By GEMMA FOORD
With a third of all UK businesses situated in London, there is no doubt that it’s a desirable location for companies both nationally and internationally when it comes to finding a home for a business. However, with the continuously evolving landscape, it can be hard to pinpoint the best location for you. For example, the introduction of the Crossrail in Farringdon has meant the historic Hatton Garden area which was once considered London’s jewellery quarter has now also become home to a diverse range of media and creative businesses including tech giants such as Amazon.
The first thing you need to establish is the factors that will influence your ultimate decision. For example, if you are a start up with a small budget and want to ensure long-term success then this will be the driving factor when deciding on an area. You may have a larger budget and want to be located in an area surrounded by similar companies providing opportunities to network. Some companies are also driven by having a good work/life balance which may mean you would want to be in an area close to amenities such as gyms, bars, restaurants, shops etc.
Here at DeVono, we aim to give advice and guidance on this decision to ensure that the only impact it has on the business is positive. You can find below general guidance on where to look subject to what you are looking for:
When starting a business, it is important to ensure you have the capital expenditure to sustain the office space you move into which is why many start-ups opt for a serviced office that requires less financial commitment and provides a more predictable way to manage cash flow. We find businesses tend to get the most “bang for the buck” in areas such as Waterloo, Shoreditch and Aldgate with average desk prices being around the £550 per desk mark. It’s a common misconception that if you don’t have a large budget, you won’t benefit from having an office in London but you can guarantee you will be surrounded by likeminded people and businesses which make this a great opportunity to network.
Having a work-life balance is important. Well balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which thereby increases company productivity. Companies who actively encourage this balance have become very attractive to potential candidates and businesses are also more likely to benefit from higher retention rates of existing staff. When trying to achieve this balance as an employer, there are two things to consider. The first is location. Areas within close distance of amenities such as gyms, bars, restaurants and shops prove popular with many opting for locations in the core City such as the Liverpool Street and Bank vicinity. Areas such as Shoreditch are also proving more attractive thanks to the amazing nightlife, close locality to Spitalfields and the abundance of restaurants and shops. It is also important to consider what the building itself offers. Many serviced office providers now feature numerous conveniences which make the day to day time spent in the office as enjoyable as possible. These include, but are by no means limited to, co working space, breakout and quiet areas, on site events, on site gyms and showers and much more.
Air travel for business purposes has increased by over 35% since 2010 according to the Office for National Statistics. The necessity for organisations to have good connections both nationally and internationally is steadily increasing for both their own business needs as well as out of consideration for clients that may visit. Office space in Victoria is well-liked for easy access into Kent via overground mainline as well as the Gatwick Express which is a short 30 minute journey to the terminal. Also here is Victoria Coach Station serving for destinations such as Amsterdam, Birmingham, Belfast, Brussels and many more. Paddington is also a popular area with access to the Heathrow Express as well as intercity services to the South West of England and South Wales. Another area of interest is Kings Cross served by Kings Cross railway station, the terminus of one of the major rail routes between London and the North. The adjoined station of St Pancras offers access to Eurostar trains as well as to intercity trains to East Midlands.
London’s tech sector attracted more venture capital investment in the first half of 2017 than any other European city since the Brexit vote with more than £1.1bn being pumped into it, defending its title as Europe’s tech hub. East London Tech City, also known as Tech City and Silicon Roundabout, is the largest technology cluster in the world after San Francisco and New York City making it the number one choice for tech companies wishing to locate their business in London. Initially developed around the Old Street Roundabout in 2009, the area has rapidly developed thanks to both local and national support with investment from the likes of Facebook, Google, Cisco and more.
The UK is a major international communications centre with a virtually unrivalled number of media outlets nearly all of which are based in London and are clustered in the Fitzrovia and Farringdon areas of the capital. A good deal of British film, television and post-production industry is based in London’s Soho area in the West End of London which is long established as an entertainment district being near the heart of London’s theatre area.
“Creativity is just connecting things.” – Steve Jobs
This quote even rings true when finding a creative office space. Here at DeVono, we find businesses in this industry tend to be drawn to areas with character and a history connecting them to an environment which will provide inspiration. London is a city often viewed as a leader in the fashion industry with London Fashion Week attracting numerous famous faces year on year. Soho is a popular choice due to the industry’s history in the area. Carnaby Street emerged from being an insignificant side street to the centre point of British fashion and has now acquired a worldwide reputation. The Shoreditch area has also attracted a mass of creative companies since the regeneration of the locality and has become a pioneer in similar transformations across London. With art galleries, bars, restaurants and media businesses, you will never be short of stimulus for your day.
Mayfair has long been the preserve of the affluent elite oozing luxury and elegance. According to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle, leasing activity of boutique investment banks, private equity firms and hedge funds increased by 139% from 2012 to 2013. With over 45 private members club in the vicinity, businesses are able to offer a unique and easily accessible service to high net worth clientele. However, having an office in the prosperous area of Mayfair comes at a price averaging out at around £1,100 per desk. Hedge Funds are now branching out into the surrounding area of Marylebone where there is more space available and monthly costs involved in having an office is considerably lower.
The UK legal sector is now worth almost £31.5bn with total revenue for the top 50 practices rising by 4.5% in 2015-16. As a legal practice, there will be many factors you need to take into consideration and then you will have to work out if there is a way to meet all requirements or which one outweighs the other. For example, if you have a practice that requires you to be in court several times a week or on short notice, a location near the courthouse may be best. However, if it is more important to you to be close to the competition, then this may change the location. We find the Chancery Lane and Fleet Street areas of London, home to the Royal Courts of Justice, tend to tick most of the boxes for businesses providing legal services.
Although running or managing a charity is rewarding, it is also comes with its difficulties. Unlike your normal business, the income has to stretch far beyond the standard monetary liabilities which is why it is important to keep overheads as low as possible. For this reason, charities tend to opt for office space in the lower budget areas that are still easily accessible for volunteers, donors, events, lobbying government etc. This also ensures that as much of the donations as possible goes to the cause. Favourable locations include London Bridge, Waterloo, Vauxhall and Victoria where the average desk rate is around £600 per desk with the charities reach to the public and government still remaining very strong. Although the rates in these areas have increased over the years on the prime properties and newer builds, there are still a number of buildings in the area which have remained affordable.
The Westminster locality of London has been a long standing home to the government bodies of the UK. Home to the House of Parliament, Whitehall, Buckingham Palace, Scotland Yard and many other organisations, the SW1 postcode provides easy connections to the whole of London as well as a wealth of rich history.
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"I have worked with DeVono for many years. I value their approach – always looking at the big picture, not just the deal. They consider the real estate challenges we face through our eyes, understanding not just the real estate reporting requirements but also the complexity of our organisation’s structure and stakeholders. I’m always very happy to work with the team and value their support."
"Having appointed DeVono in March 2016 to find our next high profile London office from 2018, we have not been disappointed with their high level of service and meticulous attention to detail from the very first day, through to signing the Agreement for Lease and beyond. They assured us during the tender process that they would be right by our side all the way through and not just appointed to “do the deal” and this is exactly what we received."
"DeVono did an excellent job for On Demand from beginning to end. You showed patience as our requirements changed and understood what we looking for at each stage of the process. I would be very happy to recommend your services to other clients and would single out the first class service provided by your relocation team for particular praise."
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