How do Pensions Work?

A pension is a tax free way to save for your retirement. There are a number of ways to save for a pension and various types of pension schemes available including state pensions, workplace pensions and personal pensions. The pension plan you choose will depend on a number of factors including your age, salary, financial situation and the company you work for.

Pensions and Retirement

Department for Work and Pensions

The Pensions Advisory Service

Online Pension Planner

How much is a State Pension?

The current maximum amount of basic state pension you can claim is £107.45 weekly (as of October 2012) and the maximum state pension amount increases annually.

Once you reach state pension age you will be able to claim the basic state pension, however you must have paid National Insurance (NI) contributions or have been credited with NI contributions during your working life. Continue reading “How do Pensions Work?”

Lizzie from Texas: I loved London!

Back in November when we published our Time for a Cuppa infographic, we got in touch with two lovely ladies – Pippa and Jules – otherwise known as the Darjeeling Darlings, who are based in San Antonio, Texas, and absolutely adore good quality tea.

Reading their reviews of Tea Rooms across Virginia, Florida, Texas and California, we couldn’t help but notice one additional participant of those little afternoon tea parties – someone we here in the UK are rather familiar with, who they refer to as Lizzie.

Among other things, we wrote in our email:

“We absolutely loved your Lizzie, she has a great taste and seems to really love tea. Just out of interest, has she actually been over here in the UK? If not, why don’t you post her over, and we will take a photo of her in front of the Buckingham Palace? Just an idea!”

It took a while to pack (all those dresses, hats, handbags and jewellery!) but guess who arrived at our office earlier this month?

Her Majesty the Queen! Continue reading “Lizzie from Texas: I loved London!”

The Royal Mint Court Building Welcomes New Businesses

Royal Mint Court Building @officeinlondonOn Royal Mint Street, opposite the Tower of London, stands the Royal Mint Court building. It is Grade II listed, recently repurposed for commercial means and blends classic architecture with contemporary style and function. The site was originally home to a Cisterian Abbey from the 14th to the 16th Century; St Mary De Grace was sometimes affectionately called Eastminster Abbey, belying its architectural and historical significance. Later, in 1562, after the dissolution of the monasteries, the Royal Navy took over and used the site as a victualling yard. Following this, it changed hands again in 1784, when a tobacco company used it to store their goods.

Sir Isaac Newton was Master of The Royal Mint from 1699 to 1727 and during that time, The Mint was still housed, as it had been for 500 years, at the Tower of London. As the minting process became mechanised throughout the eighteenth century, a new building was commissioned by King George III on the site of the tobacco warehouse opposite, to the east. A committee was appointed, two architects were chosen, James Johnson and Robert Smirke and construction began in 1807. James Johnson died in 1807 and never saw the new building finished but Robert Smirke saw it through to completion and then went on to receive plaudits for his design of the British Museum. Part of Royal Mint Court is still called the Johnson Smirke Building in their memory. The Royal Mint Court remained the home of the minting process until 1975, with the introduction of decimalisation when the procedure was moved to Wales. Continue reading “The Royal Mint Court Building Welcomes New Businesses”

A Closer Look at South Bank’s Business Centres

London's Southbank in the Morning @officeinlondonLondon’s South Bank is an area buzzing with activity; a hub for creative arts, and attractions for tourists and locals alike, it is alive with people day and night, all year round. It is packed with restaurants, bars, cafes, theatrical and artistic venues and places of business, all on the very edge of the River Thames and within easy reach of a number of different transport options. This bustling and lively district is home to a number of office buildings which cater to and look after the requirements of the kinds businesses that want to place themselves amid the hubbub and action.

On Black Prince Road sits the impressive and eye-catching Southbank House. Originally built in the early nineteenth century as the headquarters of Royal Doulton, it now provides fully serviced office and studio space for flexible terms and to accommodate companies comprised of 1 – 25 people. The facilities include 24 hour access and reception, a cafe and showers and the spaces boast natural light and many original character features which appeal to business including architectural firms, environmental consultants and chartered surveyors. The nearest tube is Lambeth North (Bakerloo Line), head south on Kennington Road, take a right on Lambeth Road and left onto Lambeth Walk, finally turn right onto Black Prince Road. Southbank House is also in walking distance to the river and Waterloo Station.

Waterloo Business Centre is located in a desirable spot, overlooking one of London’s finest theatres, The Old Vic and within a 2 minute walk down Waterloo Road from Waterloo Station. The fully serviced offices are available in a range of sizes and the building boasts a communal area for meetings. Continue reading “A Closer Look at South Bank’s Business Centres”

Explore Bond Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism

Bond Street was first laid out in 1680. At that time, only the section known as Old Bond Street existed. In 1720, the street layout was completed with a further section that is now New Bond Street. Nowadays, Old Bond Street runs between Burlington Gardens and Piccadilly, while New Bond Street is the northern section that connects with Oxford Street.

Bond Street @officeinlondon
(Image © M Hooper)

Bond Street was named after its developer, Sir Thomas Bond. In the late seventeenth century, the area that is now known as Old Bond Street was occupied by a mansion called Clarendon House. This was one of London’s most expensive properties at the time. Following Lord Clarendon’s death, the property was sold and demolished, giving way to what today is known as Old Bond Street.

For over one hundred years, Bond Street has been one of London’s most exclusive shopping destinations, particularly for those looking to buy antiques, art, or jewellery. The internationally renowned Sotheby’s auction house has been based in Bond Street since 1917, and the same can be said about the Fine Art Society, which has been at this London address since it was first inaugurated in 1876.

Information on commercial real estate prices in Bond Street

According to the Cushman & Wakefield Main Streets Across the World report for 2011, Bond Street commercial real estate prices were the sixth highest in the world, only preceded by the Champs Elysées, Tokyo’s Ginza Avenue, Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, and New York’s Fifth Avenue. At the time of the survey, retail premises were being priced at £577 per square feet. At European level, Bond Street is the continent’s second most expensive street. Continue reading “Explore Bond Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism”

Guide to Liverpool Street: Key Facts, History, Architecture and Tourism

Although inhabited for centuries, the area around Liverpool Street began to gain importance during the Middle Ages, when it was established as an important trading centre and as a convenient stop for travellers and merchants. From the end of the nineteenth century onwards, Liverpool Street experienced rapid growth, which was mainly due to the inauguration of the railway station. Nowadays, Liverpool Street is home to a larger number of corporations, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

London's Liverpool Street @officesinlondon

Liverpool Street’s importance in the financial world

Liverpool Street is considered one of the gateways to the City of London, and it is sometimes considered a part of the capital’s financial district in its own right. There are numerous meeting rooms and conference venues in the area that cater to business people, convention delegates, and employees from nearby blue chip companies. Some important firms in the finance, business, and banking sectors located in Liverpool Street include UBS, Forex Expert, Regus Business Centres, The Japan Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank, Natwest, Barclays Bank, Panmure Gordon Investment Banking, Shinkin International, Eden Financial, Halifax, H. S. Nordbank, and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

However, these are not the only industries with presence in Liverpool Street. Other renowned businesses that have chosen this area as their base include Marnix Europe (insurance), Marubeni (energy), Wallis Retail, Primus Build Contractors (construction), ICX Europe (telecommunications), Inpex (oil & gas), Calyx (IT), and BP. Continue reading “Guide to Liverpool Street: Key Facts, History, Architecture and Tourism”

Christmas Decorations for the Office

Once again, we are in the run-up to Christmas. While most of us have a good idea about how to decorate our homes during this special period, decorating the office can require additional planning. In this article you will find a quick guide to decorating your workspace and making it reflect your company’s character as well as the spirit of the holiday season.

Types of Christmas decorations

Depending on the space available at your office and the budget allocated to Christmas decorations, you may want to go for only certain types of Christmas decorations or for full sets. The most popular decorations are wreaths, garlands, wall florals, desk floral displays, and Christmas lighting. Of course, having a Christmas tree in the office is almost compulsory, and the variety in shape, size, and pricing means that you are guaranteed to find something that is just right for your office.

Wreaths can be placed on individual workstations, on balconies, in the reception area, or on doors. Garlands are the perfect complement to Christmas wreaths but can also be put up on their own to add a subtle festive touch.

Desk floral displays are perfect to have in the reception desk, whereas wall florals are ideal decorative solutions for small workspaces.

Christmas decorations in the office: services available to corporate clients

In many cases, the Christmas period brings an increased workload that makes it very difficult for staff to take care of Christmas decorations. In situations like these, you may want to take advantage of the services offered by companies that are experts in decorating offices and getting workspaces ready for Christmas. Some of the services available include tree hire, installation, decoration and removal, delivery and installation of real and artificial wreaths, indoor and outdoor lighting displays, gift catalogues, and a range of other decorative items, like candles or swags. Continue reading “Christmas Decorations for the Office”

Explore Fenchurch Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism

Located in the City of London, Fenchurch Street runs between Aldgate to the east and Lombard Street and Gracechurch Street in the west. With a predominately urban feel, Fenchurch Street is lined by a number of office buildings. Strongly rooted in the historical evolution of London, today the street is home to several offices, pubs and shops.

(Image © Worthing Wanderer)


Much of Fenchurch Street has been gradually replaced with office towers and shops. Originally built where Roman London once thrived, Fenchurch Street has constantly evolved throughout its history. At the western end of the street at the junction with Lime Street, St. Dionis Backchurch once welcomed parishioners. The medieval church was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666 and eventually demolished in 1878. St. Benet’s Church at the southwest corner of Fenchurch Street and Gracechurch has also been removed, replaced by shops and offices.

First mentioned in the City Books in 1276, Fenchurch Street was originally known as Fancherche. Its name is derived from fenny or Moorish ground. The street is linked to many historical figures and events. William Wallace, a leader of the Wars of Scottish Independence, was first imprisoned in London at the home of William de Leyre on Fenchurch Street. According to tradition, Queen Elizabeth had a meal at the King’s Head Tavern on Number 53 after she was released from the Tower of London. A metal dish used by Elizabeth remains on display at the rebuilt pub. Andrew Ramsay, the brother of Viscount Haddington, was killed on the street in 1616. In 2012, Fenchurch Street also formed part of the men’s and women’s marathon races during the London Olympic Games. Continue reading “Explore Fenchurch Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism”

Christmas Charity Gift Ideas

As Christmas approaches, finding the most appropriate Christmas gift for friends and family can turn into a complicated task. Finding the perfect Christmas present becomes even more complex when it comes to corporate gifts for your business partners and customers. Increasingly more, charity gifts are becoming the preferred option for many companies. In addition to helping make a difference for those in need, Christmas charity gifts can help enhance the corporate image and reputation of your company.

Since there are dozens of options available, in this article we aim to provide you with some useful suggestions so that you can choose the most appropriate Christmas charity gift.

Christmas charity gifts for environmentalists

Buy an Acre of threatened wilderness

By purchasing a gift from The World Land Trust, you can help fund conservation projects and protect endangered wildlife habitats. Each gift pack includes a “land purchase certificate”, which details the amount of land your gift is helping protect, as well as a unique greeting card. Gifts start at £25.

Plant a Tree

For only £15, your gift will be helping the Woodland Trust regenerate forested areas of the United Kingdom. The charity’s website has an online shop where you can choose from a wide range of Christmas gifts, including calendars, jigsaws, books, stationery, and more. Continue reading “Christmas Charity Gift Ideas”

Time for a Cuppa… Having a Tea Break in the Office (Infographic)

The British love tea but only four in ten office workers make a hot drink for more than one colleague every day in the UK. Are some of us ‘social tea drinkers’, prepared to sip tea just to get all the office gossip? As the International Tea Day – 15 December – is getting nearer, we at London Office Space decided to make ourselves a cup of tea (that’s how long it will take you to read through this tea infographic!) and get all the tea facts right. Fancy a cuppa?

It’s time for a cuppa… – An infographic by the team at London Office Space

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