The Four Most Up and Coming Areas in London

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Pick up a newspaper or look on the internet and you will pick up on plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the economy, both in the UK and further afield. This is particularly the case since the historic Brexit vote; for the past 12 months, we have been reliably informed that investment will plummet and major companies will be leaving the UK as a deserted wasteland.

Well, it seems that nobody in London received that memo. Wherever you look, you see construction – cranes dominate the skyline and many of the traditionally run down areas are being transformed into vibrant and desirable neighbourhoods. In other words, the city is receiving as much investment as ever – perhaps more so.

Here, we have selected four of the most up and coming districts in London for work, rest and play.

Shoreditch

Unless you have spent the past five years living on the moon, you will be well aware that Shoreditch is one of the coolest places to set up home in the city. What you might not realise is that a beard and sandals are not prerequisites to fitting in. Sure, it is the birthplace of the hipster phenomenon, but there is far, far more to this vibrant neighbourhood.

There are plenty of trendy clubs, pop up bars and coffee shops frequented by art types if that’s your thing, but the beauty of the area is that there really is something to cater to every taste, from traditional back street pubs for a well-earned pint of ale and a game of darts, to exclusive fine dining establishments.

Finsbury Park

20 years ago, Finsbury Park was a place to avoid, with a strong reputation for unemployment and poverty. Yet over the past decade or so, it has transformed into one of the most desirable districts in North London. Property is predominantly of the traditional Victorian terraced style, but the local landscape is interspersed with new developments, too.

Growing popularity has led to a burgeoning club scene, and there is no shortage of nightlife on offer. The park itself holds events that attract some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Bob Dylan and Van Morrison in the past twelve months alone.

London Bridge

This is another area that has changed beyond recognition over recent years. Its most famous recent addition is The Shard, but for those who live there, the regeneration around Borough Market is the move that has made all the difference.

The trend here is towards beautifully renovated loft style apartments, with views overlooking the Thames, and they are being snapped up quicker than you can look at them.

There is no shortage of high end restaurants, and if you’re looking for a little culture, the Tate Modern is a short walk away, too.

Camden

Camden is deservedly known as one of the most fashionable districts in London. Famed for its cultural diversity, unforgettable street food and fantastic live music venues, the only thing that used to go against it was a reputation for being a little rough around the edges.

Not anymore. The jewel in North London’s crown is another area that has attracted the investors and now adds cutting-edge living spaces to the mix, providing residents with their your own luxurious oasis of calm just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Camden’s famous market.

London_Skyline

London’s Changing Landscape

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You don’t need a degree in architecture to notice how London’s physical landscape has changed over the past decade or so. Striking, modern designs such as The Shard and The Walkie Talkie have juxtaposed with The Lloyd’s Building, The Gherkin and the traditional landmarks of Tower Bridge, St Paul’s and The Houses of Parliament to create a skyline that is as instantly recognisable as any other major cityscape in the world.

Yet it is not just the physical landscape that has evolved. When the country voted to leave the EU in last year’s referendum, there were fears that the UK’s fragile recovery from the global recession would be set back and that those companies who had invested in London would vote with their feet. The Guardian newspaper ran an article on this very subject the day after the referendum.

However, business is booming, investment is flowing and there has never been a better time to live and work in London.

Silicon Roundabout

The daring glass constructions that we mentioned earlier are well and good, but these are only the more flamboyant aspects of the capital’s growth and development. Old Street is a perfect example of the less showy but equally important investment that has been placed in a number of formerly run down areas, thanks to the arrival of numerous tech firms, ranging from global names to the smallest startups.

In the 20th century, Hoxton was just another area on the outskirts of the city, home to small traders, high rise accommodation, poverty and crime. Today, you would find that difficult to believe. Yet the transformation has been a rapid one, and was prompted by the government’s East London Tech initiative of 2010.

A year later, there were 500 tech firms based around the Old Street Roundabout, and by 2012, this number had grown to an astonishing 5,000. Silicon Roundabout, as it is affectionately known, is not only a great place to work, though – it has also ensured that this part of London is now one of the most desirable places to live in the whole of the capital.

It’s not just the Hipsters

The development that has taken place in Hoxton, Shoreditch and Haggerston in terms of residential properties is as remarkable as the commercial development. The beauty of it is that all the ingredients were there for the taking – the tranquillity of the Regent’s Canal, the existing nightlife of nearby Islington and Bethnal Green, and a whole host of former industrial properties that were ripe for redevelopment.

As the new tech businesses ploughed their investment dollars into Silicon Roundabout, so the property developers moved in and created some truly breathtaking living spaces in locations that were once only home to derelict warehouses, office buildings and even some old schools.

For sure, we all know that Shoreditch is synonymous with beards, bicycles and pop up shops, but to say it is all about the hipsters is to miss the point. The Silicon Roundabout phenomenon is just one example of how technological investment has reinvigorated an area of London and made it a fantastic place to live and work for people in all stages of life, from young professionals seeking diversity to mature families seeking stability.

Silicon Roundabout

How Tech Companies are Changing the London Rental Market

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According to many commentators, technological developments over the past 20 years have launched us into the throes of the fourth industrial revolution. The implications for the way we go about our daily lives, from chatting with friends to ordering a pizza to getting the day to day work done in the office, go without saying. But the consequences of the technological revolution run even deeper.

The industrial revolution of the late 18th and early 19th century brought enormous changes to housing, introducing the concept of mass urbanisation as people moved from the countryside into London and other industrial areas. It might sound strange, but this latest revolution is having a similarly significant impact on the capital’s housing.

Shoreditch, Hoxton and Silicon Roundabout

One of the most famous examples centres around the formerly run down industrial districts to the north of the city. When the Old Street Roundabout area WAS redeveloped as part of the government’s East London Tech Initiative, it prompted an influx of startup firms.

This in turn led developers to ramp up investment in the burgeoning Shoreditch area, promoting it from a well-kept secret among artists and hipsters to the thriving and vibrant community that we see today.

The phenomenon has now spread to nearby Hoxton and out towards the formerly impoverished neighbourhoods of Dalston and Hackney. Throughout the area, former industrial buildings are being converted into desirable living spaces for the young professionals whom the tech firms attract.

Kings Cross, Camden and the Google Landscraper

Shift your attention a couple of miles west, and you arrive at North London’s most famous district – Camden. With its world famous market and vibrant night life, it seems like the perfect place for young professionals to let their hair down on a Friday night, but you might suppose that they would think twice about living there.

However, all that is set to change with the arrival of Google’s new London headquarters. Construction will start next year, and already, the rental landscape is starting to change. Google is not the first tech company to set up shop in the area – Facebook is based just up the road close to Kings Cross station, and the nearby districts of Kentish Town and Tufnell Park are becoming increasingly popular with those seeking attractive rental property.

Islington and “Supper Street”

Nestled between these two rental hotspots lies London’s most famous village. Islington is the ideal spot for a night out – its main thoroughfare, Upper Street, has acquired the nickname “Supper Street” with good reason, and the range of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants has to be seen to be believed.

For many, Islington is the perfect place to live, and many of the traditional Georgian town houses have been transformed into high end apartments. And tucked away in the space between Essex Road and Upper Street, former retail and business units are quietly mutating into exclusive residential properties, topped off by spacious penthouses.

The impact of the fourth industrial revolution on London’s housing might not be as dramatically obvious as that of previous years, but most agree that the effect is a far more positive one, bringing new life and sustainable prosperity to North London.

Flexible Working Arrangements

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This piece by Jason Waite, CLR’s Founder and CEO was included in the International HR Adviser newsletter which went out in March 2016

It’s in the Air… No, not Tonight. Nothing to do with Phil Collins at all actually; showing my age here!

Richard is talking about it, so it’s getting some serious exposure as he flies the flag for Virgin. Leading…

It’s the buzz of the corporate cafeteria, CEO’s, SME’s, HR, employees etc.

Working hours are out! Gone, over, done. It’s a new era…

It really is a terrific idea, but is that all it is?

Undoubtedly sentiment is shifting towards employers providing better working environments for their employees, better experiences, endeavouring to demonstrate recognition and encouraging them to stay as valued individuals.

Empowering employees to own responsibility for their time and workload sounds great, but if their workload doesn’t permit them to embrace this is, it just a bit of a charade?

I recently read how an employee was referred to HR and reprimanded because she was just 2 minutes late; over the permitted 5 minutes, but the same employee is invariably found at her desk far beyond her contracted hours, and HR are seldom there to congratulate her.

Point is, that there’s definitely a case for flexible hours but is it achievable with today’s workload?

Are we ahead of the game in Mobility? Flexible working hours are widespread in the industry, and of course as we assist the tech-world we witness the new practices and flexibility embraced to attract and retain those ‘key’ staff, the ‘Talent’.

Together with Mr Branson, the Tech-world is certainly leading the way in this regard, but possibly this industry is more suited to such a flexible working arrangement?

How does Facebook do it? Reportedly Facebookers are the happiest of corporate employees on the block!

Mobility is a People Business – Do You Care?

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The following article was written by CLR’s Founder & CEO, Jason Waite, and appeared in the 2015/2016 Winter edition of International HR Adviser.

Show-Me-The-Money!

It may not have been your cup of tea (I’m  British…), and it’s now synonymous with the very amusing one-liner “Show-me-the-money!”, but I liked Jerry Maguire and still do. Why? Because of its core message. We can change things, let’s make it better, it’s not just about business. So let’s put a little heart back into it…

For corporate giants and SMEs worldwide, it’s all business. However, the one thing that every successful company relies on, is built upon, is their people and those people are usually very difficult to find and hire. Once you’ve got them, you definitely want to make sure you hold onto them. Good people, your people, are not only the foundation on which a company is built, but also what will help it evolve, develop and grow; without them, you’re going nowhere. And let’s face it, they’re often tough to hang on to, and that’s why caring is so essential when it comes to moving them around the world.

Caring, in my opinion, is a word that is well and truly under-utilised in the world of mobility, relocation and frankly many other  industries;  people  are  seemingly scared to use it. But it’s at the very essence of what good service should be based upon, and caring makes all the difference when it comes to delivery. Your team, your employees, your “family”, whatever your corporate culture may be, it is your people that make it happen. And guess what? We’re in a people business!

In fact, we’re in the people business; people services, human resources, mobility management, etc. Call it what you will, but ultimately we’re not just moving boxes! Our business is all about people and the corporate world is very much aligned with us. Think about it. Over the last 5 years or so the dynamic has noticeably shifted quite seriously towards people in the business world, more so than ever before. We’re in an age where some of the most successful companies of today, including Uber, Facebook, AirBnB and Alibaba have little else other than their people. And it’s trending! Yes, they have technology, of course, but guess  what? That’s developed, built and managed by people, too.

Another trending development is the growth in mobility, because by all accounts it’s set to soar, not least within the technology sector of course, but generally across industry. Mobility is very much at the fore for today’s leading businesses and it is becoming a serious consideration for them when it comes to making strategic decisions. The days of just shooting from the hip and fixing the problems later are numbered. Global regulations are getting tighter and fines are getting greater. $400,000 was a disclosed fine recently imposed upon a major corporation for a failure to adhere to protocol in moving a critical business team. Never  before has it been more important that detailed planning along with consideration for the employee, and of course their family, is undertaken to ensure a successful move. As a consequence, companies are becoming more and more conscious of the impact a move has on both the business and the employee’s life, and we need to meet the demand accordingly. Times are changing!

So that old-school attitude of “just get the job done” simply doesn’t wash anymore. It never did to be honest, but somehow when  globalisation took grip, and with it mobility exploded, that awful word snuck in and took root: “Complacency”; it’s just another move, a number, a file, etc. It was that very attitude that I observed just a few years back whilst working as a home-search consultant which spurred me on to start up my own relocation company; together with much encouragement from many of the  400+ employees I personally assisted over those early years. I felt it could be done better, there was clearly scope in the marketplace for an improved offering and now 3+ years in the making I’m proving it can!

Similarly to what we’ve seen on the high streets in the UK these last  5+ years, and worldwide to be fair; I travel quite a bit for work these days. The local butchers, the greengrocer, the fishmonger, Charlotte’s café, Dean’s deli, they’re all back, and back by demand! The resurgence of the high street; local goods and local people, I feel has been driven through people wanting less of the “the computer says no”, and more of the genuine “How may I help you?” Like I said, we’re not just moving boxes. It’s not just a service order, a reference or purchase order number. We’re not making sausages here, or ‘bangers’ as we say in the UK! It’s not a production line, etc.

What an employee undertakes when relocating, often together with their family, can only be described as a seismic event. Their world as they know it alters overnight. We pick them up, turn their everyday reality inside out and put them down again, somewhere new, whilst challenging and changing everything that underpins one’s life, and I mean the fundamentals: food, water and shelter. Not to mention the cultural change, the local system to comprehend, family considerations such as schooling, absence of family and friends, etc. It’s a very long list as you are no doubt already well aware. So to say that they need support is an understatement.

Putting ourselves in their shoes, in my opinion, is essential. How  would  you feel? So going the extra mile to listen, understand, guide, help and ensure that the employee / family have the best chance of making a successful move and settling in quickly is imperative. And that’s not to mention the business case, the investment of  both  time  and  money  and  strategic importance of the move to the business!

After all, it’s long proven that happy people are productive people and ultimately that’s what a successful business needs to be successful!

All in all, I’m so pleased I watched that movie, so thanks Jerry. And I’m sure that it isn’t just me on a “caring” crusade, and no, I’m not scared to use the word. Let’s do it better!

Right To Rent

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Who exactly does it benefit?

We are all familiar with the 2014 Immigration Act which aims to curb the influx of illegal immigrants in the UK. But with the introduction of the new “Right To Rent” Legislation, motioned from 1 February 2016, professionals from all sectors of mobility are forced to ask: who exactly does it benefit?

This new legislation dictates that UK landlords could face penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant should they fail to carry out detailed checks on their tenants’ right to rent in the UK, a move that is supposed to prevent landlords from knowingly renting out their properties to illegal immigrants. But some people argue that this new piece of legislation will have a different kind of impact, believing that landlords will simply just become reluctant to rent out their properties to anyone with a foreign background, causing a whole new debate as to whether it is going to increase discrimination against minority ethnicities. In a recent study, 27% of landlords said that they are less likely to engage with those with a foreign accent or name, and 42% said that the new Right to Rent Legislation has made them less likely to consider someone who does not have a British passport. However according to a pilot scheme that ran for 6 months in the West Midlands, there were “no major differences” for rentals between white British and any other ethnic tenants. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) members seems to think that they are in a no win situation, believing that they could either “take a restrictive view with prospective tenants,” potentially causing difficulties for the 12 million UK citizens without a passport or “target certain individuals to conduct the checks,” thus opening themselves up to accusations of racism. It is a hard one to judge.

There has also been concern that the homeless will struggle now even more to find housing, as many of them do not have passports or visas, and may find it hard to obtain them. Six of the local charities in the surveyed area said that people they represent had become homeless due to the Right to Rent legislation, or were struggling to find somewhere to live. Immigration minister, James Brokenshire, says that these checks are “quick and simple” and are about “deterring those who are illegally resident from remaining in the UK. Those with a legitimate right to be here will be able to prove this easily and will not be adversely affected.” So that begs the question; what about those who can’t?

Of course, there are benefits. Strict rules and required follow up checks will ensure that any lazy or careless landlords are punished and will encourage property owners to be more responsible in the future. It will also make sure that illegal immigrants have less places to hide, although once found, it is unsure of the action that will be taken.

So does this new act benefit landlords (and us) by ensuring they do not unknowingly welcome illegal immigrants into their properties, or does it cloud their judgement when assessing prospective tenants, meaning they find it harder to let their properties, costing them money and intensifying the ever present issue of racism and discrimination?

The value of home search assistance to lump sum assignees

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Demonstrating the quantitative value of home search assistance to lump sum assignees

Lump sum relocation packages have seen a significant resurgence in recent years, notably, through growing organisations seeking to relocate high volumes of employees on one way permanent transfers.

As a destination services provider, we have experienced first-hand that, for high volume relocations, generic relocation programmes are unlikely to cater to the needs of each assignee to a satisfactory level when taking into account differences in personal circumstances, culture of the home country, etc. Assignees are left feeling like a number – something that, at CLR, we work exceptionally hard to tackle.

The premise of a lump sum package is to ensure greater cost control and reduced administrative burdens for the company whilst offering increased flexibility for the assignee. Assignees are provided with an upfront cash payment to cover all of their mobility programme or to cover additional services that individuals may require as an extension of a basic programme.

Predictably, however, when presented with a significant amount of money to cover the relocation, the focus of an assignee can often turn to saving this money rather than paying for assistance, particularly, it seems, for rental home searches.

In personal terms, for an assignee to pay the cost of a 1 or 2 day home search is quite significant, particularly due to the ease of use of property portals and prevalence of high street lettings agents. Hence, often, an assignee will not look to engage a provider for assistance.

However, using simple terms, we feel it is worth conveying the quantitative value of home search assistance to an assignee. In 2015, CLR saved each of our assignees an average of £914* and that’s net income!

Pitch this against the upfront cost of a home search package and effectively the assistance is virtually free of charge. Add to this the insights, help and advice from our consultants, and suddenly an assignee receives a very cost effective and hassle free package…

*The figure was calculated based on rental savings against property asking prices, and reduction of agency charges over the course of a 12 month tenancy, from all of our 2015 home search cases.