The Highs and Lows of 2010
A look back over 2010
January kicked off a round of research to reveal the performance of the serviced office industry throughout 2009. officebroker.comΓÇÖs statistics show that – despite the recession – the number of businesses renting serviced space in 2009 rose by 16% compared to 2008. However, the overall size of space taken during 2009 dropped by 21%.
JanuaryΓÇÖs research also suggested an increase in large corporate firms using the officebroker.com service to find serviced office space. “Many of our larger clients require project space, and the recession put a lot of projects on hold,” commented officebroker.com MD Jim Venables, “but now that business confidence is being restored we are seeing a rise in the number of enquiries coming in from corporate clients.”
In February, officebroker.com released its ΓÇÿServiced Office Review: UK 2009ΓÇÖ report. The detailed review covers all UK regions and their performance in the industry throughout 2009, and is supported by regional publications that were released later in the month.
officebroker.com reached a feedback milestone of 100 reviews
Also in February, officebroker.com announced the first major milestone for its client review facility. Having launched the online feedback tool at the end of 2009, Monday 22nd February saw the 100th review submitted through the system, which was written by a client who toured an office in Wimbledon.
An increase in demand and enquiries led to expansion for officebroker.com, which resulted in a global recruitment drive at both the companyΓÇÖs UK headquarters in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and their US office in Dallas, Texas.
“We offer a solid company structure – which is particularly evident given the state of the economy,” commented Head of UK Sales, Chris Meredith. “Rather than standing still and dwindling during the recession, we have actually grown and we continued to offer excellent commissions throughout – even in the middle of the downturn.”
March saw officebroker.com add the Business Centre Association’s (bca) Code of Conduct shield to its website for all properties registered with the bca. “Adding the Code of Conduct Shield to our website is a stamp of approval for the agreement reached between the brokering community, serviced office providers and the bca,” commented officebroker.com MD Jim Venables, “a result which will hopefully strengthen the industry and help to raise the standards of all involved for the benefits of our customers.”
The newly formed OBFC (officebroker.com Football Club)
Finally, March also saw the creation of the brand new OBFC – officebroker.com Football Club – which consisted of a mixed rabble of consultants, marketing team-members, and officebroker.com MD Jim Venables. On a cold drizzly night in March, the highlight of the teamΓÇÖs first run-out at Powerleague Yardley was their opening 6-2 victory – closely seconded by their bright orange kit!
In April, officebroker.com launched its Business Centre of the Month award. Designed to celebrate serviced office business centres in the UK that have delivered an outstanding contribution to the industry, the inaugural winner of the award was Orega’s Chertsey Business Centre – a modern property and professional centre that achieved abundant praise from tenants and officebroker.com staff alike.
“Those that provide excellence from the top down – this is what our Business Centre of the Month award is all about,” commented Jim Venables, officebroker.com MD and award judge.
April marked the anniversary of officebroker.comΓÇÖs very first serviced office enquiry – received 8 years ago, on 15th April 2002 – that came from a start-up recruitment company seeking office space in Thames Valley. Co-founder and MD Jim recounts the early days of officebroker.com, remembering the cash-flow problems and paper filing systems, which came well before the company employed its own IT department.
Research shows marked differences in pricing between the North and South
The bca Conference brought delegates of the serviced office industry together at the Hilton Hotel in LondonΓÇÖs Docklands on Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th May 2010. The event included a series of talks from the likes of BJ Cunningham and Justin Urquhart Stewart, and plenty of opportunities for guests to interact.
Research using officebroker.com’s serviced office statistics show a marked difference between North and South locations. Based on the average cost of an individual workstation, the research shows that the cost per person of serviced office space outside of Central London falls as the distance increases from the capital. Once reaching Scotland however, the costs increase again and generate the second most expensive location outside of London.
MayΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month winner was Portal Business Centre. Located on the outskirts of Warrington and operated by Director Sallie Maskrey, an active bca member, the centre effortlessly ticked all the right boxes and impressed Jim Venables with its “stimulating and professional business environment, that is highly appreciated by its clients.”
officebroker.com Football Club (OBFC) took part in two more games during May. As part of Yardley PowerleagueΓÇÖs 5-aside World Cup Tournament, OBFC (representing Cameroon) beat ΓÇÿEnglandΓÇÖ 8-6 in their opening game, but went on to lose against ΓÇÿHondurasΓÇÖ later in the month.
Regus CEO Mark Dixon paid a visit to officebroker.com HQ
Regus CEO Mark Dixon paid a visit to officebroker.comΓÇÖs HQ in Tamworth in June, his first visit to a brokerage firm for over 20 years. During his visit, Mark spoke of numerous developments currently underway at Regus, which included phasing out branding at their centres, rolling out a multi-million pound refurbishment programme, and becoming affiliated with the Carbon Trust accreditation scheme.
JuneΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month winner was the Stevenage-based btc (Business & Technology Centre). Managed by Wenta, the centre puts service first, and their high number of glowing reviews show that they have their clientsΓÇÖ best interests at heart.
Then it was football, football and more football. The official World Cup kicked off in South Africa and Jim Venables took to BBC Radio WM to explain his reasoning for letting the officebroker.com staff-force leave early on Wednesday 23rd June, to catch EnglandΓÇÖs crucial clash against Slovenia.
Jim also took to the pitch at the end of the month against a German team, who had made the trip over to England as part of a friendly exchange that has lasted 11 years. Set up in 1999 by Jim and a group of English and German friends, this yearΓÇÖs match saw the German visitors take control and beat the English 2-0.
officebroker.com launched its ICON scheme
In July, officebroker.com launched ICON – a scheme designed to raise the bar on performance and service delivery by consultants at officebroker.com. Three consultants in particular came within a hairΓÇÖs breadth of becoming officebroker.comΓÇÖs very first ICONs – Rachel Lapins, Kirsty Lees and Becci-Jane Strawford – and are clearly showing the guys how itΓÇÖs done.
“Becoming an ICON means delivering a great service, which means our clients get the service they need and our consultants get the recognition they deserve,” said officebroker.com MD Jim Venables.
JulyΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month award went to the impressive City of London-based centre, 3 Lloyds Avenue. Managed by Esselco, the property impressed Jim Venables with its professionalism. ΓÇ£This is a first-rate centre that provides a superb environment for business, with top-class staff and an excellent support network,” said Jim.
In team news, Training & Development Manager Fiona Spruce gave birth to baby girl Grace on Tuesday 6th July. Little Grace later took part in officebroker.comΓÇÖs ΓÇÿBusiness & BabiesΓÇÖ trial, which occurred in November.
Account manager Tom Stiles took to the stage on Friday 16th July to open NMEΓÇÖs Lovebox Festival alongside the rest of the Matt Henshaw band, and shared the same stage as Ellie Goulding, The Maccabees, Noisettes, Chase and Status, and Dizzee Rascall.
Jade Edwards – officebroker.com’s rising star
In August, account manager Jade Edwards was singled out for her excellent performance over the year, and has impressed officebroker.com’s UK Head of Sales, Chris Meredith. “Since day one, Jade has approached the role with a can-do attitude and has really laid the foundations of a star in the making at officebroker.com,” said Chris. “I am sure that Jade will continue on this successful path due to her ability to build relationships and constant high performance.”
AugustΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month award winner was Stirling-based Touch Business Centre. Located in 3750 acres of parkland, forestry and farmland, Touch is a unique centre with many happy tenants. Office Manager Margaret Plews commented: “We hope our high levels of occupancy and low turnover over the last 10 years indicate that we are getting this right for our clients but it is hugely rewarding for everyone to see it recognised elsewhere as well.”
As part of a company-wide internal communications project, the corridors on the first and second floors at officebroker.com HQ are now adorned with bright orange paint and “welcome to officebroker.com” lettering. The signage corridor completes the first phase of a planned transformation to implement the officebroker.com branding throughout the interior of the head office, located at a former cotton mill in the town of Fazeley, close to Tamworth, Staffordshire.
SeptemberΓÇÖ Business Centre of the Month winner was The Office Group’s Farringdon Too – a modern, sustainable property located in the City of London. Jim Venables commented on how the building has been transformed into a, ΓÇ£efficient, creative spaceΓÇ¥, and was highly complimentary of the team: “They have an excellent support network in place and the team look after their clients extremely well.”
Jim Venables treated the team to an afternoon of go-karting
officebroker.com announced that by the middle of September, the company had sold over 10,000 serviced office workstations, with the largest requirement to date being for 100 people in Guildford.
“We’ve done some really chunky deals this year, and the fact that we have reached the 10,000 mark already is down to the attitude of our team – it’s a fantastic achievement,” commented Chris Meredith, Head of UK Sales at officebroker.com.
September also saw a fun day out for officebroker.com, as Jim treated the team to an afternoon of go-karting at TamworthΓÇÖs Priory Park racing circuit. Naturally, the day quickly became heated and highly competitive as teams battled it out to secure the fastest time, but plaudits go to unlikely duo Chris Mapp (Sales Manager) and Neil Cadman (IT Manager), who accumulated the fastest laps and took home the spoils at the end of the day.
October was all about Central London consultant Kirsty Lees. Kirsty became the first consultant to reach officebroker.com’s challenging ICON status – setting the standard for a new level of performance within the team.
officebroker.com carried out a childcare experiment to see if business and babies is a good mix
“Kirsty IS the barometer for success,ΓÇ¥ said Jim Venables. ΓÇ£I would have bet a serious amount of money on Kirsty being the first officebroker.com consultant to achieve the ICON status. If anyone is interested in how to get results, look no further.”
OctoberΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month award went to Leeds-based Leigh House, a period property offering a stimulating business environment for clients. ΓÇ£Leigh House offers a first-rate offering to clients, and it’s clear that Sonia and the team work extremely hard to create a professional environment for businesses to thrive and grow,ΓÇ¥ commented Jim Venables.
officebroker.com kicked off the month of November with a childcare experiment, designed to see if business and babies is a productive mix. In the midst of a baby boom, officebroker.com is losing key people to maternity leave, and the experiment expanded on the idea of whether it is better to have staff in the office – children in tow – rather than not at all.
The Business Centre of the Month award winner in November was Stansted-based Thremhall Park. Built on the site of a 15th century priory, officebroker.com has worked with the centre for several years. Account manager Marcus Shelton was highly complimentary of the centre and the team, commenting that they are “fantastic”.
A small fire and lots of smoke on Tuesday 16th November saw a large chunk of the officebroker.com team based in Tamworth with no desk or computer. This prompted a workplace experiment by marketing team-members Simon Jones and Jo Disney, who went onto try out various working locations, to see which is the most productive.
DecemberΓÇÖs Business Centre of the Month winner is yet to be announced – so check back to our News pages next week to find out who won the final award of 2010!