Londoners spend less on eating out

The cost of enjoying a meal at the capital’s restaurants has fallen down for the first time since 1997, a survey of London restaurants shows. Money saving techniques adapted by the Brits in the wake of the credit crunch mean there is less money left to splash out on meals outside of home.

According to the 2010 Zagat London Restaurants Survey, the average cost of a meal fell by 0.4 % to £40.39 in 2009. The cost had been rising at an annualised rate of 3.6 % since 1997.

The survey was carried out at 1100 London’s restaurants, with over five thousand diners revealing they now eat out approximately 2.2 times a week, whilst in 2008 they opted for a meal out nearly 2.5 times a week.

Nearly 50% of diners admitted this was a direct effect of the recession. Even though people are more careful with their money, eating out remains a vital part of London lifestyle.

London is set to get greener

As many as two million trees will be planted in London by 2025, reports London mayor’s Boris Johnson’s office.
green-london1.jpg

The capital is set to become greener, cleaner and more civilised, said the mayor’s environment adviser Isabel Dedring.

The 2m tree plan was prepared as it is evident that the city desperately needs more parkland to combat predicted summer temperature increase.

The so called “urban heat island effect” means that buildings absorb and release heat, retaining higher temperatures in cities than suburban areas.

According to officials, by 2080 average summer temperatures in London could be nearly 3.9C higher than today. However, a study from Manchester suggests that increasing green areas in a city by 10% could offset the higher temperatures.

The programme is called Leading to a Greener London and it aims to increase green space in inner London by 5%, including green roofs and more trees in streets.

London consumes roughly £12 billion of energy each year and produces 22 million tonnes of waste.

Further information on saving money on your office energy bills, the ethical office and recycling office furniture in London.

Having an Outdoor Lunch in London

outdoor-london.jpg

Fed up with eating at your desk? Bored of scanning news sites while munching your sandwich? Suffering from bad digestion and poor work performance? It’s about time you started enjoying the lovely sunshine which seems to be spoiling UK office workers this year.

Stepping out of the office to have an outdoor lunch is good for both your health and your mood. It is also allows you to rest your eyes, stretch the back a little bit and breathe some fresh air.

Working in London, one of the busiest capitals in Europe, sometimes means you have to walk a bit to spot a tree. But don’t get discouraged, here’s a list of ideas and suggestions that might be useful in your search for a relaxing urban spot.

Have a closer look at the local map. Are there any green spots and if yes where are they? Are they accessible to public? It’s worth using online maps with satellite images of the local area to find any potential spots. I once worked in London’s busy Old Street area and over time I compiled a list of five local places where I could sit in the sunshine, have my lunch and even read a book. Continue reading “Having an Outdoor Lunch in London”

Company Christmas Cards

christmas-card.jpg

It’s about time to check your address book and get sending out Christmas Cards to employees, clients, suppliers and local companies. You can quickly and easily have a personalised Christmas Card produced with your company name, logo and address (good for advertising or just as a reminder of who you are) and/or with a picture of your company.

Having received a company Christmas card where all the employees were dressed up as Xmas puddings, which is something I would be very reluctant to do myself, there are other ways of producing a card with a difference. How about a collage of employee baby pictures? Probably far more endearing than the grown up versions, unless you work at a modelling agency that is. Or employee pets, perhaps with Santa hats or similar Christmassy adornment.

If you can take the time to handwrite your cards, it does give them a more personal feel. Ensure you get your cards out in the beginning of December, the longer your cards are on display the better, plus it gives the receiver time to return the favour.

Further advice on all things Christmassy in the office including office Xmas parties, planning an office Christmas party in London and Christmas on a Budget.

Office Christmas Party on a Shoe String

christmas-party.jpg

A lot of companies will have had to cut back on those Xmas extras this year, but you can still have a Credit Crunch Christmas Celebration. The swanky champagne reception from last year may indeed be a thing of the past, but it doesn’t have to be a Scrooge like lump of coal either. It’s important for both team building and office morale to have little celebration, to relax and enjoy a bit of the Christmas spirit together.

So you can’t book the ballroom at a big hotel this year, but you can find out about pubs or bars with event rooms, some don’t charge a hire fee, just a minimum spend at the bar. A restaurant meal is also a nice idea; many do a set Xmas menu that is quite reasonable. Secret Santa can be fun, where everyone chooses a name from a hat and buys that person a present, cap the spend limit at 5 or 10 pounds.

And look on the bright side, with less money behind the bar, perhaps you won’t have as many bad memories as in previous years, or be suffering from a hangover that lasts till the New Year.

Further advice on all things Christmassy in the office including office Xmas parties, planning an office Christmas party in London and company Christmas cards.

Office Christmas Party Checklist

If you’ve been put in charge of planning the office Xmas do, here is a checklist to get you started on your way:
Venue – Choose your Christmas party venue carefully, can people get to it easily? What about drivers? Public transport options?

  • Date and Time – You don’t want to overlap with other parties if you can help it, for example individual team Xmas parties.
  • Budget – How much has been allocated per head?
  • How many people are attending – Are you allowing spouses/dates?
  • Caterer – Is it a sit down meal or buffet? Don’t forget to cater for vegetarians, allergies etc.
  • Drink allowance – is there a bar?
  • Entertainment – Themed, music or band?

Remember that places get booked up very quickly during December, so don’t leave it too late to get organising.

Further advice on all things Christmassy in the office including planning an office Christmas party in London and company Christmas cards and Christmas on a budget.

Office Share – The Pros and Cons

Sharing an office with another person can be difficult. Having a colleague in close quarters with you when you are trying to work can be advantageous or completely unbearable.

It can be beneficial to have another person in your office. They can be someone to brain storm with and discuss ideas and solutions to your work problems or simply just someone to talk to. This can make your day more interesting and motivating. However, sharing your office can cause a lot of problems too, particularly if your job requires quiet and is fast paced and stressful. If you are used to working in your way, having another person in your space can be distracting and even aggravating.

Having an office-mate can be a positive experience. It can be someone to bounce ideas off of and help you to develop those ideas before presentation to your boss. However, it is important to try and allow each other to have personal space, even if it is a small office.

The arrangement of the furniture in the room can either make or break a shared-office relationship. If you can, it can often be good to have some kind of partition in the room, clearly marking your space. If not, just make sure that your desks are far enough apart that you are not bumping into one another every time you move. Also make sure that office equipment that has to be shared, such as printers, fax machines and copiers, are in a position that you can both reach with ease without getting into each other’s way.

Besides the problems that the logistics of the office space itself can cause there are also personality and work-style clashes. Some people like to listen to music while working, and if this is the case it is best to use headphones. Not everyone wants to hear your music and it can be distracting for some. Headphones may help to solve this argument before it even occurs. It can also be a good idea to “stagger” lunchtime as this can provide you with some peace and quiet if you take lunch at different times. This can then allow you to get critical things that require focus done. Continue reading “Office Share – The Pros and Cons”

Top 5 Microwave Manners – Office Kitchen Etiquette

In most offices there is a distinct lack of kitchen etiquette: people leaving dirty dishes in the sink or crumbs/leftover food all over the kitchen counters. Many office workers either forget or ignore the rulers of the office kitchen even though most of the rules simply stem from common sense and consideration for others.

When using the office kitchen there are simple and seemingly obvious general rules that should be followed.

Continue reading “Top 5 Microwave Manners – Office Kitchen Etiquette”

Top 10 Tips for Effective Job Interview Preparation

Once you have been called to a face to face interview, it is important to take the time to prepare correctly. Today’s business world is very competitive, especially in London, and there are bound to be quite a few other candidates that have the same or similar qualifications going after the job.

It is important to make yourself stand out and a good way to do that is to practice exactly how you will sell yourself to your prospective employer. The first meeting is crucial, and therefore it is essential to be at your best and fully prepared.
Continue reading “Top 10 Tips for Effective Job Interview Preparation”

Office Art and Decor

When choosing how to decorate your office it is important to choose art and décor that speaks positively about the environment of the office and sends the right message to both employees and clients.

It can be difficult to choose the right colours, wall hangings or sculptures that not only fit in with the corporate culture but also adhere to a sense of professionalism and will help to create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere for clients. You and your employees also spend a large amount of time in the office so it should be an interesting and motivating place.

Continue reading “Office Art and Decor”