance a favour.
Encouraging Sustainability with the Latest Technology
There was once a time when paper was unavoidable, but today it’s unnecessary to use it when it comes to most documents. Shifting most of your office’s important notices to the digital world reduces the amount of paper you use. Some software even allows you to add digital signatures to documents, which in turn means you don’t miss out on important contracts.
While focusing on digital documents only might seem like a hassle at first, it’s worth considering the amount of time it will save. Whether you’re working from Microsoft Word or using emails, search functions allow yourself and your employees to find essential keywords, without having to read a document in its entirety. Naturally, there will be times when using paper is still necessary. If this happens, focus on making the most of shredders and recycling whenever you can. The paper you recycle may later be used as a commodity for other businesses.
Efficient Water Practices for Offices
Most offices now have water coolers, and while they act as a great source of hydration and somewhere for employees to gather and converse, they also power through one of the world’s most important resources. It would be unreasonable to expect any office manager to do away with their water cooler completely. You can, however, choose to use a reverse osmosis system instead. Reverse osmosis water coolers recycle water that may not otherwise be used due to lack of freshness.
In addition to reducing the amount of water you waste, a reverse osmosis system also buys into the government’s Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), which has been implemented to ensure businesses use natural resources efficiently. Continue reading “Sustainable Office Practices”
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 60 per cent of the world’s workers spend a third of their lives at work, and this makes it pretty easy to understand where the expression ‘working your life away” comes from. Some countries are particularly notorious for their hard-working ethics, and irrespective of nationality, the majority of people take pride in working hard and accomplishing objectives at work.
But is that all there is to life? Certainly not, and this is why concepts like the ‘work-life balance’ have become an important part of our vocabulary over the past few years. Achieving that balance involves taking time off every now and then, and whereas the majority of us look forward to our holidays, some workers may feel reluctant to taking time off. If this sounds like you, read through this post to find out the many different ways in which taking a holiday is beneficial.
The importance of taking time off work
Work plays an important role in our psychological and emotional development. Having a defined role allows us to develop a sense of identity, gives structure to our lives, and more importantly, pays our bills, or at least gives us some degree of financial independence. But if work is so good, why do we dread it so much?
You must keep in mind that there is a fine line between routine, demotivation, and stress. Performing the same activity in the same environment week after week is mentally taxing and it can easily lead to occupational burnout. It is important to note that burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It is a sad fact that many people fail to recognise stress because unconsciously they have learnt that being stressed is their natural or normal state. In fact, many employees dismiss its symptoms and attribute them to ‘being tired’ or ‘having the Monday Blues’. The symptoms worsen quickly, leading to fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration, and being prone to disease. Continue reading “The Importance of Taking a Holiday”
For several years, London has been considered one of the world’s most prosperous technology hubs. Silicon Roundabout, Tech City, and Old Street are now firmly established in the global digital scene and can compete with other successful technology centres, mainly with California’s Silicon Valley. However, and despite the fact that London’s Tech City is a relatively new project, it seems that the London tech scene is growing at a faster pace than California. A report published in June 2014 confirmed this trend, and in this post we take a closer look at the facts and implications of the unmatched growth experienced by the British capital’s technology sector.
London’s tech sector has quickly caught up with California: learn all the details
The regeneration of the Old Street and the surrounding areas and its subsequent transformation into a leading business district has been hailed as a successful economic growth strategy right from the start. According to a 2013 report published by the Cabinet’s Office, between 2009 and 2012 the number of tech firms based in this area increased by an astonishing 76 per cent, bringing the total number of tech companies in London to over 88,000. Success is also measured by the industry’s contribution to the capital’s economy. In this respect, London’s Tech City is also a winner, as it has been estimated that nearly 27 per cent of the city’s total job growth is generated by the capital’s tech sector. All in all, this industry employs more than 582,000 people across London. Continue reading “London is Ahead of California for Tech Growth”
It is no secret that the London tech industry is one of the most important economic drivers of growth in the British capital. While other industry sectors are still struggling to overcome the negative effects caused by the recession, the technology sector is alive and kicking. This industry is certainly swimming against the flow, and instead of downsizing or cutting down on personnel, many tech firms are actually creating new and much-needed job opportunities. A few weeks ago, some of the most important players in the tech sector announced that they were ready to take on nearly 2,000 apprentices. But before we delve into the details of this announcement, let us take a look at the most recent performance of the capital’s tech industry.
A quick overview of the tech sector in London
Over the past decade, London has managed to establish itself as one of the world’s top tech hubs. What initially began as a small cluster of tech companies around Old Street has now become the European equivalent of Silicon Valley. Today, more than 5,000 tech companies are located in London’s Tech City, and many more are constantly being set up in other areas of the British capital. A recent Oxford Economics report has shown that the tech industry is expected to experience annual growth levels of more than 5 per cent during the next decade, bringing its total value to over £12 billion.
Growth in this sector is being driven by partnerships between top-class educational and research institutions, entrepreneurs, and investors. As a result, training and education are becoming crucial growth factors in this sector, so the recently announced large apprentice intake should not come as a surprise.
Continue reading “London’s Technology Sector is Boosted by 2000 New Apprentices”