The home of office news and serviced office listings Guide To Working From Home

Posted on by Peter Watts

The guide to working from home and staying sane.

Some people love working from home (WFH), but for those who need the discipline and daily contact of office life, it’s a real challenge. But it doesn’t need to be difficult. Working at home can be stress-free and even enjoyable if you keep in mind a few simple rules. Don’t think of these as rigid instructions as much as guidelines that have worked for Peter Watts, a freelance writer who has worked from home for more than a decade. We also spoke to Leapers, an organisation that supports the self-employed and homeworkers.

Following some simple rules can make working from home stress-free. Credit: Shutterstock.

Establish a routine

Your commute might be reduced from 45 minutes to 45 seconds, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon the routine that separates home from work. That means getting up, washing and getting dressed before starting work. It’s a good idea to take some morning exercise to put you in the right frame of mind, even if it’s just a walk round the block. Feel free to answer a few emails in bed as soon as you wake up, but give yourself some breathing space before you dive into the heavy stuff. It’s just as important to watch the clock at the other end of the day. Working long into the evening is easily done but it can be surprisingly unproductive, and it’s not great for your mental and physical health or your relationship with your family. “That’s where you decide ‘right, I’m starting work now’ and ‘Okay, I’m done for the day’, and step away from your work, or else it bleeds into your evenings and weekends,” says Matthew Knight of Leapers.

Create an office environment

You might like the idea of turning your bed into a soft and cosy work pit, but it’s terrible for your back and can disrupt sleep patterns. Instead, try and set yourself up at a desk or table, recreating the resemblance of an office space as closely as possible. It might be boring but this physical space will reinforce your sense of routine, providing a boundary between work and home time, which can otherwise all too easily overlap. That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible – if you want to read a report while sitting in the bath or make some calls from the garden, go right ahead.

Give yourself some downtime

One of the great pleasures of home working is you can behave as a grown-up. That means treating yourself to the occasional 20 minutes off to do some cooking, gardening or other chores. You can even have a lie down if you really need one. If you feel guilty, remember that you no longer have a daily commute built into your day so are allowed to take the time you once spent travelling and invest it in something more useful or enjoyable. Just try and avoid anything addictive like watching TV or playing video games. “Give yourself some downtime – absolutely, take breaks, get good sleep, do your daily exercises, and give yourself permission to slack off,” says Knight. “We are constantly distracted in the office, so at home is no different but you might need to put some structure around when and where you work.”

Invest in equipment

Basically, you get what you pay for. Make life easier for yourself by investing in decent essentials – reliable broadband, a sturdy laptop, a user-friendly printer. A nice office chair can be necessary if you are working long hours, and you can also get adjustable stands for the laptop, which are very useful. Think about the items you take for granted in the office such as stationery and printer cartridges, and make sure you have plenty close to hand.

Stay connected

One of the hardest aspects of working from home is the lack of contact with colleagues. Spending time with people who understand and care about your job is good for you and it’s good for your work. Without their support, you can easily feel lonely or struggle with a problem that would benefit from somebody else’s input. This can’t always be resolved by email, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk. “Make sure you’re communicating with your network,” says Knight. “It’s really easy to feel isolated, so make sure you’re sharing, but also asking others and listening for their answer. Being at home on your own, having to figure out working remotely, can be quite an emotional load so when you don’t see people every day it’s even more important to schedule time to check in, see how folk are doing, and keep communicating.”

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CEG refurbishes Warrington office buildings

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NEWLY-refurbished headquarter office space has been unveiled at Birchwood Park in Warrington by the Commercial Estates Group (CEG).

CEG’s multi-million revamp of the office complex, which consists of three self contained properties, was undertaken by Ultimate Office Solutions.

The trio of units, one of which is already let, was formerly known as The Beacons and has now been rebranded as Concentric.

The refurbished office space includes new energy efficient studio-controlled air conditioning, LED lighting, high-quality showers, secure bike parking, toilet, lifts, kitchenettes and disabled facilities.

Robert Morton, investment manager at CEG, said: “Our focus at CEG is on our customers. By delivering the highest quality headquarter space, with the flexibility to also provide smaller offices, in such a great business location we expect a high level of interest.

“A contemporary working environment, with a fabulous reception, well-designed facilities, optimum temperature control and plenty of light are proven to increase productivity, as well as helping to attract and retain staff. An environment like this, in which businesses can flourish, is exactly what our customers demand.”

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Citibase opens second Aberdeen business centre

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FLEXIBLE serviced office provider Citibase has launched its second Aberdeen business centre.

The new facility in the Granite City is on the second floor of H1, Hill of Rubislaw, a recently-refurbished building in the Western Office Corridor, just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre.

With over 17,500 sq ft of office space, the new Aberdeen business centre – Citibase’s fifth in Scotland – also has an open plan reception, business hub facilities and an on-site café.

Steve Jude, CEO, Citibase commented: “Our most recent Citibase Business Confidence Index revealed that 71% of Scottish SMEs prefer office contract lengths of less than three years, which is clear evidence that the flexible office revolution is gaining serious momentum in Scotland.

“Citibase is committed to providing Scottish SMEs  with one of the best flexible office hubs in the city as demand continues to soar as businesses both large and small increasingly turn to our low-risk, short-term contracts.”

Find out more about the new serviced office business centre at H1, Hill of Rubislaw.

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Citibase opens new business centre in Uxbridge

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FLEXIBLE office provider Citibase has opened a brand new business centre in Uxbridge, West London.

The new business centre provides over 28,000 sq ft of affordable serviced office space arranged over two floors of The Atrium – an eye-catching office building in Harefield Road in the heart of the town centre.

Facilities at Citibase Uxbridge include break out spaces, an on site cafe, 24 hour access and a friendly Concierge team.

Steve Jude, CEO of Citibase, commented:

“Citibase Uxbridge will provide much needed affordable office space that allows local businesses to thrive, with the flexibility to easily change the size of their space as they grow without the pain of typical long lease commitments.

“The opening of Citibase Uxbridge is reflective of a booming sector, where we are seeing particularly strong growth outside of central London.”

The business centre is the latest addition to Citibase’s portfolio of over forty locations around the United Kingdom.

Find out more about office space at The Atrium at 1 Harefield Road in Uxbridge.

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Firefighters tackle skyscraper blaze at Canary Wharf

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LONDON Fire Brigade were called out to a blaze on top of an office skyscraper in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Around twenty calls were made to the emergency services are smoke was seen billowing from the roof of One Churchill Place at Canary Wharf.

Eight fire engines from stations in east and south east London were called to the fire at the building which is the global headquarters of Barclays Bank.

Station Manager Lee Sandy, who was at the scene, said: “While the fire was very visible, it was contained to the air conditioning unit on the roof of a commercial tower block. There were no people involved and the fire did not spread beyond the roof area.”

Sixty firefighters helped put out the fire which was under control shortly before 2am – less than ninety minutes after it was first reported.

Social media users shared video and photos of the fire

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26 storey office building approved in Southwark

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A BRAND new 26 storey office building in Southwark, London, has been given the green light, reports local community website SE1.

The site of the dual phase scheme designed by architects HPF on behalf of developer Overcourt Ltd is Paris Gardens and Hatfields just off Blackfriars Road.

Over 56,000 square metres of new and refurbished office floor space will be delivered by the project will provide space for 3,000 workers.

Non listed office buildings at the half-hectare 1-5 Paris Gardens / 16-19 Hatfields location will be demolished to make way for a part-23, part-26 storey skyscraper.

Grade II listed former print works at the site will be refurbished as part of the scheme which will also see the development of a new public square at ground level.

The new tower is just one of a cluster of tall buildings built or in development close to Blackfriars Road. Councillors on the Southwark Council’s Planning Committee approved the plan at a meeting shortly before Christmas.

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Northamptonshire Council given green light to spend office sale receipts

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CASH-strapped Northamptonshire County Council has been given permission by the government to spend the proceeds from the sale of its new office building.

The green light to use capital receipts for day to day spending, believed to be without precedent, was given yesterday by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, James Brokenshire, in response to recommendations from Commissioners sent in to stabilise the council.

Northamptonshire Council, which announced it had a £70 million shortfall, opened the brand new head office building at 1 Angel Square in Northampton in October last year.

Just four months later the stricken authority announced the £60 million sale and lease-back of the BDP-designed property.  It will now be able to use the income from that sale to help plug the gap in its spending.

The 22,000 sq metre development boasts a four storey atrium reception as well as a central courtyard with office space, informal meeting areas and touchdown areas grouped around it.

Cllr Matt Golby, leader of Northamptonshire Council, said: “I am delighted the commissioners have been successful in their request for a capital dispensation. This will enable us to use our own resources to tackle the £35m deficit from 2017-18 and replenish our reserves to put us on a sustainable financial position.”

Earlier this year, Northamptonshire County Council voted to scrap itself and two new unitary authorities will replace it from 2020.


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First Belfast managed workspace deal for BESpoke

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MANAGED workspace provider BESpoke has leased 20,000 sq ft of space in Belfast city centre.

BESpoke acquired the space inside the mixed-use Adelaide Exchange development in Belfast’s Adelaide Street for one of the big four international professional services firms.

On completion of a customised 14-week refurbishment programme the client will take a three-year licence.

It’s the eighth deal for the division of BE Offices since it launched in November last year.

Jonathan Weinbrenn, BESpoke’s managing director, said: “Our client was looking for a customised branded solution to solve its short-term needs for additional office space. We are able to take traditional office accommodation and transform it into space that reflects a client’s image, culture and brand.

“In the case of Belfast, we will take the refurbishment to CAT A standard and provide the client with a totally customised and designed space. All the client has to do is to move into the new offices on completion as BESpoke has done all the heavy lifting. We take the pain and strain out of acquiring short-term flexible additional accommodation.”

A new co-working business centre will also be created as part of the fit out and operated by BE’s Headspace division.

BESpoke was advised on the Belfast acquisition by Savills Ireland while Colliers acted for Straben Developments.

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New Bloomberg HQ wins the Sterling Prize

Posted on by Rob Powell

BLOOMBERG’S new head office building in the City of London has been awarded the RIBA Sterling Prize.

The prestigious architecture award for the Foster+Partners-designed building comes as the property nears the first anniversary of its official opening.

Credited for being the world’s most sustainable office building, Bloomberg’s new European HQ property is also thought to be the largest stone building in the Square Mile since St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Queen Victoria Street site is made up of two large triangular buildings separated at ground level by the Bloomberg Arcade which is home to restaurants and bars. In total, the development created 102,200 square metres of office and retail space.

Royal Institute of British Architects judges described the Bloomberg headquarters as “a once-in-a-generation project which has pushed the boundaries of research and innovation in architecture.”

Responding to the award on Twitter, Mike Bloomberg commented: “Bloomberg’s European HQ was designed to push the boundaries of what an office building could be – setting new standards for openness & sustainability. It’s an honor to receive the RIBA Stirling Prize & we’re grateful to all – especially Foster+Partners.”

The award was the unanimous verdict of the RIBA judges – the other five shortlisted buildings were: Bushey Cemetery; Chadwick Hall; New Tate, St Ives; Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery; and the Sultin Nazrin Shah Centre.

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Liverpool’s Echo Building sold to Dubai company

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THE iconic former offices of the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post newspapers have been sold to an overseas investor.

Paradigm Property Consultants, the Development Managers of Reach PLC, acting jointly with Savills, have sold the forward funding and mixed-use redevelopment of the landmark Post & Echo Building in Liverpool city centre to Dubai-based investor, Select Group.

The redevelopment, which is due for completion in January 2020, will create a vibrant new mixed use destination totalling approximately 300,000 sq ft (27,871 sq m) in the heart of Liverpool’s commercial district with two floors of Grade A office space.

Once complete, the Echo Building in Old Hall Street will also have a new four star 207-room hotel, a restaurant, conference facilities, gym and rooftop Skybar, along with new retail and leisure space.

Richard Dawes, director in the hotels team at Savills, comments: “The sale of the Echo Building to Select Group reinforces the appeal of gateway UK cities like Liverpool to overseas capital and demonstrates the strong appetite for mixed use developments supported by fixed income hotel investments.”

Rahail Aslam, Group CEO of Select Group, adds: “Having deployed substantial capital in the city previously, we know Liverpool well and firmly believe it will deliver superior long term rates of economic growth and increase in its attractiveness to other institutional investors. We are thrilled to contribute with the redevelopment of the Echo Building, a landmark project that will be a fantastic showcase for the Innside brand and extremely well suited to corporate occupiers.”

Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP and Withers LLP acted for Reach PLC and Select Group respectively.

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