Virtual office space – now is the time!

Virtual office space – now is the time!

There is no dispute that times are hard – particularly for businesses. Companies are having to cease trading, staff are being furloughed and many teams are separated due to homeworking.

Yet amongst all the uncertainty, there is a glimmer of hope.

Many people who have had a business idea bubbling along for some time have suddenly had time to sit back, take stock and let their creative juices flow. For many, it’s the time they have simply never had before– and  a whole new generation of entrepreneurs is emerging.

These ambitious people are using their time to plan, ready to launch their big ideas when normal life resumes.

Getting you started

It’s great to have an idea – but how do you get your business started?

At BusinessLodge this is something that we can help with, through our Virtual Office Services – and in recent weeks, we’ve seen a real increase in enquiries about the services we offer. We can assist if:

  • You don’t want a permanent office but need a receptionist service
  • You want to a professional “shop front”
  • You are a start up business and want to keep your costs down
  • You are testing the water in a new location
  • You want to be part of a thriving business community

Our virtual office service office everything you will need to get started with the right first impression and includes:

Business address – A business address will enhance your professional image on your correspondence and marketing materials. Through our service, we will not only provide you with an address, we’ll sort and forward on your mail to you.

Call answering service-First impressions count – and that often starts with a phone call. Our fully trained receptionists can take care of your calls and add a touch of professionalism, answering with your company name and transferring them directly to you.

The telephone service can also include a call forwarding option and we’re able to  offer an additional app to enable the client to make or receive calls using their landline number provided by BusinessLodge – which is proving particularly popular at the moment. 

In addition, we offer a full virtual office service which we can tailor to your specific requirements, including:

  • Office space on an ad-hoc basis
  • Co-working
  • Meeting room use
  • Mail forwarding
  • We can also offer a business Registered address for an extra cost per Annum if the client is taking a postal , telephone service or both.

And the best bit?

We can get you up and running straight away – so you don’t even need to wait for life to get back to “normal”.

If you’d like to talk through the options we can offer you and your new business venture, give us a call today or visit http://www.burybusinesslodge.co.uk/virtual-office-space/

Collaborative Co-Working

Collaborative Co-Working

The landscape of business has changed, and it’s looking more and more like it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Back in March, we were devastated to see many of our fantastic clients pack up their things after being ordered to work from home – and then when they gradually started to return in June, we welcomed them back with open arms.

As the pandemic rumbles on, many businesses still have employees working from home. While this is, quite rightly, in line with government guidance, it can present an operational headache for managers.

As the North’s independent leading flex space provider with almost 20 years’ experience, BusinessLodge wanted to help the business community- after all we’re all in this together. Through in-depth discussions with organisations across Stoke and Bury, we’ve enhanced our services with a fantastic new offering …

Welcome to collaborative co-working.

Customer demand

In response to overwhelming demand, we’ve started to offer Covid-safe working space in both of our high spec business centres for businesses to rent out for the day – or even by the hour. Our new scheme offers companies and workers the opportunity to come together and work in a safe, professional business environment.

Our new service is already proving popular, and our space is being used for a variety of reasons:

Home-working fatigue

Homeworking has many benefits – but there are also the downsides. It can be lonely and isolating. It can be difficult to separate your work schedule from the day to day drudgery of family and household chores. It’s all too easy to nip away from the laptop to “just pop on a quick wash” or catch up on your paperwork.  In addition, the to-do list left by family can end up making greater demands on your time than you need.

From a practical perspective, well-designed workspaces are created to facilitate productivity. On an ongoing basis, working in the box room of your house at a battered old desk whilst sitting on a dilapidated kitchen chair just won’t do.

Team-work makes the dream work

While anything is possible, some businesses are built on employee collaboration. Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams has proved a lifeline over recent months, but it’s not the same as being in the same room as colleagues – albeit socially distanced. Our working space gives businesses the chance to get key team members in a safe environment, whenever they require it, working effectively and productively.

A professional business environment – short term.

Our collaborative workspaces provide a professional working environment, with everything you need from internet and conference facilities to the all-important refreshments. The beauty is that businesses can replicate the environment they have back in the office – short term.

What’s more, with 20 years experience in providing flexible office space, this is what we do best. Our share workspace can be utilised by a single employee or a whole team, from an office to a conference room – whatever works for you we will endeavour to meet your requirements. For more information, please give us a call on:

BusinessLodge Bury & Stoke: Tel: 0330 024 9299  Email: info@businesslodge.co.uk

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BusinessLodge see surge in new enquiries following Covid-19 pandemic

BusinessLodge see surge in new enquiries following Covid-19 pandemic

Leading business centre BusinessLodge has reported a surge in enquiries from businesses that are opting to move out of the city centre and relocate more locally.

The flex-space provider, with sites in Bury and Stoke, reports that in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, more and more organisations are rethinking their model, and relocation has become a crucial factor in strategic decision making.

Managing Director Kate Holt explains more:
“In the early days of the coronavirus crisis, we saw a surge in budding entrepreneurs setting up their own businesses and taking advantage of our Virtual Office facilities.
“More recently, we’ve had lots of interest from larger businesses who are based in City centres and are now looking to relocate closer to home, in centres like BusinessLodge.”

Kate believes that there are several factors that play a key role in businesses choosing to step away from city centre office blocks and relocate more locally – with travel being top of the list.
Many businesses traditionally choose offices based on their proximity to train stations and airports with public transport deemed a practical, economical and environmentally friendly way to travel.

Kate continues:
“Post-lockdown, public transport is no longer as appealing as it once was. We’ve all seen the images of packed buses and trains, where compulsory face coverings are now the norm – and quite understandably, people are reluctant to take this option unless it is absolutely avoidable. While driving remains an option, city centre parking can be upwards of £25 a day for those who want to use their car – which can amount to a whopping £2,500 a year.”

Another key factor in the shift towards local offices is the reduction in commuting time. By basing  the business closer to where employees live,  travel time is cut right down, freeing up several hours a week that people can use more effectively, from spending time with family and friends to working out in on-site gyms. The research shows that this results in a happier, more productive workforce.

In addition, keeping local affords more opportunities to walk and cycle to work, healthier for both people and the environment.

She says:
Times are uncertain, there is no doubt about that. Yet many businesses who are currently based in the city centre who are considering a move have their hands tied. This can be particularly difficult for organisations who have been forced to downsize their workforce over recent months. There is also the uncertainty of a relocation at this time and so a more flexible tenancy agreement can be extremely useful.”

BusinessLodge has an enviable reputation for providing top-end office facilities combined with exceptional customer service and a true community feel. It’s four unique buildings offer a development of high spec, contemporary serviced offices with a free gym, catering facilities and ample on-site car parking, and it easily accessible for commuters in both Stoke and Bury.

Kate Holts concludes:
“There’s no dispute that the world of work has changed beyond recognition over the past few months. Many businesses have suffered while others have thrived, and we are experiencing uncertainty like never before. At BusinessLodge, it’s at our very core to #lovewhereyouwork and as the current crisis unfold, we’re also finding that more and more businesses are choosing to #lovelocal – which is great news for Bury and Stoke and the local economy”.

Happiness at work week

Happiness at work week

We know it’s all a little crazy at the moment – and we understand that for some, the idea of a happy working environment might be a dim and distinct memory – for the moment at least.

However, on International Happiness at Work Week, Kate Holt, Managing Director of flex-office provider BusinessLodge, gives us a insight in to why more and more clients are desperate to get back to their desks – and the key elements that make for a happy working environment.

The British are a nation of grafters. On average, we spend 34 hours and 26 minutes a week at work, totalling a whopping total of 84, 365 hours over a lifetime. Given those stats, it goes without saying that our employment can have a considerable impact on our quality of life.

Ask most people what it takes for them to be happy at work and you can expect to hear points that include great terms and conditions, respect from colleagues, decent holiday and good rates of pay.

However, as the culture within the workplace changes, employers are starting to recognise that the working environment itself also has a significant effect on staff wellbeing – and that it pays to invest in this area.

The actual place that staff are working in should not be underestimated when it comes to keeping employees happy – it can make a huge difference.

Businesses are finally becoming savvy to this and it’s exactly why we exist– to provide a flexible, modern environment with a real sense of community.

Right now this is more important than ever. People are weary from working at home for months on end and are keen to get back onsite – for many reasons, of course taking all safety measures in to account.

With almost 20 years in the industry, Kate has given us an insight into the top things to consider when looking for business premises to help foster a contented workforce.

Location, location, location – and parking

You can have the most cutting edge, super shiny office in town – but if it’s inaccessible for your staff it’s a none-starter. People want to be able to get to their place of work easily – so choose somewhere on a good route.

Car parking is also a key consideration. Spaces are often at a premium and there is nothing more stressful than arriving for a busy day at work to find that you can’t get parked anywhere near your office.

During the current pandemic, this is truer than ever. We’re finding more and businesses are looking to move out of the city centre, to enable easier access for employees. What’s more, living closer to the office makes it easier to walk, cycle or even run to work, while avoiding public transport, particularly at the moment.

Natural Light

Natural Light is known to boost psychological wellbeing and a study by Loyola University found that people who work in sunlight have better short-term cognitive skills and are more productive than those working in more dimly lit areas. Not everyone has this luxury, so the next best option is soft, artificial light, plenty of plants and ensuring that staff take a regular break from their desks outside.

For those who are still working at home, make the most of the chance to get out in to outside space periodically.

The Colour Scheme

Colour psychology suggests the decor used in an office environment can have a dramatic impact on staff and visitors alike. These effects are subliminal and opinions are formed the moment the door is opened. Delving a little deeper, it makes perfect sense that the right colours can help make a happy workplace.

Green as an ideal colour for an open-plan office as it is ‘easy on the eye’ and induces feelings of calm. Plenty of green plants have a similar effect, as well as being great for air quality. Blue is also associated with calmness as well as thinking and problem-solving. Yellow, orange and red are said to be perfect for collaboration points, enhancing productivity and creativity.

Office furniture

A suitable desk-space is a fundamental requirement for any office worker and an ergonomic chair is another ‘must have’ to maximise comfort and minimise the risks of poor posture. Whether the layout is open-plan or more traditional, quality furniture really is an essential.

Additionally, the option to personalise our workspaces with photos and trinkets reaffirms our identities and can enhance our focus. Employees who have control over the layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier, they may also be as much as 32% more productive.

A sense of community

Humans are sociable creatures and everyone wants to be one of the gang. Building a sense of community in the workplace will make a huge difference to an employee’s wellbeing, even if you’re a one-man band. Kate Holt says:

“We’re incredibly proud of the strong community feel that we’ve built in BusinessLodge.  In addition to the office space, we’ve designed our buildings to include lots of communal space, where people can meet up, network and socialise. “

As Co-working becomes increasingly popular, even smaller businesses can benefit from building their own community through shared space, building their network and working side-by-side with others from different industries. And after months of being separated, we’re finding that smaller businesses are desperate for the social intetaction.

Business opportunities aside, workers benefit from always having someone on hand to bounce ideas off, not to mention the social aspect.

Chill Out Zones

It’s essential that employees get time to relax, regroup and collect their thoughts. Chill-out zones are increasingly popular, and are now almost an expectation.  Far from submitting to the temptation to linger longer than necessary in the tranquillity of these zones, they actually encourage workers to return to their desks, not only refreshed, but on time. After all, happy workers are up to 12% more productive than unhappy professionals, as a study by the University of Warwick concluded.

On-site Gym

While some larger businesses might boast on-site slides and theme parks for staff use, these are likely to be the exception rather than the rule. However, given the benefits of exercise on both physical and mental health, an on-site gym provides the perfect wind-down opportunity at the end of a busy day without the need to leave the building to get there.

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It’s clear then that our happiness at work is largely dependent upon our level of physical comfort and employers are increasingly waking up to that fact.

After all, it’s in their best interests to ensure that their workforce remains happy. In doing so, recruitment, satisfaction and retention of talent are bolstered and the risk of ‘brain drain’ is reduced. This sentiment is echoed in the words of Johnny Carson who said;

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that… you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

 

Return To Work

Return To Work

Return to Work Guide at BusinessLodge

Over the coming weeks and months, as the stay-at-home restrictions begin to be lifted and businesses start to come back to their physical workspaces, we want to ensure we are doing all we can to help you navigate the process. We want to help you be prepared for your return to your BusinessLodge workspace and ensure the transition is safe, and effective and aligned to the needs of your organisations and people.

We have been working hard to prepare our approach on how we will reoccupy our buildings, considering all safety and control measures needed to ensure everyone’s health and reassurance.

The Return to Work update and FAQs below outline some of the current thinking and planning already in place to support your transition back to your BusinessLodge workspace, as well as managing your expectations as we remobilise our own teams and building processes.

We have developed five core areas of focus which we believe are applicable to each of our buildings and all of our client’s businesses – large and small. These priorities will be developed and evolved over time in line with government guidance and continually informed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and relevant health authority advice.

https://businesslodge.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Return-To-Work-Guide_BusinessLodge.pdf

 

Case Study: The BestofBury

Case Study: The BestofBury

 

CASE STUDY: THEBESTOFBURY

Thebestofbury have been based at Business Lodge for four and a half years. The company offers marketing support services to over 100 businesses across Bury and so has very specific requirements when it comes to serviced office facilities. 

The requirements

Thebestofbury had not used service office space before and so were taking a huge leap of faith. The owners had looked at various premises but said:

 “As soon as we walked in to Business Lodge, it felt right. We just knew that this would be the place where our business would grow and flourish.”

As a company, Thebestofbury offer various marketing support services to many businesses across the borough. Due to the nature of the business, the need for conference and function spaces was as important as the office space itself.

Thebestofbury run lots of courses and sessions which have different requirements every time, including IT and refreshments. They also often needed meeting rooms at very short notice and several times a year they needed out-of hours-space for up to 70 delegates.

The solution

Business Lodge provided thebestofbury with a small office to get them off the ground and as the company has expanded the team worked closely with the owners to find suitable larger office space. 

Debi Fellone, MD of thebestofbury said:

“ We can’t praise the Business Lodge team enough. They are always able to fulfil our requirements for meeting rooms and conference facilities – with great catering!

“The offices themselves are bright and well maintained and the communal areas, including the break out zones, kitchens, on-site catering facilities and Starbucks, are a real bonus.

“The Business Lodge team are simply incredible.”

The Business Lodge Community

At Business Lodge we pride ourselves on our community spirit. Debi Fellone says:

“There is a fantastic community spirit here at Business Lodge, both amongst the companies based here and the wider business community.

“The communal areas are very well designed and promote lots of social interaction. After 4 years, we know most of the companies on our floor and have made some great friends and even won some business!

“The Business Lodge management team encouraging networking and there is a vibrant Facebook group to keep us all connected and engaged. They also co-host Brunch, bringing together women in business from across the borough.

“The social side of Business Lodge is also very important to us – the annual barbeque is a fantastic opportunity to network with the local business community – and it’s a great party as well.

“Business Lodge are incredibly active in the local business community – they sponsor both the Made in Bury Business Awards and The North West’s Premier Business Fair. In addition, Business Lodge play a key role in local community events including Bury Pride and The Pride of Bury Awards, as well as actively supporting local charities.