Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 1st Quarter 2014

So far, 2014 has had a promising start in terms of the overall health of the UK’s real estate market. According to the most recent indicators, the British economy is experiencing its strongest growth levels since 2007, and this has undoubtedly had a positive knock-on effect in the UK’s real estate market. Take a look at the key trends and figures that have marked the commercial property market in London during the first quarter of the year.

The London office market: key facts and figures

During the first quarter of 2014, the predominant theme in the London office property market has been increased investment activity and the investors’ willingness to take on bigger risks and to get involved in larger transactions. This trend has been mostly evident in the geographical expansion of the office market within and beyond the city’s boundaries. In previous quarters, activity in the office market concentrated around the Central London area. However, during the first quarter of the year, occupiers and investors have shown an increasingly strong preference for out-of-town offices (whose yields have increased to 4 per cent) and for properties in the Thames Valley area, whose current investment yields average 6 per cent. Nevertheless, office space located in the city’s West End commands the highest investment yield values at an average of nearly 8 per cent, followed by City office floor space, which is currently yielding returns of 6 per cent.

The key role played last year by the technology, media, and communications sector in the growth of the London office market has continued to be evident during the first quarter of 2014. Analysts at Deloitte affirm that during the remainder of the year, the TMT sector will continue to be the most important source of demand in the capital’s office market. Likewise, analysts have noticed increased demand for office space from banking and financial companies, whose requirements for additional floor space seem to be back on track thanks to the generalised optimistic outlook of the British economy.

Another highlight of this quarter involves the drop in office vacancy rates, which currently stand at 6.8 per cent. This figure is a clear improvement over the long-term average for the city, which has been close to 8 per cent for the past five years. In Central London and the West End, class A prime office rents average £120 per square foot. Last year ended with average rental values of £110, but during the first quarter of 2014 rising demand has resulted in significant price increases.

Outside the West End, leasing activity has been particularly buoyant in areas like King’s Cross, Euston, Paddington, Midtown, Victoria, Mayfair, and the area north of Oxford Street. In fact, some of this sub-markets have experienced year-on-year rental growth values of up to 26 per cent.

Overall, during the first three months of 2014, the most obvious trends in the office property market have been strengthened occupier activity, increased rental values, and stronger investor activity. Continue reading “Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 1st Quarter 2014”

Innovative Networking Events and Ideas in London

Networking Events in London LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonIn a world where many businesses are caught up in driving commerce via social media, promotions as simple as networking are often neglected. Still, more and more individuals are recognising the need to return to traditional forms of marketing that work. If your approach to networking could do with a refresh, London is the right place to find success. Taking the innovative approach encourages those you network with to engage and creates a sense of excitement that will allow the buzz generated by your event to continue for some time.

Historic Medical Venue Hire

Choosing a historic venue for your networking event will awaken the audience’s imagination. Throw a tour into the mix and you will have everyone feeling enticed by the time the main event arrives. If possible, invite a guest speaker to follow the tour to add to the excitement.

London is teaming with historic venues, and it is those that are medical that often tell the greatest stories. The Royal Hospital of Chelsea–which is currently inhabited by the Chelsea pensioners–comes with a variety of rooms and conferencing facilities. Guests can network under the watchful eye of earls’ portraits in the State Apartments or they can enjoy the unrivaled acoustics of the Wren Chapel. The Royal Hospital is certainly majestic, but it doesn’t really feel medical. For a true healthcare setting, try contacting St. George’s University, in West London, which regularly hires out its hospital-themed sets for filming and other purposes.

Adopt Japanese Influences

In Japan, ‘Pecha kucha’ talks are all the rage. These talks simply mean ‘chit chat’, and are made of short five-minute presentations on concepts. Afterwards, guests have the opportunity to mingle with each other and discuss the ideas that were briefly introduced. The genius of this is quite simple really; five-minutes is enough to entice your audience into wanting to learn more about an idea, which sets the rest of the evening apart for discussions to take place.

Japanese venue hires aren’t in short supply in London. While you could host a ‘Pecha kucha’ anywhere, it feels fitting to give the Japanese concept a Japanese theme. The Japanese Roof Garden of the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, in Russell Square, can leave your guests feel as though they have been transported from London to Japan. The Mayfair is also home to a Japanese-style garden, but this one comes with a moonlit theme. Throw in Japanese drinks and dishes, such as Saki tasting sessions. Continue reading “Innovative Networking Events and Ideas in London”

The London Marathon

London Marathon @londonmarathon @officeinlondonThe 34th London Marathon will be run on 13 April 2014, and is one of the world’s leading athletics events. The London Marathon attracts world and Olympic champions, as well as range of amateur runners of all abilities. The festive atmosphere often features playful runners dressed up for charity.

About the London Marathon

Although the current London Marathon was first run on 29 March 1981, long-distance races have been held in the city as early as 1909. In that year, the Polytechnic Marathon was organised for the first time. The last Polytechnic Marathon was run in 1996. The prestigious London Marathon is held each year in the spring. Founded by former Olympian Chris Brasher and John Disley, the London Marathon is one of the top six international marathons recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in addition to New York, Boston, Tokyo, Berlin and Chicago. The London Marathon features three groups of starters: Elite Women, Elite Men, and Wheelchair (men and women). These starter groups are followed by a Mass Race with runners of various abilities. The first edition of the London Marathon attracted 6,747 runners. In 2013, the event attracted 34,631 participants.

The Route

The route for the London Marathon is largely flat and concentrated around the River Thames. It has changed very little over the years, with changes primarily being made as a result of construction and road works. The race begins at three different points around Blackheath. The often fast-paced marathon ends at The Mall, next to St. James’s Park and close to Buckingham Palace. The course spans 42.195 kilometres, or 26 miles and 385 yards.

Beginning at Blackheath, the London Marathon travels south of the River Thames and east towards Charlton. The three separate starting points merge after 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) near the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. From there, runners travel past the Old Royal Naval College before heading to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. The course then winds towards Surrey Quays at the Docklands, followed by Bermondsey. After running along Jamaica Road, competitors reach the half-way point of the marathon at Tower Bridge. Continue reading “The London Marathon”

Is it Faster to Walk Between Some London Underground Stations than Take the Tube?

London Tube Map LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonBuilt 150 yeas ago, the London Underground is now part and parcel of the life of many Londoners. Given the capital’s notoriously bad traffic, the tube is often hailed as the quickest way of getting from A to B. But is it really so? Some of the trains running up and down the Metropolitan line can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, but in the city centre, trains barely reach half of that speed. The reason? The stations are too close to each other. This means that in some cases, it might actually be faster to walk than to take the tube. If you are often pressed for time or simply enjoy walking around, take a look at a few alternative walking routes that can save you time and money.

Leicester Square to Covent Garden

These two Piccadilly line stations are only 270 yards apart. In fact, you will see signs at both stations recommending passengers to walk, especially at peak times. Walking takes just 4 minutes, plus you won’t be putting your patience to the test on the crowded escalators or using up all your energy climbing the 193 steps at Covent Garden.

Charing Cross to Embankment

Many stations on the Jubilee line are barely 500 yards apart from each other. Charing Cross and Embankment are even closer, at just under 300 yards. Walking will definitely offer you a welcome break from the trains that are often packed with commuters. The walk down Northumberland Avenue is quite pleasant and takes only 5 minutes.

Farringdon to Chancery Lane

Trying to get by tube between these two stations involves changing from the Central to the Northern line at Bank station and changing lines again (after just 1 stop) at Moorgate. The trip seems too much of a hassle considering that you can walk between both stations is less than 10 minutes and enjoy a walk through the backstreets of old Holborn. Continue reading “Is it Faster to Walk Between Some London Underground Stations than Take the Tube?”

The Top Business Incubators in London

London Business Incubator LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonA business incubator is an excellent opportunity for start-up and development stage businesses to grow. Through a variety of supports that include mentorship, office space, financing and more, businesses and entrepreneurs are able to improve networks and develop skills and promising products or services for the market. London is home to some of the world’s top business incubator programmes, including Impact Hub and Accelerator.

Accelerator

Accelerator is a specialist business incubator located in Shoreditch. The district is at the centre of London’s information and communication technology (ICT) and digital media economy. Part of London Metropolitan University, the incubator provides services for students and businesses. For students, Accelerator offers support, advice and advice for any one interested in starting their own business. The program also runs an annual Business Plan Competition for students. From two-day boot camps for entrepreneurs and start-ups to meeting facilities, the incubator offers, the incubator delivers supports for pre-start up, start-up and early stage businesses. Both physical and virtual incubation is available to businesses primarily in the ICT and digital media community, including affordable office space, access to business support and training, networking opportunities, and other resources. For more information, visit www.accelerator-london.com.

Impact Hub Islington

Impact Hub is an international network with more than 8,000 members from around the world. Business and entrepreneurs in London have access to advice, resources and development opportunities from over 40 Impact Hubs in dozens of cities. The collaborative network includes Impact Hub Westminster, which opened in 2011. Impact Hub Islington hosts monthly programmes and events to provide entrepreneurs and businesses with opportunities to connect. With 1,200 members, Impact Hub Islington also makes a community workspace available for entrepreneurs and businesses to meet, connect, and work. The incubator is based in a modern space located at a converted warehouse near Angel tube station in Islington. Visit www.islington.impacthub.net for more information about Impact Hub. Continue reading “The Top Business Incubators in London”

Office Breakfast Delivery Services in London

Office Breakfast LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondon‘Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince and Dine like a Pauper’ – a delicate balancing act of what quantities one should consume for the healthiest diet, this old saying has become somewhat turned on its head in recent years.

Breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day: it affects the rest of your day. Skipping this all important meal can lead to a host of irritations that will affect the entire day. Mood swings and gnawing hunger certainly won’t lead to a productive start to your day, and can make you snappish and difficult to get on with – something that is certainly not going to be helpful if there’s a big meeting coming up. After a full night’s sleep, the brain desperately needs to replenish its glucose stores, and so feasting on a scrumptious and healthy breakfast will extend your attention span as well as increasing productivity.

Of course, grabbing a bacon butty swimming in grease and butter – while being delicious and filling at the time – can be no better than eating nothing at all. Full of fat, calories and salt, breakfast meats such as bacon and sausage can sit in your stomach all day, making you feel bloated and uncomfortable. A balanced breakfast with slow-release foods and fruit can work wonders as a morning pick-me-up.

Luckily, in this age of instant messages, email and microwave-able ready meals, the hassle of cooking up a large, healthy and balanced breakfast can be dropped into another’s hands. Whether as part of the catering for a busy morning meeting or just to share with co-workers, there are many catering companies which offer a variety of readymade, delicious breakfast menus delivered to the office.

London’s office breakfast delivery businesses are booming, with companies such as Grazing, Franks Express, Kudos and Office Diner being only a sample few amongst dozens. Continue reading “Office Breakfast Delivery Services in London”

The Top Business Locations in London

City of London LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonLondon is one of the world’s most important business centres. The global city is a commerce and finance hub, according to the Institute for Urban Strategies, as well as a centre for education, entertainment, tourism, media, research and development, healthcare, professional services, and transport. There are five major business districts across the city, each with a distinct character and economic strengths.

City of London

The City of London is the historic centre of England’s capital. First settled by the Romans in the around 47 AD, it is often simply referred to as the City. Emerging as one of the world’s most important commercial centres during the 19th century, the City remains a significant business and financial hub. Although the area only has a population of 7,000 according to the 2011 Census, more than 380,000 work in the City of London. Approximately 155,000 people or 41 percent of workers in the City were employed in the financial sector in 2011, with 27 percent or 105,000 people employed by companies in the professional and estate sector.

The greatest concentration of financial companies is found in the east, particularly Bishopsgate. Insurance firms also have a major presence in the east end of the City. Legal firms primarily found in the north and west, while professional and estate companies are largely based in the west. Some of London’s tallest buildings are found in the City, including the Natwest Tower, the first skyscraper in the UK. Newer skyscrapers include 30 St. Mary Axe (also known as the Gherkin), the Broadgate Tower, and the Heron Tower. Major office buildings under development include the Pinnacle, 20 Fenchurch Street, and the Leadenhall Building. The district serves as the headquarters for several major national and international firms, including Aviva, BT Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Prudential, Standard Chartered, Ernst and Young, Unilever, Old Mutual, and several of the world’s largest law firms.

Canary Wharf

London’s secondary financial centre is Canary Wharf. Situated approximately four kilometres or 2.5 miles from the City of London, Canary Wharf is located in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Some of the UK’s tallest buildings are found in the district, including One Canada Square. Once the site of derelict docklands, Canary Wharf now boasts over 16 millions square feet of office, retail and leisure space. More than half of the property is owned and managed by Canary Wharf Group plc (CWG), a partnership of property development, investment and management companies. The district features 35 completed buildings and employs approximately 100,000 people, according to CWG. Continue reading “The Top Business Locations in London”

Important London Conferences in 2014

As a world class city, rich in cultural history and global economic tradition, London is the top choice for events and exhibitions. Visitors to the city will find a wide array of hotel rooms, restaurants to suit every diet and an excellent transportation system providing access to the many available meeting venues. London hosts thousands of events every year. Below are the top events worth paying attention to in London this year.

SES London 2014

Coming February 26, discover what’s new in Converged Media. Paid and social media work together to influence consumers across multiple channels. Learn about the strategies for successful marketing campaigns. Top innovators provide training for advertisers, marketers and business leaders. SES London will be held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in the heart of Westminster.

TEDx Houses of Parliament 2014

The popular TED talks are once again coming to London on June 27. Speakers will be presenting at the QEII conference centre on themed topics. Always enlightening, TED speakers cover subjects from all aspects of technology, education and design. Tickets are in high demand every year, so register early.

Integrating Passenger Information 2014

Meeting from March 26-27 to study the automation of data from transportation services and how they interface with social media, smartphones and public information services.

TeachMeet BETT

A relaxed gathering at the Docklands on January 24, TEACHMEET is for anyone who is interested in education and for teachers to share ideas that they’ve tried in their classrooms. All teaching professionals are welcomed to take part and share their stories about learning. Continue reading “Important London Conferences in 2014”

The Most Sought After Careers and Popular Jobs in London

Popular Jobs in London LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonBeing the capital of one of the strongest economies in the world, it is not surprising that London attracts thousands of jobseekers every year, who arrive in the British capital hoping to give a boost to their career by landing a position in the city. According to a March 2013 report published by local London newspaper The Evening Standard, the official unemployment rate in the city is at a four-year low, and currently stands at 7.8 per cent. Data collected by the Greater London Authority show that during 2013, the total number of jobs available in the city has increased by 3.9 per cent when compared to the previous year.

London is also the most popular UK city for graduates who are in search of their first job. This trend has been specially notorious since the economic recession hit, according to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit. But where exactly are the most popular jobs in London and what are the key trends for the near future? In this article we take a look at the most fruitful sources of employment in the British capital and at some interesting data about them.

Finance and banking

With hundreds of financial institutions from all over the world headquartered in London, the city naturally attracts jobseekers who are interested in pursuing a career in finance. The city’s status as a leading financial centre at international level is one of the main reasons why the finance job market in London escaped the worst of the recession. In May 2012, a survey carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research showed that financial jobs in the City were down by nearly 100,000 when compared to the pre-recession years. However, the sector has since stabilised and currently the number of finance jobs available is on the rise. Banking jobs have increased by 3.2 per cent, whereas the bulk of finance jobs available is 1.8 per cent higher than last year.

According to the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, approximately 66 per cent of all graduates who are currently working as financial analysts began their career in London. One thing is clear: the finance job market in London is changing, and while jobs some types of finance and banking are becoming scarce, there are new opportunities in areas like fund management and insurance.

Construction

Construction is a booming sector in London that has benefited from the celebration of the Olympic Games and from some large-scale infrastructure projects, like the Thames Tideway Tunnel or Crossrail, which will require large numbers of construction workers until 2019. All in all, there are nearly 700 ongoing construction projects around London. In the residential sector, there are more than 200,000 London homes with approved building permission. According to the Construction Skills Network, at the end of 2012 there were 260,000 people employed in the construction sector in Greater London.

However, the London Assembly Economy Committee has recently published a report affirming that there are important skills shortages in this particular labour market, especially when it comes to dry liners, glazers, plasterers, and building envelope specialists. These are the areas where the best paying constrution jobs can be found.

Hospitality

London is an industry leader in the hotel and catering industry, and according to some recent reports, the hospitality industry in the capital has outpaced the rest of the country and is showing growth levels that are higher than those of the pre-recession years. By 2020, it is expected that there will be 5,000 new hotel rooms in the city, in addition to the 8,000 that opened up on occasion of the Olympics.

Yet, the latest State of the Nation report shows that the city is experiencing critical skill shortages, especially when it comes to chefs and qualified hospitality managers. While vacancies for front of the house staff and waiting staff are always available in London, the highest paying hospitality jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.

Retail

Retail is one of the most important contributors to the economy of London. According to data published at the London’s Economic Plan website, the retail industry employs more than 400,000 people, a figure that represents approximately 9 per cent of all jobs in Greater London. It is expected that within the next ten years, there will be a further 75,000 retail vacancies available in the city.

By far, the most popular retail jobs are to be found in specialist clothing stores, which employ 78,000 jobs across London. Next are food retail outlets, which provide more than 22,000 people, followed by outlets selling electrical goods, books, and furniture, in which more than 10,000 people are employed.

Work and Career New Year Resolutions for 2014

New Year Resolutions LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonThe countdown to Christmas has already started. In addition to being the best time of the year for family gatherings and for taking some well-deserved time off, the transition period between one year and the next is also great for setting up personal and professional goals. New Year resolutions are often consigned to oblivion after a few weeks, but more likely than not, this is so because the resolutions were not realistic enough. When it comes to the workplace, this period is the perfect time of the year to take stock of our achievements and to set out a few reasonable objectives for the year that’s just about to start. In this article you will find some useful suggestions that might inspire you to start the new year in the office with motivation and enthusiasm.

Start the year with a positive attitude

Although this may seem obvious, a positive attitude can make a world of a difference when it comes to your working life. If you only decide on one New Year resolution for 2014, make it taking yourself less seriously. Of course, there are stressful situations that you will have to deal with, such as dealing with difficult customers, meeting strict deadlines, or simply surviving the kind of days when everything seems to go wrong. But if you think of it, chances are that you will not be the only one in the office feeling overwhelmed by this type of situations. Taking negative things with a pinch of salt and with a lot of humour can help reduce the tension in the office atmosphere.

Avoid gossip and criticism

Whether we like it or not, office politics are a fact of life in most workplaces. Having to spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week surrounded by people with different personalities and points of view can be hard and lead to much complaining and criticism. Many employees see criticism and gossip as a way of blowing off some steam, but in the long term, this will end up being counter-productive. Gossiping about others in the office undermines motivation, team spirit, and ultimately, productivity. Make a point of doing your part to contribute to a healthier working environment by avoiding listening and spreading gossip and criticism. Continue reading “Work and Career New Year Resolutions for 2014”