The Regeneration of East London

East London Regeneration @officeinlondonAs one of the world’s most vibrant cities, London’s innate dynamism means that the metropolis is in an almost continuous state of change. According to the Office for National Statistics, the population of the British capital has grown by more than 12 per cent in just ten years. This increase in population has also meant a rise in cultural diversity and in the creation or transformation of new areas in the city. When it comes to transformation, few London areas have undergone changes that are as significant as those that East London has experienced. In this article we look briefly at the history of East London and then examine how the recent regeneration projects that have taken place in the area have affected its economy and its inhabitants.

A brief look at the history of East London

The history of East London is inevitably linked to London’s port and its docks, as they were for several centuries a trading hub. East London experienced a notable expansion during the 19th century, when the railway reached Stratford and linked it with the docks, Custom House, and Woolwich.

The railway infrastructure was damaged during the Second World War, and although they were once part of the world’s largest port, the London docks experienced a sharp decline in activity between the 1960s and the 1980s. The closure of the docks severely affected the economic and social make-up of East London, and what had previously been a thriving area became stricken with unemployment, poverty, racial tension, and crime. The population went from almost 600,000 at the turn of the 20th century to barely 140,000 in 1981.

Key regeneration initiatives in East London Continue reading “The Regeneration of East London”

Key London Icons

Whether you have already been to London or not, it is likely that you are familiar with some of the most representative icons of the British capital. But just how much do you know about their history? Below you will find some interesting facts about London’s key icons.

London Underground @officeinlondon London Underground

Being 150 years old, the London underground (also known as the tube) is the world’s oldest transportation system of its kind. The underground was created in order to alleviate London’s road congestion, which was already notorious back in 1850. The first line to open was the Metropolitan line, which at the time only ran between Paddington and Farringdon Street.

Today, the underground serves 270 stations along 250 miles in London, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire, and it is used by more than 3 million people every day. Perhaps the tube lacks the imposing interiors of other underground systems (like the Moscow underground), but it certainly has other attractions, such as deers, woodpeckers, grass snakes, and other forms of wildlife that have been known to live in the underground network.

Black London Cabs

Also known as Hackney carriages, the black London cab is one of the most iconic sights on the streets of the capital. The first Hackney carriages were horse-drawn and navigated the streets of London since 1662, although the first black London cab as we know it only appeared in 1901.

Much has changed since the days when London cabs were powered by horses. Today, there are even mobile applications that allow you to use your smartphone to hail, track, and pay for your black London cab ride. Continue reading “Key London Icons”

Overview of London’s Commerical Property Market – 1st Quarter of 2013

According to the latest data published, during the first three months of 2013 the commercial property market in London has been characterised by a slowdown trend in the property take-up rates. As a result, the availability, vacancy rates, and number of properties under offer have increased, although yields on investment have generally remained stable. During this period, take-up rates for all kinds of commercial property in central London were 2.5 million square feet. This means that take-up has declined by 13 per cent when compared to the figures belonging to the last quarter of 2012 and to the ten-year average. Of these 2.5 million square feet, 1.6 million were taken up in the West End, while the rest belongs to commercial property taken up in the City. The City experienced the largest number of transactions, with 35 per cent of the total, followed by the area known as Midtown, which comprises the districts of Bloomsbury, St Giles, and Holborn. Transactions in this area accounted for 33 per cent of the total. Next is the West End with 26 per cent, and then Southbank (with 5 per cent) and the Docklands (with 1 per cent).

Commercial property availability figures rose by 4 per cent and now stand at 17.17 million square feet, which is in fact the highest figure that the market has experienced since 2009. The amount of available Grade B commercial floor space has also increased during this quarter, and is now 7 per cent higher than during the last quarter of 2012.

Approximately 2.5 million square feet of commercial floor space are currently under offer in Central London. Vacancy rates stand at 5.4 per cent, a figure that represents a reversal of the trend observed so far, in which the occupancy market had proved resilient to the pressures brought about by the recession.

Recent trends in the London office property market
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Office Lunches in London

As one would expect from one of the most economically active cities in the world, London has more businesses than any other city in the United Kingdom. The private sector is made up of over 800,000 companies, while the public sector also employs large numbers of individuals across the city’s 33 boroughs. On any given day, it is easy to spot office workers going on their lunch break, and in fact, many new businesses have sprung up all over the capital in order to accommodate demand and to provide a variety of options. In this article we examine the options that London office workers have when it comes to enjoying their lunch break.

Eating in: office lunches in London

Whether out of habit or in order to save some money, many office workers choose to bring their own lunch into work. Some choose to prepare their own lunch for health reasons too, especially since some reports unveiled the shocking facts behind some popular lunch options (such as cheese and onion pies that contain 31g of saturated fat or pizzas that have 230 per cent of the daily recommended amount of fat content).

Fortunately, eating in whilst at work does not necessarily have to be unhealthy or expensive. A very popular option for London office workers is to order delivered office lunches. Over the past few years there has been a surge in the number of catering companies that provide a great variety of options at reasonable prices. In some cases, it is even possible to negotiate a special price with regular catering suppliers. Another advantage of having lunch delivered to the office is that it saves time, as there is no need to spend the previous evening cooking at home or to leave the office to find a lunch spot. This can be particularly useful during those extremely busy periods at work or when unexpected projects crop up, something that is not uncommon at all in the highly-pressured working environment that some London offices can be. Continue reading “Office Lunches in London”

Looking for a West London Office? Try Chiswick Park

Chiswick is a leafy area of west London, set on the north bank of the River Thames, across from Kew. It is popular with commuters for its proximity to and transport links with central London but many businesses have settled in the area for the excellent facilities available and the attractive surroundings and relative calm compared to the city centre.

Chiswick Park is an awarding winning business centre whose distinctive architectural style was designed by Sir Richard Rogers. The twelve buildings with their glass facades are arranged in a ‘necklace’, all facing onto the shared public space inside. The inner area is fully landscaped with a lake on two levels complete with cascading waterfall, lush, green garden with shade provided by trees and accessed by a decked walkway. The buildings house spacious, airy commercial units, promoting an atmosphere of tranquility to enhance the working environment. A typical building will offer approximately 5,675 square feet of office space with 3,200 square feet available for retail. Current incumbents include CBS broadcasting, Disney Channel and Vue Cinemas. Amenities include car parking and proximity to Chiswick High Road and transport links. Continue reading “Looking for a West London Office? Try Chiswick Park”

Childcare Guide for Working Parents

Childcare Guide for Working Parents @officeinlondonWhile forming a family is an exciting prospect, many parents find it very challenging too, especially when it comes to combining work and family responsibilities in a balanced way. Fortunately, working parents can benefit from a series of governmental initiatives and schemes that can help them achieve this balance and find suitable childcare arrangements so that they can successfully manage their working and family lives.

Childcare legislation in the United Kingdom

The main set of normatives that set the legal provisions for childcare in the UK are compiled under the Children Act of 1989. In this Act, the government outlined the required standards that any organisation providing childcare should meet by law. The main objective of the regulations laid out in the 1989 Act is to provide a safe learning environment for children and to foster their development through childcare arrangements. The Act also authorises Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children Services and Skills) to inspect childcare facilities and ensure that staff working with children are adequately skilled.

The Act was modified in July 2006 in order to enhance the childcare provision for working parents and to provide a comprehensive information service to help parents make the best choices for their situation. Some of the current legislation does not apply to private childcare arrangements, such as those that involve nannies, babysitters, or au pairs. Continue reading “Childcare Guide for Working Parents”

How to Deal with Workplace Disputes

How to Deal with Workplace Disputes @officeinlondonAlthough many working relationships proceed without major problems, in some cases workplace disputes can cause valid concerns to both employers and employees. In this article you will find a useful information on how to proceed and what to expect when faced with a potential workplace dispute.

Understanding the legislation that concerns the management of workplace disputes

The legislation governing workplace disputes has as its main objective finding an early solution to any problem that may affect the working relationship between employers and employees. Whenever a dispute arises, the current regulations are there to help the process be solved quickly and without unnecessary difficulties.

In 2009, some changes were made to the Employment Act to include detailed procedures regarding the management of workplace disputes. In January 2013, the Employment Relations Ministry proposed a series of amendments to the current workplace dispute guidelines and called for the implementation of new statutory codes of practice on this matter. The new codes of practice will introduce modifications to the maximum amount that can be paid as unfair dismissal compensation, as well as outline in detail what constitutes improper behaviour and what factors should be taken into account when negotiating financial compensation at the end of a working relationship.

Types of workplace disputes and how to deal with each of them

Disputes in the workplace will usually fall within one of the following categories: grievances or disciplinary issues. In both cases, employers and employees are advised to raise their concerns informally before proceeding with a formal grievance or a disciplinary procedure.

Grievances can be defined as concerns or complaints that an employee has regarding his or her working conditions, treatment at work, or the application of the relevant statutory rights. There are a series of defined steps that must be taken when raising a grievance, and the details will be outlined either in your contract of employment or in your employer’s human resources or company handbook. In most cases, the procedure for raising a grievance involves:

a) informing your employer about the issue in a dated and signed letter, in which you also suggest what response you expect from them. It is recommended that you keep a copy of this letter

b) once they receive the letter, your employer must arrange a meeting in which you can discuss the issues involved in detail. During this meeting, employees have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or by a trade union representative, when applicable

c) you should receive a written statement from your employer that describes the actions they have decided to implement with regards to your grievance

Most workplace disputes should be settled at this stage. If they are not and you do not agree with the way your employer has handled the grievance, you must inform them in writing about your intention of appealing their decision. A further meeting will then be arranged, and whenever possible, it is recommended that a senior manager is present at the appeal meeting.

On the other hand, disciplinary issues are raised by employers and concern employees’ behaviour, absences, or their failure to meet contractual requirements and standards. The procedure for dealing with disciplinaries involves the same steps as above.

What to do if a workplace dispute cannot be settled through grievances or disciplinaries

If the issue that caused a workplace dispute persists following a grievance or disciplinary procedure, the current employment legislation recommends that advice is sought from an independent third party before taking things further. The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has been created specifically for that purpose. Employees who are or might be involved in a workplace dispute are encouraged to speak to an ACAS advisor or to visit their website to find specific guidance on how to proceed. ACAS also provides a free of charge early conciliation service that may help find a solution without needing to go to an employment tribunal. Alternatively, employees that are represented by a trade union can contact their union representative. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau and the Civil Mediation Service can also be of help.

The organisations listed above can act as mediators and advise employees on whether or not they have a right to raise their issues at an employment tribunal. The last step before going to a tribunal would be to involve an arbitrator (usually ACAS), whose decisions are legally binding for both parties. It must be kept in mind that employees who wish to make a claim before a tribunal must do so within a maximum of three months following the date of the incident. Making a claim should be considered the last resort to solving a workplace dispute.

Further information on Workplace Disputes, as well as guides on a range of other employee rights can be found here Employee RightsMaternity RightsEqual Opportunities and
Office Relocation: Employee Rights, Office Occupational Health and Safety.

Focus On: Wimbledon Village Business Centre

To the south west of London, approximately 7 miles from the city centre, is the affluent suburb of Wimbledon, famous for its common- a large recreational park, and the English tennis championships which are held at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club every June. Attractive to residents as well as businesses, companies and organisations for its green spaces, community feel and close proximity and ease of access to central London, Wimbledon is a popular location for offices and work spaces.

The area closest to the common is known as Wimbledon Village and is built on the site of the original medieval settlement; the High Street at the centre comprises local shops and delicatessens, small designer boutiques and gastro pubs. Wimbledon Town is more modern and developed, built around the Broadway and the station which has been part of the rail network since 1838. A highlight of the town is the Centre Court Shopping Complex which was built to incorporate the original Town Hall based on designs by architect Sir George Grenfell Baines.

Wimbledon Village Business Centre, formerly known as Thornton House, is a large residential property, renovated to create spacious office units boasting their own grounds and maintaining some original character features which create a peaceful and conducive working environment. The centre offers a range of suites available in different sizes depending on requirements. Amenities include the use of a large free car park. What’s more, the exclusive shops, bars and restaurants of desirable Wimbledon Village are within just a few minutes walking distance. Set on Thornton Hill, the building offers scenic view of Wimbledon College, the village, Wimbledon town and beyond to Central London. Continue reading “Focus On: Wimbledon Village Business Centre”

A Closer Look at the Marble Arch Business Centre

London’s Marble Arch is located in the very heart of the city; at the north-western corner of world famous Hyde Park, with the city’s premier shopping area, Oxford Street on one side and the trendy, stylish Notting Hill area on the other. Marble Arch is the perfect location for businesses looking for a for a place to base themselves where all the action of London is on the doorstep; business centres in Marble Arch benefit from a highly prized and prestigious address and all the advantages that come with it.

Bryanston Street Business Centre is an outstanding and noteworthy building in its own right, standing tall and distinct with windows on all sides, offering superb 360 degree views of London, particularly from the offices on the 18th floor. Offices of varying sizes are available on leases ranging from 3 months to 5 years and are fully serviced, managed and staffed with office furniture and amenities including exclusive climate control for each space. The first floor boasts conferencing and meeting rooms including break out spaces and all within two minutes walk from Marble Arch tube station (Central line). Continue reading “A Closer Look at the Marble Arch Business Centre”

Your Rights as an Employee: Office Occupational Health and Safety

There are many factors that can influence job satisfaction and productivity levels in the office. Although elements like economic retribution, good working relationships with colleagues, and autonomy are all very important, health and safety considerations cannot be taken out of the equation. The importance of health and safety in the workplace should not be underestimated, as the well-being of both employers and staff depends on it.

Since potential hazards are everywhere, it is important to be familiar with and understand what regulations are in place in order to protect your health and well-being at work, as well as which are your rights as an employee in terms of health and safety. This article provides an overview of the most important aspects of the current health and safety legislation, with the objective of helping you understand better your rights in the office.

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