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Liz Baker, Flexpace’s Digital Marketing Manager talks about keeping safe at this time.

So, suddenly, flexible working is in all my news feeds.  With the worries of Corona virus, people are publishing blogs and articles about working from home.  Friends are sharing images of them in their PJs, working from home.  Conference calls are now a gamble as to which pet will embarrass their owner first.

For some people, it’s just not an option to work from home, so if you are still sharing communal facilities and need to have contact with other people it’s time to work flexible but also work safe.

 

Sharing space with others means respecting them

Over the past few days I have reviewed our company’s Contingency Planning to make sure it’s up to scratch to cover the current COVID-19 issues.

I have read more information on disease containment that is necessary for one lifetime.  But it all comes down to some very easy rules.

If you have to share a space with others, then you have to respect them and take a series of simple precautions.

GOV.UKStep One – Get your facts right

As much as I’ve enjoyed the memes and photos sent to me by friends, knitting your own face mask and brewing up your own hand gel is not going to do any good.

Go to the source.  The UK Government’s own GOV.UK which has up to date information and links to guidance from both the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.

Step two – The person responsible for your safety is you

I remember when that phrase was stuck on mirrors to make you think about your own safety.  It’s still true.

We all have to take responsibility for making sure we wash our hands and not sneezing over everyone else.

Make yourself aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and how it’s spread by bookmarking and reading the GOV.UK website.

Your workplace should have a policy on what to do if you are showing symptoms.  Make sure you know what it says and what you should do.

If you think you may be showing symptoms then isolate yourself immediately and call 111.

Step three – Now wash your hands!

Now wash your hands

Washing your hands is something we should all have been doing anyway (why do people need to be told this, it’s not a social nicety, it’s essential) but just in case you are still not sure how to wash your hands then the NHS have produced a great PDF you can download that shows you how.

Things you can sing or recite that take 40 – 60 seconds whilst washing your hands …

  1. Happy birthday to you (1 verse)
  2. The opening to Star Trek (this is the voyage of the USS Enterprise ….)
  3. Lady Macbeth’s hand washing ritual (Out damn spot, out I say …)
  4. Yesterday, by the Beatles (1 verse)

Or you can create your own poster using the fantastic washyourlyrics.com
I went for Jolene by Dolly Parton for mine!

Step Four – be courteous and keep a clear desk

You are sharing a space with other people.  Don’t stand over them and cough!  Dispose of that paper hankie straight away.

Don’t leave dirty plates and crockery on your desk.  It’s very easy to end up just rinsing out your mug at the end of the day, don’t.  And also DON’T wash it in the toilets.  By law, companies must supply separate washing facilities for crockery away from toilets.  Use them.  Dry your cup on a paper towel rather than the dodgy tea towel that hasn’t been washed this century.

Keep a clear desk policy – it’s easier to wipe your desk down with an antibacterial wipe when it’s clear.  Did you know, when you use an antibacterial wipe or spray you need to let it dry before you use the surface or you run the risk of dissipating the effectiveness?

And finally …

Be safe out there!
#flexspaceuk #flexibleworking #keepingsafe

Meet Gail Haddon, Centre Manager @ Flexspace Northampton

Gail Haddon Northampton Centre Manager
One of the first things that you notice when you walk into Flexspace Northampton, is how welcoming Gail Haddon, our Centre Manager, is.

Gail took 10 minutes out of her day to talk to me about working at Flexspace and her role as a Centre Manager.

How long have you been the Centre Manager at Northampton?

I’ve been centre manager here for six months and have just passed my probation.

What are your main responsibilities?

Gail Haddon - Northampton Centre Manager
Front of house includes housekeeping; making sure that there is a safe and happy environment and that Flexspace Northampton is operating well.

Our customers’ journey with Flexspace begins when they come to view the venue. I always start in a little meeting room, reviewing their requirements, understanding their business’ background then a tour of Flexspace Northampton. I show them no more than 3 rooms; these are normally the one closest to the one they want and two alternatives of slightly bigger options.

Then we have networking events – although the people who work and visit Flexspace Northampton understand what a great venue we offer, I keep close ties with the local community through both networking events and social events for our clients and tenants.

From meeting room bookings and end of month billing to renewals and licence agreements, there is a strong administration part to my work, including fire alarm tests, health and safety checks and maintenance reviews.

I take pride in how welcoming and clean Flexspace Northampton is as a venue which is achieved through our customer service attitude to delivering more than our customers expect.

What attracted you to this job?

The people at Flexspace. When I met the Area Manager for Flexspace Northampton through my previous job, and saw the venue, I felt that this was the job and people for me.

What do you most enjoy?

This is the best thing I’ve ever done. Every day is varied and it takes good management skills to make sure that everything is planned and done but I really enjoy it.

What are your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge is to have full capacity of the offices and have those customers renew. This is down to getting the right customer into the right office space and making their experience here at Flexspace Northampton a good one so that at renewal, they want to stay.

What do you think makes a good Centre Manager?

You have to be approachable, organised and definitely calm and cheerful. Being flexible and understanding our clients and tenants and able to listen to their needs.
Interested in working with Flexspace?  Then visit our Careers Page for more details.
#flexspaceuk #flexibleoffices #flexspaceukjobs #flexspace #flexspacenorthampton

Mental Health and Stress Awareness Week at Work

With it being World Mental Health Day this month, and Stress Awareness Week approaching next month, we were inspired to write a blog on how to tackle and combat stress at work. Whether physical or desk-based work, or even travelling from one appointment to another, you need to look after yourself.

Being stressed and under pressure is a normal part of life. However becoming overwhelmed with stress, with no wind-down time, can lead to mental health problems, and affect the wellbeing of the person involved.

National Stress Awareness Day is a timely reminder that we must take a moment to think about our own wellbeing and seek support in managing stress. Sometimes we can get carried away with work and focus too hard on goals or achievements. You can forget that you can make somebody else’s day by taking the time to talk to them, or even sharing a smile.

Here are our top tips on how to manage work-related stress

  1. Take time away from your desk. Make sure you take short breaks throughout the day, try going for a walk or run during your break, have your lunch on time, and away from your desk to re-energise.
  2. Make time to unwind after work. Avoid checking emails from home in the evening. We all need downtime to de-stress.
  3. Sleep well. Not getting enough sleep makes it difficult for anyone to concentrate and perform to the best of their ability. To get to sleep more quickly limit your caffeine intake late in the day and avoid screens for about 30 minutes before bedtime.
  4. Track your stress levels. Keep a journal to identify situations that create stress and note how you respond to this. Try to identify what is pushing your buttons and spot where you handled it best.
  5. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re overwhelmed. We all know what it’s like to feel stressed at work. Sharing this can make a huge difference. Connect with a line manager, or someone else in your team. Find a private space to open up a mental health conversation.
  6. Learn to relax. Start by taking a couple of minutes a day to focus on unwinding. It’s important to also book some time off or plan a long weekend away from work to spend time nurturing your personal relationships and hobbies.

 

Workplace Peace and UnityFor employers, it is vital to create a stress awareness zone at any workspace, where staff can talk about, and share their thoughts or feelings when they are feeling overwhelmed. Colleagues should be encouraged to share advice, tips and give support to other staff members who need help.

Many modern companies are now placing workplace wellness at the core of their business by recognising the importance of their staff. Employers today find it vital to ensure individuals feel valued and supported. Placing mental health and wellbeing at the heart of any business can improve the productivity and happiness of staff members, resulting in a positive impact overall.
By focusing on the wellbeing of staff, the result is a healthier environment and a more productive team. Now, that is a ‘win’ for any company, of any size.

Hereford Celebrates 10 Years Serving Local Businesses

Flexspace, the UK’s leading provider of flexible offices, workshops, industrial and self-storage spaces, celebrated its Hereford business centre’s 10 year anniversary this month.

Flexspace Hereford opened for business in June 2009 under the ‘Evans Easyspace’ brand, it provides business units on flexible terms to local clients in Hereford and the surrounding area. The centre’s aim, since opening, has been to support local small companies with business units which meet the needs of growing businesses. It was acquired by Flexspace in 2015 and this remains the company’s aim going forward.

Opened by Paul Keetch, Member of Parliament in 2009, the centre was designed to provide Flexspace clients with a local home to their businesses.

Hereford Flexible Business Space Celebrates 10 Years
Flexspace Hereford Area Manager, Julie Taylor (left) and Centre Manager, Simona Gancheva (right) host a party to celebrate 10 years of business at Hereford.

Offering Flexible Business Spaces to SME’s From Day One

Julie Taylor, Area Manager for Flexspace Hereford, mentioned: “We opened as the Incubator Centre for SME’s. By offering workplace flexibility across the last decade, many of our customers’ businesses have expanded to their own premises.”

“The business centre provides a wide range of offices, workshops, meeting and conference rooms. All with the benefit of superfast broadband. Flexspace Hereford is in the centre of Rotherwas and is a thriving hub for new businesses, with easy access to the M5 and airports.”

Simona Gancheva, the Centre Manager based at Hereford, added: “I am confident the next ten years will bring even more success. Both to Flexspace, and the businesses who choose to use our centre.”

Even the Prime Minister Noticed!

David Cameron visited Flexspace Hereford in 2012 where Julie showed him around the business centre. They discussed SME’s, and the impact of business rates on small companies in the region.

To celebrate a decade in business, Julie and Simona hosted a 10th birthday party in the reception area. They invited all clients based at the Hereford centre to drinks, nibbles and a cake in celebration of their centre achievement. Clients were thanked for their continued trust and support over the years.

With Flexspace Hereford offering office spaces ranging from 130 to 570 sq. ft alongside virtual office services, and workshop units, the centre, located on Rotherwas Industrial Estate, is ideal for businesses of all sizes.

Further information about the centre and available spaces can be found via www.flexspace.co.uk or calling the sales team on 0800 033 4444.

Flexspace provides support for all business clients, be it small or large, whether on short licences – or long-term leases. This blog talks through the advantages in being a Flexspace client, and the support that can be provided from the time you’re setting up, throughout your business journey and as your company grows.

Get Your Business Moving in the Right Direction

When starting up a business, at Flexspace we understand it can be difficult to find the right place to set up and get the ball rolling. There’s plenty to consider, and the to-do list can seem never ending. Flexspace clients are offered flexible terms, with the minimum of a 6-month agreement to sign up to. We avoid tying you into lengthy contracts as you work towards a budget.

Expand Your Office, When You Need To

Should you realise that you need more space to operate comfortably, Flexspace aims to provide a simple expansion agreement, making it hassle free for you to move your business to a bigger area – whether this be for an office space or a workshop unit. Similarly, if you’re looking to downsize, once your lease or license agreement comes to an end, we’re more than happy to assist in providing you with a unit that suits your needs.

To take the burden of having to find or buy office furniture, all Flexspace offices can be ready furnished with chairs and desks. We also provide a range of infrastructural facilities such as running water, power supply and security at selected locations.

Support Staff: On Site, Or On Call

Office Support on HandFifteen of Flexspace locations are manned centres, where there is a fully staffed reception desk, providing clients with staff on hand to help. For other locations, area managers visit the centres almost every week, and are at the end of a phone line to help clients at any time if need be.

We provide access to networking opportunities, so we work to create an office environment that hosts a variety of brands and businesses. Clients can open up to business opportunities within our workspaces and facilities.

Small Businesses Need Support

We believe in giving small businesses the best support to help them make a success of their company. The owner of the business needs to focus on the tasks in hand, not the operation of the facilities.

We take away the headaches that can come with running your premises, so that you can get on with the main challenge: running a successful enterprise!

Perhaps that’s why more companies than ever are choosing to work with, and at, Flexspace. Book a site tour today.

Whether it’s a start up or a well-established business, you need to find the right location to base your company. Business parks offer immediate benefits for companies of all sizes and are perfect if you’re looking to relocate, or simply finding your first company location.

A business park is defined as an area of land in which many office buildings are grouped together. Most of our Flexspace workspaces are purpose built for enterprises by having a range of sizes and space within the same business park.

All Flexspace offices and workshops are located near highways and main roads for optimal mobility and easy access. Below are the three key advantages for why you should consider setting up your company within a Flexspace business park.

Business Focus

Choosing to locate your company on a business park means that your company is based in a dedicated business area. If you want an office, you’ll find they come serviced and furnished, offering premises which combines the space you may need with great facilities. We give you a fast start so that you can take advantage of the range of services on site.

Like Minded Neighbours

Networking with Business OwnersBasing your business on a dedicated business park gives you a further advantage as you are surrounded by like-minded driven professionals. Having other business leaders run their companies alongside you could help you build your passion as well as enable you to seek support and fresh perspectives.

Flexspace tenants benefit from get-togethers and networking events which are arranged by our serviced business parks. These events are a great way for getting the most out of the business community around you.

Flexible Growth

Our business parks have enough capacity and space for companies to move premises as business needs increase. Initially your company may require a small office but in time, as you grow, you may need more space. It is always much easier to move to a new office in the same location than find and move to a new place.

At Flexspace we have a variety of sizes available to choose from within our business parks and we can provide flexibility with any requirements. We’re able to facilitate your needs to downsize or even upgrade to a larger premise. So, call the team on 0800 033 4444 and discover whether there’s a good fit for you.

Are you Protected for the Unexpected?

Protect Your Small BusinessWhen starting up or running a small business, there are many things to work on to ensure that your company is successful. From where to operate from, which can be made simple by Flexspace, to how to realise new customers. Then there’s staffing, invoicing and everything else that goes into it. These day-to-day challenges can often distract from some more significant concerns. Like your health.

It is normally the case that your employees have more protection and cover than you do. If they are absent then there’s normally a way to cover them. Even if the cover is you. However, what about you or any of your co-Directors? What would happen if you suffered a long-term illness or absence from the office. How would your business cope? This is where Key person insurance helps.

What is Key Person Insurance?

Key person insurance is in simplified terms life insurance on key persons within a business. This could be the owner of the business, the founder or possibly a key employee. Generally it is one whose non-attendance would have a significant negative impact on the company and is not easily replaced.

Any firm is able to set up key person insurance to aid when a key staff member in the company becomes critically ill or dies. This insurance policy can also assist in circumstances such as when the key person in the business has either been in an accident or hospital and is unable to pay for their workspace rent. Rent arrears can be a hassle which, can under certain conditions, be easily avoided by taking out the right policy.

Don’t Lose Your Business When You Lose a Key Person

Key Person InsuranceStaff in any company are the asset to a business, losing an important person in any firm may put a small business in jeopardy. Even in larger companies, there may be certain salespeople or technically skilled staff members who are virtually irreplaceable. With this insurance, you can maintain continuity, ensuring a business is able to operate financially and constructively even if it loses an important member of the team.

A key person insurance policy can also provide a pay-out in the event of a critical illness. An example of this could be the business loan protection, which will give lenders reassurance that the key person insurance will cover debt repayments.

At Flexspace we hope that clients never need to use key person insurance, but it is a fact of life that these kinds of situations occur. Which is why we recommend that you consider making your future business more secure and consider key person insurance.

Talk to your financial advisor if you want to explore this form of cover.

What is a Virtual Office?

A virtual office is a flexible business solution for any business, from startups to SMEs and larger corporate organisations. A virtual office allows a business to enhance their corporate and professional image.

Made up of a combination of features and services, a virtual office can include:

Why Consider a Virtual Office?

If you are a new business with ambitions for growth, a virtual office is a smart way of demonstrating your professionalism and business presence. Perhaps your workforce is spread out across the UK, working remotely or from home? A virtual office is the ideal solution if you’d prefer to advertise a single location for your business.

Maybe you are looking to expand into a new region, but would like to test the water first, before committing to physical office space? A virtual office is ideal for this. For these and for a range of other scenarios, a virtual office is a great way of creating an immediate professional image for your business.

How a Virtual Office can help Your Business

The primary benefit of a virtual office is that it helps your business to appear larger and well established, creating a professional business presence. Furthermore it gives you the flexibility to have your business based in one location, while you work in any convenient location.

A Bespoke, Trusted and Professional Service from Flexspace

Mailbox Virtual ReceptionistAt Flexspace, we pride ourselves on understanding our customers. We take time getting to know you and your business. We ensure a bespoke package which best suits you and your business needs. For instance, we offer call handling protocols or a specific mailbox facilities which meets your requirements.

As you navigate the business world, you need someone who you can trust, who can make good decisions on your behalf. When you choose Flexspace to handle your business calls, you can relax, confident in the knowledge that we’ll be 100% professional.

We have nationwide availability, across over thirty sites, so we can give you an immediate set up, together with flexible licence agreements. Many of the locations have access to free parking and meeting rooms where available. If your circumstances change, a cancellation notice of just one month means that you’re in control.

We aim to keep our pricing low and transparent. Our virtual office service is comprised of a flat fee for the mailbox itself and a fee for call forwarding. The call answering service is charged according to a monthly fee dependent upon the number of calls you are likely to receive (either 10, 75 or 150 per month). Any additional calls over the predicted number are charged individually.

Simply select the number of calls you think you’ll make in any one month, add on your mailbox, if required and away you go.
For further details about our Virtual Office services please call our National Sales Team on 0800 033 4444 or send us an email.

How do you make a productive work space?

How do you know that your employees are in the best environment? What factors stimulate your workforce into producing their best work? Please read on as we outline below some ideas. We’ll also outline an overview of work space productivity.

Your workplace (and by this, we’re primarily talking about office environments) is evolving. This is being driven by technology (always on, always available) and modern working practices (flexi-time etc).

If you can develop the correct working environment, it’ll increase your productivity. And improve employee satisfaction. Happier employees are more productive.

So what elements should you consider to promote an innovative, creative and above all, productive environment?

A Productive Workspace – Get the Basics Right

For your workforce to be happy, relaxed and stimulated, certain factors should be present. These factors (outlined below) are seen as almost the ‘cost of entry’ for any office environment.

Air quality – this has a detrimental effect on productivity if air quality is poor. Don’t forget to have your air conditioners serviced regularly.

Lighting – particularly the inclusion of natural light has a bearing on how well someone works in an environment. Generally, the more natural light available, the better. Light levels vary during different times of the year. The further North you travel in the UK, the bigger the difference between summer and winter light levels.

Colour is frequently cited as having a major influence on a person’s mood. Green stimulates creativity. Blue is relaxing, entrusts loyalty and well being. Red stimulates increased brain activity and yellow is supposed to increase cheerfulness. Many employers employ colour as an inexpensive way of helping productivity.

Music is supposed to promote productivity, but that depends very much on the style of music. It may be difficult to get all your colleagues to agree on this. What is the most appropriate music for an office? Which music will be enjoyed by everyone?

The Evolving, Productive Workspace

Many companies will do away with the cubicle style of working. They are looking for a more open, collaborative way of working. Working well together is the lifeblood of any organisation. So for all forward-thinking firms, think about this aspect of working.

A typical modern office has some open areas to encourage colleagues to share space. This also helps with creative ideas. For some workers, an open office space means a lack of privacy.

Which in turn sometimes causes dissatisfaction. For the majority of workers however, its a reflection of how people interact. Because of that, its here to stay.

So the trend within the workplace is towards a more modern, flexible and mobile way of working. Colleagues multi task, meet and work productively and creatively here.

The office environment works at fostering a sense of teamwork and interdependence amongst the workforce. This is the goal of many organisations.

Some variety in where people can sit is encouraged to prevent workers getting stale.

Why not use hot desking to encourage a non-static way of working? One idea might be to use a random lottery to assign work places!

Productivity and Reflecting a Company Culture

All contemporary companies have a work environment which reflects their company culture. Ideally, this culture is designed-in as much as possible. This helps promote innovation, creativity and of course productivity.

How do you define and pin down your company culture accurately? How do you get your environment to reflect and support your culture? By doing this, you can ‘live’ your culture more easily.

Its pointless if you have a buttoned up work environment for a buttoned down company culture (or vice versa).  Your environment supports your company culture. Or works against it. Make sure its working to help you.
So there you have it. A short tour of the impact of work environments. Of course, if you want to change your workplace for the better, get in touch. We will have something for everyone.

Flexspace lease units at variable terms, sizes, and locations. We cover the UK. We even allow some flexibility on how the units are kitted out. That’s because we’re flexible, The clue’s in our name!

There are many concerns when planning a new business venture – commercial property being just one. Renting for the first time, how much or little space do you actually need. And how that space requirement might change over time.

The cheapest option may be the smallest available unit that accommodates your milling machines and lathes. Or the most modest unit for your computer workstations. After all, with any new start-up finance is always a primary consideration. But how about a year down the line? Five years further on?

Flexible Terms are a Major Commercial Property Consideration

Three months, six months, or twelve months down the line and business is brisk, with new orders and clients beating a path to your workshop door. You need another lathe but don’t have the space. Material and stock storage space is running out, and you could do with another workstation in an already crowded office.

Luckily, companies like Flexspace have considered all these scenarios. They offer commercial property for rent to start-ups and small to medium businesses across the industrial, commercial and service sectors. You don’t have to commit yourself to a long lease, leases run from just 12 months. Attractive rental holidays are available to allow you to settle in and get properly organised. But more than that, with Flexspace’s ‘business units’ that extra space you suddenly need may be just a wall’s thickness away.

Flexibility is what Flexspace is all about. Flexspace appreciates empty units don’t earn rent, and to that end they provide new and existing tenants as much help as possible. Spread across the country on prime commercial sites close to major trunk roads and cities, they offer mixed units where you can operate your manufacturing business alongside your offices. Or you can set up shop on a purpose built industrial estate, or a modern business park

The Time to Expand?

Do you operate from the Midlands, but find an increasing amount of orders have to be delivered down south or up north? Is the increasing use of courier companies or ever increasing fuel bills beginning to eat into your bottom line? Relocating your whole operation is a costly and time consuming business. Perhaps the answer might be to open a distribution centre closer to your biggest customer base.

Have a chat with Flexspace. With nearly 60 sites of commercial property for rent they may have just what you require. Flexspace’s range of small, medium, and large units have excellent parking facilities for both staff and clients. With their willingness to go the extra yard to help accommodate new and existing tenants, you can probably arrange advantageous terms while you prepare your unit for its new role as a distribution centre.

Thinking Outside the Box

Moving OfficesFor years commercial letting agents had one aim, charge as much rent as the market could stand. Flexspace is not just another commercial letting company. We do try to operate differently by trying to clearly understand our customers’ needs and provide for them with a degree of elasticity.

If you’re looking for your first unit, or indeed looking for additional units to expand your existing business, you would do well to give Flexspace a call. We’ve the reach and scale to provide a large choice of unit types and sizes.

With our highly competitive rents, and genuine concern for the success of our tenants. This could be the beginning of a beautiful business relationship.

Looking for more than one location?

Are you looking for increased flexibility and reach without the downside of a long-term commitment or cavernous space.

Or perhaps as your staff shift to a more versatile working model, you need to be closer to where they live, and your customers are?

Flexspace has a dedicated multi-site team who can listen to you come up with all the options. To put together the perfect portfolio of locations and facilities to help your business thrive.

Call our dedicated team on 0800 033 4444, or

CONTACT US TODAY

Our Blog

Working Safe

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Being a Centre Manager @ Flexspace

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Tips to Combating Stress at Work

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The 4 Main Benefits of Using Self-Storage Units

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