Whilst working from home in your slippers seemed like a novelty at first, there are undeniable benefits to office life that we will have a newfound appreciation for now that people are returning to their workspaces. We’ve been thinking about the things we have missed most about the office, and definitely won’t take for granted now normality is resuming. 

Working collaboratively 

It is a lot easier to get quick feedback and have impromptu catch ups with people in the office. Sometimes a quick nod or couple of words is all you need to help with a project you’re working on, whereas working remotely you have to set up a zoom call, or wait for somebody to reply to an email. When the team is all together in an office it is so much easier to feel inspired and motivated, the camaraderie and buzz of office life is near impossible to replicate whilst working from home alone.

Face to face interactions

Whether it is a Monday morning catch up about the weekend’s antics, or a running office joke that turns into an after work drink, the daily interactions we used to take for granted help strengthen working relationships and provide a break from the monotony of the working day. You can’t quite capture that spirit when you’re at home doing your morning pep talks via Zoom, stopping and starting as people speak over each other. Being in the office also provides opportunities to randomly network with people as they come and go, maybe from different companies or industries. The opportunities to learn, network and collaborate in an office environment are endless.

Routine of a structured work day

The days all start to blur into one when the normal increments of a daily routine do not exist. The activity of showering, getting dressed, making breakfast, leaving the house, all help to wake you up and prepare you for the day ahead. At the end of the day, shutting the laptop and leaving the office signals the end of the working day, whereas many people working from home have found themselves working longer hours as the boundaries between work and home life have become blurred. 

Equipment

Not everybody has a printer, dual screen set-up and ergonomic office chair at home. Many people working from makeshift home offices on kitchen tables found themselves with not enough room, unreliable internet connections, and no stationary cupboard to raid when a random envelope or stapler is needed. Not to mention the luxury of a whiteboard to brainstorm ideas and see a visual representation of their ideas.

Commute

Granted, at first this seemed like one of the things we didn’t miss about office life. However, for people who commute to work on foot, this journey provided a half hour to switch off and listen to a podcast whilst getting some steps in. Or, for people that did have to endure some form of public transport, there was still the headspace to immerse yourself in a new audiobook, or people watch and enjoy having nothing to do but  focus on reaching your destination. 

No distractions, more space

For those not lucky enough to have a private home office, many spent their time working from home with new co-workers in the form of pets, family or housemates. I’m sure we have all been on a Zoom call that was interrupted by an inquisitive child, barking dog or crying baby and laughed it off, but it soon becomes tiresome and the sanctity of a private meeting room seemed like a distant luxury of the olden days.

Lunch options

Fancy salads with grains you can’t pronounce, sandwiches on artisan bread, barista coffees and pastries. They all taste better when they’re prepared by a professional and only take 5 minutes to wait for. Whilst we’re on the topic of food, when you’re in the office the chances are that it is somebody’s birthday or some kind of celebration – which means cake! You don’t have to feel guilty about one slice during a celebration. It isn’t quite the same atmosphere if you’re sitting at home eating a full cake for yourself now, is it?

Support

IT problems, empty soap dispensers, full waste paper bins and mail sorting. A small example of issues you didn’t have to worry about in the office, because there was a facilities manager on hand to make your life easier. When you’re working from home you have to take on the added job roles of cafe manager, facilities manager, cleaner and personal assistant – which really makes you appreciate how much more time you have to focus on your actual job when you’re in the office.

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Now that springtime is upon us and summer is near, there’s no better time to make the most out of your lunch break and explore some of London’s amazing lesser-known gardens and public spaces. Exposure to greenery has a significant positive impact on mental and physical well-being, so a small dose of mother nature on your lunch hour might be all it takes to ensure you have a productive, calm afternoon. We have compiled a list of 9 beautiful places that are perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for an hour, all within a ten minute or less walk from one of our incspaces London locations.

 

St Mary Staining – 6 min walk from incspaces Becket House.

St. Mary Staining garden is the site of a former parish church, dating back to the 12th century. Like most of the city at the time, the church was destroyed by the 1666 Great Fire of London, and never rebuilt.

The site is now a City of London Corporation Garden, dominated by a large tree that grows in the middle. The adjacent office block, designed by Norman Foster, features a striking curved wall that was designed specifically not to disturb the growth of the tree.

Postman’s park – 9 min walk from incspaces Becket House.

This patch of public green space was originally the site of a church and its graveyard, then in later years, the site of the General Post Office. The garden was a popular spot for the post office employees during lunch breaks, which earned it its name – “The Postman’s Park”.

The main feature of this park is the memorial that pays homage to ordinary people who died during extraordinary heroic acts, that would have otherwise been forgotten. 

St Mary Aldermanbury garden – 5 min walk from incspaces Becket House 

This garden includes the remains of the St. Mary Aldermanbury church, which was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666, then rebuilt and destroyed again during the blitz of 1940. The remnants of the church are now Grade II listed, and the garden also houses monuments to Henry Condell and John Heminges, who were co-partners with Shakespeare in the opening of his Globe theatre, as they lived in the St. Mary Aldermanbury parish and were buried in its courtyard.

Cleary garden – 9 min from incspaces Monument + 7 min from incspaces Becket House.

Named after Fred Cleary, who was a prominent campaigner for increasing the number of green spaces around London, the Cleary Gardens are the perfect place for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city during their lunch hour. Despite the namesake, the garden was originally created by a shoemaker from the Cordwainers company, Joseph Brandis. After the Blitz of 1940 left the area as a bomb site, he carried mud from the nearest riverbanks to create a communal green area. At one point, there was so much hype around this little London pocket garden that the Queen Mother visited in 1949. 

This garden is also recognised as a site of local importance for nature conservation, providing a home for sparrows, blue tits, green finches, robins, blackbirds, and dunnocks. 

Whittington Gardens – 7 min from incspaces Monument 

This garden is named after Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, who is buried in the nearby churchyard of St Michael Paternoster Royal. He built the church with his own money around 1409, which was later destroyed during the Great Fire of London, like most buildings in the area. Since 1956 the garden has been owned by the Corporation of London, and consists of a large, paved area surrounded by lawn, trees, flower beds and a small fountain that sits in the west part of the space.

Saint Dunstan in the East Church garden – 4 min from incspaces Monument.

The bombed-out ruins of the St Dunstan church provides a beautiful, tranquil break from the crowds of the city. Named after St Dunstan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, the church was – you guessed it – damaged during the Great Fire of London. A new tower was built, which is now the only part that remains as the rest was destroyed during the blitz. The Anglican church then abandoned the site, and now it exists as a Corporation of London garden.  

Brown Hart Gardens– 6 min from incspaces Mandeville 

Back in 1889, a public garden was opened on this site, called Duke Street Gardens. In 1903 the site was taken over by an electricity company who built a substation over the public space.  The residents were so upset at losing their garden that a park was built on top of the station, which is how the Brown Hart Gardens came to be a rooftop public space.

Manchester Square – 2 min walk from incspaces Mandeville

Manchester square is an 18th century garden square in Marylebone. Originally a private garden, the space is now public. Just outside the east entrance a drinking fountain that pays homage to Sir James John Hamilton can be found. The fountain, originally installed in 1887, has recently been restored to provide fresh drinking water in a bid to reduce waste from plastic bottles.

Seething Lane Garden – 6 min walk from incspaces Leadenhall

This small garden nestled between Seething Lane and 10 Trinity Square contains benches, a lawn and pergola. Carved paving slabs littered throughout the garden document the life of Samuel Pepys, who lived on Seething Lane. One in particular, shows the parmesan cheese and wine he supposedly buried in the garden during the Great Fire of London.

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Safeguarding the health and well-being of our staff and members is our main priority. Back in March 2020, whilst people were instructed to work from home wherever possible, we recognised that for some this was not feasible. We took immediate action to implement new health and safety measures in line with government guidance and we have continually monitored and enhanced these throughout the pandemic. If you have yet to return to the office, you can find a round-up of the practical measures we have taken to ensure you can do so with confidence, here:

ENHANCED CLEANING

New cleaning standards, with emphasis on touchpoints, kitchen, and toilet facilities. Frequent disinfecting of co-working areas, and complimentary sanitisation products available throughout all of our spaces.

STAFF

All of our staff have been issued with rapid test kits to ensure a negative result before they come on site. All incspaces staff members are fully compliant with new procedures and what to do in the event of symptoms or a positive case reported on site. Our staff will wear masks in communal areas and practice physical distancing wherever possible.

ENTRANCE PROTOCOLS

Upon entry, visitors are asked to wear a mask or face covering, scan QR code for the NHS Track & Trace system, sanitise their hands, and be temperature checked. 

SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES

Socially distanced furniture layouts in co-working areas have been implemented, with clear signage for blocked-off areas and one-way systems wherever applicable. 

TOURS

Video tours available for new customers to prevent too many people from passing through the space. If you are an existing customer and would like a video tour to be updated on any changes then please contact your centre manager who will be happy to arrange this.

CAPACITY MANAGEMENT

We will be closely monitoring the number of people in the building at all times, and a limited capacity will be available for co-working to prevent areas from being overcrowded. We are asking all customers to keep external visitors to a minimum. 

24 HOUR ACCESS

Whilst our buildings have always had 24-hour access, it may be worth noting that this will be useful to avoid peak times of travel. During the lockdown, our reception hours have been 10 am-3 pm, however, this will be subject to change as restrictions ease. We will be in touch with any amendments to our on-site hours as soon as they are decided.

MAINTENANCE

Deep cleans and maintenance checks carried out before lockdown ends to ensure all facilities are in working order. Mechanical checks on air-con systems and plumbing to ensure clean, filtered air is running throughout the spaces and clean water is available from every tap on site.

We have been working hard to ensure that your transition back to the office is a smooth one, however, our measures will only work with the support and cooperation of all our members. We kindly ask that you comply with all the government guidance to keep the incspaces staff, and other members, safe. Thank you.

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At incspaces. as well as providing serviced offices, co-working, and meeting rooms, we also provide a virtual service for those looking to take advantage of a business address without the overheads of a physical location. Read more about the benefits a virtual office could have for your business, here:

AFFORDABILITY

Regardless of where you are on your business journey, saving money is always beneficial. Opting for a virtual office saves money that would otherwise be spent on office fees. As many start-ups are working to a budget and many avenues funds need to be split over, a virtual office is a great way to offer a professional presence.

BUSINESS SUPPORT

When you do need to meet with clients, you can take advantage of our meeting rooms and receive preferred rates on bookings. Conducting a meeting in a private room with reliable wifi, comfortable surroundings, great coffee and a reception area to greet your guests is far more credible than scouring your local coffee shop for a quiet corner. We also offer a mail forwarding service, so that you will always receive your business post without having to commute to our centres or giving out your home address

PROFESSIONAL IMAGE

Whilst home-based businesses have become more common, a business address projects a more professional image to the world than a residential one. This is why they’re a popular option for freelancers, or budding entrepreneurs working from home. Some cities have sectors associated with different industries – financial or creative for example, which can boost credibility if a company’s address is situated in a sector relevant to their business. 

PRIVACY

Having a business address separate from a residential one will offer the peace of mind that personal details aren’t being shared more than necessary. Even if your home is your official company HQ, you don’t want to be giving that address away to potential customers, suppliers, business partners or colleagues do you? If somebody turns up for an unexpected meeting, instead of catching you unaware at your home, they will turn up to one of our centres and be greeted by our on-site team who can then pass on the message that they are there.

SEO GEOLOCATION & GROWTH

SEO geolocation is a great benefit of having a virtual office as your registered address, as many businesses come up on the “near me” function on search engines. With our central locations in London, Leeds, and Manchester you can take advantage of a city centre business address. Furthermore, taking advantage of this feature to establish a presence in another city is far more cost-effective than investing in premises. If you want to expand your company into a different city than we operate from, a virtual address is a risk-free way to do so. With our expansion plans for the future, we will soon be able to offer even more locations to virtually operate from.

Have any questions? Contact us at [email protected]

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Whilst March 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of national lockdowns, for incspaces, it also marks our first birthday as a company! And despite extraordinary circumstances, we have managed to achieve a lot and have many things to be proud of. Like the rest of the nation, we have had to adapt, and quickly, to a situation that nobody had experienced before. This meant enhancing cleaning schedules, implementing social distancing rules throughout our centres, and working hard to safeguard the health and well-being of our members, and staff.

In October 2020, we launched our first Manchester site, offering 11,500 sq. ft of flexible office space at 101 Princess Street. By offering desk space FREE of charge to businesses that needed the support during the pandemic, we managed to help numerous freelancers and SMEs navigate the difficulties that COVID-19 burdened them with.

With more sites came more work, so we expanded our already brilliant workforce with several new hires, and all our centre managers completed training courses to help them continue to maintain our excellent levels of service. As the pandemic changed how businesses consumed office space, our “Future Workspace” concept was born, and work began on new Leeds sites “One Embankment” and “The Riverside”. The iconic Embankment buildings near Leeds train station are a perfect example of how we plan to implement more flexibility in our spaces and offer benefits that working from home cannot provide. With terraces overlooking the River Aire, sprawling courtyards, multiple business lounges and even an on-site fitness suite, the much-anticipated opening of these new sites will set a new, unrivalled standard for the industry.

With so many new updates to share, we needed a platform to share them on, so we launched our brand-new website, and raised engagement across our social channels to share our hard work with the world. And as our online presence continued to grow, so did our team. During the first lockdown, Ed Coulson joined us as Senior Sales Manager after being made redundant and we’re more than happy we were able to bring him on board. In November 2020, Laura Shields joined us as Sales Director and has accelerated business for incspaces, and in March 2021, Deborah Lines came on board as a new Centre Manager – a new face to the Manchester team. And that’s just 3 out of the many hires we’ve made!

If all of that wasn’t enough, our leadership team then went on to raise over £1000 for Land Aid charity in March 2021, to help end youth homelessness and we couldn’t be prouder of their dedication to such a great cause. 

We’d say that’s a productive year, wouldn’t you? Here’s to the next – fingers crossed, lockdown free – 12 months!

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Press Release

incspaces, a leading space-as-a-service operator with locations across London, Leeds, and Manchester, is urging workers to consider supporting their vital local economies as they begin to return to the office later this year. Under the Government’s roadmap to recovery, office workers are expected to begin a phased return to the workplace from 12th April as an increasing number of businesses are given the green light to reopen. The team behind the growing flex space initiative is keen to use this as an opportunity to support small firms.

In preparation for the widespread return, incspaces has already launched a brand new COVID-secure flex space in Leeds city centre, providing an expanse of outdoor space and strategically laid out workspaces to maximise collaboration while minimising risk. Now, it is hoping to encourage its users to support nearby convenience stores, family-run cafes, local restaurants, and other businesses that have received little Government assistance over the past 12 months.

Charlie Cudworth, incspaces MD said, “It has been hugely important that we’ve had a stay-at-home message throughout the pandemic, but now, as more than 20 million adults have been vaccinated, we need to begin to head back to the office, back to our city centres, and most importantly back to supporting our local independent businesses who have really struggled to stay afloat. We’ve already seen a 400% increase in interest for our modern, post-COVID office spaces, and we believe that this is a fantastic opportunity to rejuvenate our local economies.

“We’re asking our users to consider trying out a local cafe for a bite to eat or grabbing a morning coffee from an independent vendor rather than a big corporation. Our flex spaces are located right in the heart of three of the UK’s most exciting cities, close to incredible small businesses that we’re very proud to support during this difficult time.”

Venturing out for lunch or refreshments – even just once or twice a week – isn’t just about supporting local economies – it’s about supporting mental health, too. The neuroscience of human social behaviour has been a hot topic during the pandemic, with fears that social distancing and isolation could spark a mental health crisis. Historically, humans adapted to depend on cooperation to enhance the rate of survival, and while the population no longer faces the same risks, the inherent desire for physical interaction is something that hasn’t lessened over time.

While returning to the workplace may offer essential interaction, it is vital that workers feel confident in returning to their day-to-day lives following months of Government-mandated isolation. Visiting a local cafe, restaurant, or convenience store can help, as well as helping to support local businesses when they need it most.

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On 11th March 2021, the incspaces team will be supporting LandAid by participating in the SleepOut (At Home) fundraising event to raise both awareness and money to prevent young people from having to do the same every single night.

Who is LandAid?

LandAid is a charity that works to end youth homelessness in the UK. They pull companies from the property industry together to provide life-changing services to young people who are, have been, or are at risk of being homeless. Each year, they give around £2m to charities across the country to create safe, affordable, and secure housing for young homeless people. They do not, however, write a cheque and walk away. Instead, LandAid works closely with the projects for years to come, providing advice, property expertise, and in many cases financing them several times.

What does it mean to be homeless?

Yes, sleeping rough is a prime example and the most extreme example of being homeless. However, whilst sleeping on the streets is the most obvious thought that springs to mind when the word ‘homelessness’ is mentioned, the issue is far more complex than that.

A roof over the head is not enough. If somebody is living in an unsafe environment, can’t afford the roof over their head, or finds themselves in a cycle of sofa surfing and frequent moving, they can be considered homeless.

The worsening housing crisis in the UK means many young people are without a fixed address, not knowing what the future holds for them or where they will sleep each night. This causes problems when looking for employment, staying in education, receiving healthcare, even staying clean and fed becomes difficult. Family breakdowns, mental health issues, low income, and substance abuse are all contributing factors to the number of young homeless people.

So yes, whilst LandAid is on a mission to get young people off the streets, they also want to make sure that the homes provided are safe, secure, and happy places for young people to reach their full potential.

SleepOut Event

Last year, LandAid’s SleepOut night raised over £310,000, which was distributed between homeless charities across the UK. Over 525 people came together across three different cities and braved a night in the freezing cold. This does not by any means replicate the harsh reality of people sleeping rough every night, but raised valuable funds which have had a life-changing impact on many young people.

This year, due to social distancing rules, the SleepOut event has gone virtual. LandAid is simply asking that people make themselves as uncomfortable as possible in their own homes, or gardens, for one night. The more creative the better! Whether it’s a tent in the back garden, with the spiders in the shed, or squeezed in the bathtub, they’re simply asking people to forego comfort for one night and help to make a real difference in the world.

What it means to us at incspaces

As a workspace provider with a leadership team equipped with well over 50 years of experience in the property industry, at incspaces we are proud to support such an important cause. Youth homelessness is an issue we have encountered first-hand, with our very own success story coming from our Midtown site. After encountering somebody sleeping on our doorstep, our Centre Manager Tammi managed to put them in touch with a local charity who are now helping this person get back on their feet. To know that the work LandAid does will help hundreds, if not thousands more people have a place to call home makes sleeping uncomfortably for one night seem like a very minor price to pay for an incredibly worthwhile reward.

If you wish and are able to, please feel free to donate to our JustGiving page here. Even sharing the message across socials will help us raise awareness; every bit of support could help turn a vulnerable young person’s life around.

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