Stuart Neil's blog is a nicely designed, easy-on-the-eye resource for all you need to know about London's commercial property rental market. This blog has a wide range of interesting posts from office moves, and cycling to work, to the legalities of rent reviews. Whether you're moving your office or renegotiating your rent, this blog is up to date, informative and well worth a read.
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Even though the concept of a ‘paperless’ office has been around since the 1970s, we’ve never really cracked it, have we? Benefits are said to include cost and space savings, better productivity, more secure data and better information sharing – and of course it’s good for the environment too. Whether it is ever practical to […] The post 6 ways towards the holy grail of a paperless office appeared first on Stuart...
Even though the concept of a ‘paperless’ office has been around since the 1970s, we’ve never really cracked it, have we? Benefits are said to include cost and space savings, better productivity, more secure data and better information sharing – and of course it’s good for the environment too.
Whether it is ever practical to eliminate all paper from the office environment is a moot point but thanks to today’s technology, even small and medium sized businesses can make major inroads towards having less paper in the office.
1 – Get a second monitor
Far from being a luxury or an indulgence, having two computer monitors make commercial sense. The practice will allow you to quickly and conveniently cross reference data without having to print out sheets of paper. Use one screen for reference and the other for the main task in hand.
2 – Embrace mobile technology
With most business data now readily accessible via the Cloud, there is thankfully much less need to carry around piles of printed documents to meetings and appointments. All you need is a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and WiFi access at your chosen location. Not only does it save on paper, it will make your business look modern and professional too.
3 – Use electronic storage
Scrutinise you incoming hardcopy documents to see which ones need to be kept, then scan and save them in electronic format, while shredding the rest. Digitising documents will make them easier to retrieve and share, especially if you use electronic storage such as Google Drive or Evernote. No printer of photocopier required.
4 – Email PDF documents
Printed paper documents are wasteful and often unnecessary. Rather than cluttering up your (and your clients’ or suppliers’) offices with pages of printouts, why not create PDF documents and simply email them? Include electronic signatures if necessary. Then it’s up to the recipient whether or not they wish to print them, using their ink and paper, not yours.
5 – Take your finances online
Save yourself the bother of having to reconcile piles of paper cheques and invoices, remittance notes and statements. Save on stationery and trips to the bank or post office too. How? Online payments, banking and cloud accounting software and services are now so reliable and secure, there’s really no reason to go back to paper.
6 – Switch to web based management software
Using a web based management solution that can be accessed anywhere, anytime via your browser is a slick, modern solution for your day-to-day operations. Without the need to print out and carry around trails of paper documents in the office, not only will your workplace look neat and tidy, it will make it much easier to share the files electronically.
One final word of advice, though. While hardcopy storage is soften branded obsolete, there are some valid reasons for keeping paper documents, such as
Longevity – Paper documents have a shelf life of 200 years or so if stored correctly. Digital storage technology may become obsolete or redundant much sooner.
Authenticity – If there is a legal requirement to produce original documents, perhaps with original signatures, digital versions are of no use.
Security – Electronic records can be hacked and your data compromised. Digital files can corrupt and data may be lost. Unless you’re vigilant about security, paper archives may be the safer option.
The post 6 ways towards the holy grail of a paperless office appeared first on Stuart Neils.
From Hammersmith in the west to Docklands in the east, the process of locating and securing office space in London can be fraught with difficulty. That’s why an acquisition agency can be a useful ally. Here are the 3 main reasons why it makes sense to use a professional help: 1 – Quick and effective […] The post 3 top reasons why you should use an acquisition agent to help you find a London office appeared first on Stuart...
From Hammersmith in the west to Docklands in the east, the process of locating and securing office space in London can be fraught with difficulty. That’s why an acquisition agency can be a useful ally. Here are the 3 main reasons why it makes sense to use a professional help:
1 – Quick and effective results
Do you use recruitment agents to help you hire staff? The same principle applies to finding office space. Evidence has shown that without representation, it can take tenants months to find suitable office space.
An acquisition agent will have in-depth local knowledge and a valuable network of contacts to guide you towards a suitable shortlist of available properties. From organising viewings to negotiating rent and lease terms and advising on fit-outs, your office relocation process will not only be shorter, but more effective.
2 – Professional representation for tenants
Would you go to court without a solicitor? Or would you prefer to be properly represented by an expert in the field?
Just as landlord agencies act on behalf of their clients, tenant agents are there to get the best deal for theirs. That way, there’s no conflict of interest compared to a situation where one agency represents both parties.
Landlord agents like dealing with a professional agency representing tenants that have been properly advised in relation to a property deal. Both parties can be safe in the knowledge that the negotiations and transaction are conducted between equal partners who fully understand the process.
3 – Saving money
The importance of expert advice cannot be understated, particularly in the sophisticated London commercial property market. The consequences of an unfavourable deal can be extremely harmful to your business, which is why it is essential to have an experienced operator to advise you and negotiate the lease on your behalf.
An expert negotiator who not only knows the industry inside out but is familiar with all the tricks of the trade is your best partner to secure suitable office space at a price that’s right. Your acquisition agent will be able to negotiate reduced rents and greater rent free periods to get the best deal for your company.
The post 3 top reasons why you should use an acquisition agent to help you find a London office appeared first on Stuart Neils.
It doesn’t matter if your office is located in an elegant period building in leafy Kensington or an industrial Shoreditch warehouse, having plants in the office brightens up the space and helps make us feel more cheerful. Studies have shown that adding some lush greenery to your workspace has proven wellness benefits, including reducing stress, […] The post 3 Indoor Plants That Are Good For Your Office appeared first on Stuart...
It doesn’t matter if your office is located in an elegant period building in leafy Kensington or an industrial Shoreditch warehouse, having plants in the office brightens up the space and helps make us feel more cheerful.
Studies have shown that adding some lush greenery to your workspace has proven wellness benefits, including reducing stress, boosting productivity and enhancing employee morale.
Pot plants don’t have to cost a lot nor does it take much management time to keep them watered. Some of them even have scientifically proven air purifying properties. Here are three favourite indoor plants to improve your office environment.
1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
The gorgeous peace lily is supposed to signify peace and prosperity – always a good thing to have in the office! It’s a classic and very beautiful indoor plant that is sure to enhance any workspace. An abundance of dark green foliage gives way to the occasional strikingly white ‘flower’ that is actually a type of specialised leaf.
Peace lilies love shade and don’t require much water – perfect for an office where natural light may be in short supply and attention may be limited to perfunctory once-a-week watering.
Interestingly, peace lilies are said to have exceptional air cleansing qualities, according to research carried out by NASA back in 1989. Their ability to purify the air from toxins including ammonia, benzene and formaldehyde is probably the best reason you could wish for to put one on your desk.
2. Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Available in various sizes ranging from a modest pot plant to a 3 metre-high ornamental indoor tree, this evergreen shrub is as pretty as it is useful. With hanging branches and lots of dark green, often variegated, leaves, a fig tree likes lots of light, so a window sill position and frequent watering is a good idea.
Not unlike the peace lily, a ficus tree is also able to filter toxic chemicals from the air, carpets and furniture found in most office environments.
One word of caution though: weeping figs don’t like draughts and nor do they enjoy being moved. How will you know? The tree will drop its leaves in disgust, that’s how.
Japanese Money Tree (Crassula ovata)
According to Feng Shui, a Japanese Money Tree (or Jade Plant) is a bringer of good fortune and financial success – another great reason to place one in your office.
Upward and outward growing compact, dark, glossy leaves give the money tree a minimalist, structural appearance; it’s a popular bonsai plant too.
Succulents have been experiencing a surge in popularity this year. Because of their plump, fleshy foliage, they need very little watering – once a month is probably enough. Be warned that the quickest way to kill a Jade Plant is by overwatering it. With that in mind, the plant should do well in most office spaces as long as there is a bit of daylight.
Office working is a fact of life for many of us. But spending every day in the same old environment can be a real morale zapper and motivation eroder. Wouldn’t it be better if the office was a fun place to be, where everyone could feel positive and nurtured? Happy, contented staff are not only […] The post 5 Ways To Make Your Office A Nicer Place To Work appeared first on Stuart...
Office working is a fact of life for many of us. But spending every day in the same old environment can be a real morale zapper and motivation eroder. Wouldn’t it be better if the office was a fun place to be, where everyone could feel positive and nurtured?
Happy, contented staff are not only more productive in their jobs, they’re also more likely to be loyal to the company. Here are 5 ideas that could really increase your staff’s enthusiasm for their workplace.
1. Get a proper coffee machine
Everyone loves coffee – proper espresso, that is. Not only will your staff be delighted to no longer have to queue at Starbucks on their way to work, it’s a shrewd investment to tempt everyone to arrive at work a bit earlier. Fuelled up with a morning caffeine hit and smiles all round, productivity is bound to increase.
2. Redecorate the office
Nobody likes working in a dreary and uninspiring office. An office refurbishment can make all the difference between a happy workplace and a dull one. Whether you choose to upgrade a few key areas or switch around some desks, or go for a comprehensive office refurb, the effect on your team will be hugely motivational.
3. Provide breakout areas
Sitting at a desk all day is not good for anyone’s mental or physical health. Even in open plan offices where there is a higher degree of communication, it’s important to get away from the desk. A breakout area can address this problem beautifully by providing an informal space to have a meeting, have a break or have lunch away from the computer while, crucially, still being in the office.
4. Get out more
Break the office monotony by making the most of any outdoor spaces available to you. Is there a patio or garden area? A park nearby? Why not make a point of holding some meetings or an occasional group lunch outside of the office? Outdoor meetings will refresh and rejuvenate while any change of scenery is sure to revive the office dynamics.
5. Harness the team spirit
One of the best ways to encourage team bonding in the office is to cultivate a team spirit outside working hours. Whether it’s casual Friday night drinks or a monthly office pub quiz, a corporate outing or teambuilding day, the important thing is to make it inclusive and fun. Spending time with colleagues in a different setting will help build relationships that will benefit the company during the working week too.
Relocating to a new London office can be an exciting time for your whole company. While a change of scenery can be just the thing to inject some fresh energy and boost staff morale, it’s usually a positive sign that your business is doing well. That said, moving offices can be an expensive, time consuming […] The post 5 Things To Think About Before Moving Office appeared first on Stuart...
Relocating to a new London office can be an exciting time for your whole company. While a change of scenery can be just the thing to inject some fresh energy and boost staff morale, it’s usually a positive sign that your business is doing well.
That said, moving offices can be an expensive, time consuming and logistically complicated undertaking – so think carefully before you make a commitment. Whether you’re thinking of taking new premises in Kensington, Knightsbridge or Kings Cross, here are 5 questions you should be asking before you make the decision to move.
1: Can the current office be improved?
Consider carefully whether a relocation isn’t actually more trouble than it’s worth. Uprooting an entire commercial operation is hugely disruptive, so if there is any way that your existing premises can be reworked instead, it’s got to be worth looking at.
Why not contact an office interiors specialist to help you identify new ways to use the existing space more efficiently to meet your needs? You may be surprised by the improvements that may be suggested. Coupled with general refurbishment, it may be all that’s required.
2: Who will be tasked with the office move?
If there is no other option than to move, planning and organisation are key. Put a senior member of staff in charge of the project to ensure everything runs smoothly, on budget and on time. The project leader will need to have the authority to deal with all the associated tasks – including Office Furniture and Removals, IT & Communications, Utilities and Facilities Management – and the ability to instruct real estate agents, managing agents, surveyors and lawyers.
3: Will you be moving to a better location?
Choosing a new location for your company is not always easy. Often, it’s a case of weighing up the location versus the new office’s interior facilities – make sure you consider all the implications to achieve a net positive outcome.
Don’t forget to consider transport links and access for your staff, including parking facilities – always at a premium in London.
4: When is the best time to move?
It makes sense to consider your current lease obligations and possible break clauses to effect a smooth transition – but this isn’t the only factor you should take into account. Look at your company calendar to establish when your busiest times are; moving office needs to fit in with your operations to minimise any upheaval that will be caused by the office relocation.
Instead of being guided by the terms of your lease, it may be a better idea to extend your lease by a few months, or leave the office empty after you move, to enable you to make the move at a time to suit your business goals.
5: How can you take your staff with you?
Not everyone in the office may be enthusiastic about an office move, particularly if the new location is a long way from the old address. While some members of your team may be looking forward to better office facilities, others may struggle to commute to the new location without substantial inconvenience.
While the decision to move will ultimately be taken by management, it’s a good idea to have some form of office-wide consultation process in place, so that general preferences and potential worries can be taken into account.
No matter if your office is in Camden, Chelsea or Clerkenwell, fitting out or refurbishing a London office is not something any business does lightly. If you think about the expense, the upheaval, the disruption and the lost productivity, there needs to be a pretty good reason to go to the trouble. Whether it’s to […] The post 7 top tips for your office refurbishment appeared first on Stuart...
No matter if your office is in Camden, Chelsea or Clerkenwell, fitting out or refurbishing a London office is not something any business does lightly. If you think about the expense, the upheaval, the disruption and the lost productivity, there needs to be a pretty good reason to go to the trouble.
Whether it’s to upgrade the company image with the help of new décor and facilities, to make more efficient use of the space or to accommodate more staff, once you’ve made the decision to refurbish, it’s time to get on with it. Here are some useful tips to get the most out of your office refurbishment.
- Plan beyond today’s needs
An interior design overhaul is the perfect opportunity to upgrade the physical environment of your office premises. Now is your chance to take full advantage of contemporary fashion trends and materials, incorporate sustainable building technologies and powerful IT capabilities and make use of innovative workplace practices to create the best possible environment for your business to succeed today and in the years to come.
- Manage the process professionally
Run your office refurbishment like you would any other project, with a designated project manager and an agreed budget. Set a realistic timetable that starts with staff consultation and ends with an updated office handbook to explain the changes. For large projects, or high-end refurbishments where the end result simply must wow, it pays to hire professional design and fit-out specialists to take on the entire job. These companies can often provide a complete solution – from space planning and design to installation and even training.
- Let there be light
Natural light is a highly prized commodity in offices spaces everywhere – maximise it wherever possible! High levels of natural daylight in the workplace are associated with improved happiness, higher brain activity and better productivity, with fewer headaches, eye fatigue and other health complaints being reported, compared to offices that rely mostly on artificial lighting. For interior lighting, consider installing LED lights as a healthier and more economical solution.
- Make effective use of space
London office rents being what they are, it’s crucial that your office space is utilised to its full potential to deliver maximum value. Rather than making do with an inherited or accidental office layout, now is the time to rethink and reconfigure it to your best advantage. Consider whether your business would work better with quiet, traditional workspaces or ask your office designer to investigate open plan designs and bench desking to create a more dynamic, interactive environment.
- Incorporate casual break-out areas
Breakout spaces in the office provide a much needed getaway from the desk. It’s a place to have informal meetings with colleagues or clients, take a lunch break away from the computer, or just somewhere to have a quick chat. It’s surprising how re-energising a short break can be, refreshing our mental capabilities and leading to higher productivity.
- Invest in good quality furniture
Buying budget chairs and desks is a false economy. The majority of office workers spend around 40 hours a week at the office, most of that time sat down in front of a computer screen. Good quality furniture has been shown to stimulate productivity and reduce staff absence levels, while unsupportive furniture can cause physical discomfort and a long list of long-term health problems. Ask your office interiors specialist about ergonomic office furniture and read about its benefits here.
- Reinforce your company brand
Refurbishing your company premises offers the ideal opportunity to outwardly align your corporate values, marketing messages and business branding. First impressions count – and that applies to your clients as well as your staff. To live and breathe your business philosophy, use your corporate colour scheme in office furniture and interior decorations, incorporating your logo, nameplate or company motto if you wish.
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