Short Breaks Within an Hour of London

There is no denying that the British capital is an exciting metropolis bustling with countless things to see and do. However, chances are that if you live in London you will need to take a break from the city every now and then. The good news is that you don’t need to drive for hours to find a relaxing short break destination, as there are plenty of fantastic spots within an hour of the city. Read on to find out more and be inspired by our selection of short break destinations.

Seaside relaxation at Whitstable, Kent

The quaint fishing village of Whitstable is only 64 miles away from central London. In just over one hour, you can swap bumper-to-bumper traffic by invigorating sea breezes and beautiful beaches. What is more, Whitstable is only 5 miles away from historic Canterbury, which also makes for a great day trip out of London. This attractive little village sits on the southern end of the Thames Estuary, but its beaches and picturesque harbour are not all that Whitstable has to offer, as the village is also home to an 18th-century castle, numerous art galleries, boutiques, antique shops, an arts centre, and many pubs and inns and of course the Whitstable Oyster Festival.

Family fun at Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire

Woburn Forest is one of the most recent additions to the leisure and entertainment offer near London. This holiday park opened is managed by Center Parcs and opened its doors to the public on 6 June this year. The park is now ready for the summer season and offers dozens of activities in its 362 acres of space. The park is just a 45-minute drive from central London and is therefore the perfect weekend destination for families who live in the capital. Family fun is guaranteed thanks to activities like Segway riding, laser clay shooting, canoeing, climbing, archery, and aerial tree trekking. If you are visiting during a particularly hot summer day, you will surely appreciate the park’s tropical swimming pool. There is also a range of indoor activities on offer, as well as a spa, shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve

Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve is a protected area located 38 miles east of London. It certainly seems hard to believe that one of the UK’s foremost wildlife habitats can be so close to a large city, and this is precisely one of the reserve’s key attractions. Upon reaching the reserve’s entrance, you will be greeted with expansive views of the natural pools and lagoons that are home to thousands of birds, including redshanks, marsh harriers, peregrines, merlins, and black-tailed godwits. Further away, the River Thames flows gently towards the North Sea. The Cliffe Pools Nature Reserve is the ideal place to get away from it all for a few hours. Guided walks are available, but otherwise you can explore the reserve’s 6 viewpoints at your own pace. Continue reading “Short Breaks Within an Hour of London”

The Importance of Business Etiquette

Business Etiquette LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonMany of us know when someone has committed the crime of bad etiquette. We feel as if we’ve been insulted, without being able to pinpoint why. Good etiquette has the opposite effect. We feel inclined to help the person who displayed it, and we tend to trust them more. What makes for effective business etiquette today, includes how we communicate online, as well as in person.

Telephone Etiquette – ensure you have a standard greeting in place when answering the telephone. This includes the company name, salutation, and stock answers on behalf of people who are not available for any reason. Telephone tone of voice is very important. You need to sound friendly and personable. Never sound hurried or harassed. If given details over the phone, make sure you repeat spellings and numbers back to the caller. Write messages down on a time and date notepad, and deliver them as quickly as possible to the intended recipient to avoid repeat phone calls.

Meetings Etiquette – No matter if the board is meeting together, or a consultant is coming to chat with the manager, all meetings should be set up properly. This is to reflect a considerate corporate image. Guests to your office will have travelled, and may need parking validation. Some companies opt not to pay this; however, this small consideration goes a long way. Make any visitors’ attitude more favourable towards your company by offering refreshments on arrival, ensuring water and coffee is on hand during the initial stages of a meeting, and offer to safeguard any belongings for the visitors. When it comes time for departure, be prepared to offer any advice about traffic or travel the visitors might need. Continue reading “The Importance of Business Etiquette”

Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 2nd Quarter 2014

The second quarter of 2014 has proven to be an active period for the capital’s commercial property market. In fact, the first half of this year has seen some of the highest activity levels and take-up rates since 2010. This has been undoubtedly prompted by increased consumer and business confidence, GDP growth, and a recovering labour market. Below you will find a detailed account of how the London commercial property market has fared during the second quarter of the year.

London office property market: trends and figures for Q2 – 2014

During the second quarter of 2014, nearly 3 million square feet of office space were transacted in London. The vast majority of deals involved office properties in The City and in the West End, whereas a relatively small number of deals involved office space in the Docklands area. Take-up rates were up by nearly 20 per cent on a 5-year quarterly average. Approximately 38 per cent of all deals were carried out by companies in the banking and finance sectors. The professional services industry accounted for 20 per cent of all deals, wheras the TMT sector carried out 16 per cent of all transactions.

In terms of rental values, growth has been clearly evident in nearly every sub-market. Prime rents were almost 12 per cent higher than during Q2 – 2013. In the West End, prime rents currently average £115 per square feet. Areas like Mayfair, St James, and Marylebone command the highest prices in the West End, while Battersea, Fulham, and Camden have the lowest rental values in the area. The cost of office space in The City has risen to £58.5 per square feet, and in the Docklands prime rents are in the region of £36 per square feet. There are more than 500,000 square feet under offer in the Docklands, so it is expected that rental values in this area will continue to rise during the remainder of 2014.

During this quarter, pre-letting deals constituted nearly 60 per cent of all transactions, although in some parts of the capital (such as The City), pre-letting accounted for a higher percentage of the total number of transactions. Some of the most noteworthy transactions involved properties that are still under construction in the West End, such as the office buildings at 1 Fitzroy Place, 10 Brock Street, and 10 New Burlington Street. These are expected to be completed by 2015.

Continue reading “Overview of London’s Commercial Property Market – 2nd Quarter 2014”

The Best London Business Courier Services

London Courier Services LondonOfficeSpace.comChoosing the right courier service is vital for small businesses. Successful operations depend of efficient delivery of documents and goods, including timely delivery. A reliable courier service offers a range of guaranteed services and flexible hours to meet your needs.

Choosing the Right Courier Service

There are dozens of courier services in London. Many operate a range of transportation options that cater to different types of requirements, ranging from motorbikes and bicycles for documents and small parcels to vans and cars for larger items. Some may also use air cargo to ship items across the UK and beyond. A service with a range of transportation options gives you the peace of mind that they will be able to transport and deliver any type of package to any destination.

Another consideration is timing. A courier service that offers a range of time frames for delivery is important if you need a document or parcel shipped urgently. Common options include same-day delivery and next-day delivery. Collection and delivery times can vary depending on when you use the service, for example times may vary on holidays and weekends. It is important to understand timeframes for specific days when you need a courier service.

Flexibility is also important. A good courier service provides door to door service, where couriers pick up parcels and packages right at your door. Alternatively, top couriers operate shops that are conveniently located where items can be dropped off for delivery. Others may offer secure lockers where items can be left. Delivery time will typically vary depending on how items are dropped off, so it is important to confirm timeframes with the courier service. Certain couriers may also not provide same day service or online tracking, which might be crucial for some businesses.

Finally, cost is an important factor when choosing a courier service in London. The size, shape and weight of a letter, parcel or package will affect the price. Expedited services will also have a significant impact on the cost of shipping. Having an item delivered at a specific time is also very costly, whereas options such as same-day or next-day service without a set time can be less expensive. Additional fees may also be charged, including for insurance or other surcharges. It is important to ask courier services what all costs are as some may be hidden.

Top Courier Services in London Continue reading “The Best London Business Courier Services”

Dealing with Stress in the Office Environment

Dealing with Office Stress LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonDo you dread returning to work after a holiday or a weekend break? Have you noticed changes in your mood, appetite, or health following a promotion or changes to your workload? If so, you are not alone. Work-related stress is one of the most common causes of complaint and absenteeism for employees all over the world, especially for those who work in an office environment. The ILO (International Labour Organisation) has labelled stress a global epidemic that has huge financial and human repercussions.

It is true that not all causes of stress can be fully eliminated from our working lives, but as an office employee, there are a few things that you can do to help you deal with stress in the office. Below you will find some useful suggestions in this respect.

Are you your worst enemy?

It is very common to blame external factors on a stressful working environment. Unrealistic deadlines, an ever-increasing workload, staff shortages, or strained relationships with your colleagues or boss can be sources of stress, but have you become your worst enemy without realising it? Keeping stress under control has a lot to do with our own coping strategies and with your response to external stressors (like the ones mentioned above). In other words, your attitude could be magnifying these sources of stress and making them worse, snowball effect-style.

One of the things to look out for includes the common belief that you are pretty much “invincible” and that you can handle everything on your own. Going to work while you are ill or making overtime a habit are some common actions that can easily end up being counter-productive and leading to burnout. To prevent this, it might be useful to make a realistic list of your limitations so that you don’t take on more than you can handle. It is also important that you learn to delegate tasks and responsibilities on others and that you ask for help at home and at the workplace when you are starting to feel overwhelmed. These are all crucial aspects of stress management. Continue reading “Dealing with Stress in the Office Environment”

Top Government-Backed Initiatives for SME’s in London

Houses of Parliament LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonSmall and medium sized businesses in London have access to a range of government-backed initiatives that support business development and growth. From loan programmers to mentoring initiatives, these schemes are designed to develop capacity, improve access to financing and support innovation. They are also important tools to help entrepreneurs and managers interested in developing business ideas and expanding their business.

Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans is a government funded scheme that provides loans and business mentors for entrepreneurs. The Start Up Loans Company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and was originally created within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Launched in 2012, Start Up Loans has lent more than £85 million to over 16,000 businesses across the UK. Entrepreneurs looking for other financing sources beyond banks and business grants may apply for loans of up to £15,000. In addition to financing, successful applicants have access to a business mentor and other support services.

Delivery partners work with entrepreneurs to develop their business plans and find mentors. Partners in London include Start Up Direct, East London Small Business Centre, South London Business, Connect London, NWES (Virgin Startup), Bright Ideas Trust, Financing Start-up Enterprise, TrainE-TraidE, Kaleidoscope, Fashion Angel and HBV Enterprise. For more information about Start Up Loans and to apply for funding, visit www.startuploans.co.uk. Continue reading “Top Government-Backed Initiatives for SME’s in London”

The Launch of MedCity

MedCity LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonThe vision for MedCity is to position London and the South East of England as a leading centre for life science research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation. Launched in April 2014, it will also help develop the region as an interconnected cluster for life sciences over the next twenty years focused on the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Vision for MedCity

MedCity will promote London and the greater South East as a world leader and interconnected region for the life sciences sector. The initiative will involve the collaboration of academic institutions, businesses from various industry sectors, academics and researchers, and government leaders and politicians, and investors. With already over 700,000 people in the South East employed in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, MedCity will be tasked with creating additional jobs in the region. It will also foster additional collaboration and joint ventures to help lead the way towards new discoveries that are commercially viable. The ultimate goal is to promote the life sciences sector in the South East to the same position as the financial services sector in the region and the broader national economy.

About MedCity Limited

Founded by the Mayor of London, MedCity Limited is a partnership between London-based King’s Health Partners, Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and UCL Partners. The partnership also includes the support of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The initiative is modelled after the successful Tech City, a technology cluster centred in Central and East London. Continue reading “The Launch of MedCity”

The Best of London: Jobs, Business Locations and Events

London skyline LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonWithout a doubt London is one of the most important business locations in the World. Lets take a look at some of the most popular and highest paying jobs, the most sought after business locations, the top business incubators and the essential networking events and conferences to attend in London.

The Most Sought After Careers and Popular Jobs in London

Being 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.

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The Most Highly Paid Careers in London

As Britain’s biggest financial hub, London has plenty to offer in terms of high paying careers. From the towering buildings of Canary Wharf financial experts manipulate the stock market using a combination of expertise and risk. Within London and around its edges, pilots and flight engineers jet lucky holiday makers off to exotic destinations. If you fancy a career change, or just a little inspiration, these highly paid careers in London can set you right.

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The Top Businsess Locations in London

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Office Interiors Inspired by Nature

Selgascano office
Bringing natural elements into an office space can create a fresh and positive working environment. From using natural materials to incorporating features that evoke the outside environment, there are a number of ways businesses can successfully bring the natural world indoors.

Natural Designs

Incorporating certain design elements into the look of an office is a great way of evoking natural imagery and brings office space closer to natural spaces. For example, windows can be frosted with designs that recreate natural sightings including trees, flowers and wildlife. Sugamo Shunkin Bank in Japan has created an office that uses leafy decor, including using decorative stencils and frosting on windows that mimic large trees with colourful leaves. A forest-like environment is also created thanks to seven indoor courtyards with trees and grass. Continue reading “Office Interiors Inspired by Nature”

The Work – Life Balance

Work and Life Balance LondonOfficeSpace.com @officeinlondonWhether you are an employer or an employee, chances are that you are aware of how important it is to maintain the right work-life balance. Taking a balanced approach to both your working and your personal life is an essential element of success, as the negative effects of an unbalanced lifestyle have been well documented. A happy and highly motivated task force results in enhanced productivity, a healthy working environment, and better interpersonal relationships both at home and at work.

However, it is not always easy to apply the principles of the work-life balance concept. If you are having difficulties with this, read through this article to achieve a better understanding of the factors involved and to learn some useful tips.

Taking a closer look at the work-life balance concept

As you probably know, the work-life balance concept is a relatively recent ‘invention’. During the nineteenth century, the duration of a typical working day was well over ten hours. Soon after, trade unions and workers’ associations campaigned for the reduction of the working day to eight hours. The eight-hour working day is now seen as standard in the majority of industrialised countries, but according to statistical data, a large percentage of workers still spend more than eight hours per day at the workplace or taking care of work-related matters.

This is why the work-life balance concept came into being. The expression itself was coined in the early 1970s, as researchers found that the boundaries between the professional and the personal spheres were often blurred. Later on, studies showed that this imbalance could lead to mental and physical fatigue, poor productivity, and a range of health conditions, including a weak immune system, depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular disorders.

Nowadays, employers and employees recognise that balancing the personal and the professional is an essential element of good health and successful businesses. But how exactly can this be achieved? Continue reading “The Work – Life Balance”