What Co-Working Can Teach Us About Working From Home Productively

Co-working is a more efficient, productivity-driving alternative to working from home

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the globe are having to adapt to working from home. For many, this is previously unknown territory. The question therefore arises as to how to maintain productive working when WFH. 

As a co-working space provider, we are well-versed in creating working environments that prioritise creativity, collaboration and efficiency. In this article, we are going to share some of our proven techniques for workspace productivity, that are also fully transferable to working from home.

Interested in learning more about Us&Co’s Private Offices & Co-Working Spaces? Click here for more information or view our virtual 360° space tours.


 

1. Maintain a collaborative environment from home

 

Working from home does not mean working alone. Just because you are out of the office, doesn’t mean that you should stop utilising the skills and insights of your colleagues.

Now is the time to really make the most out of the wealth of communication technology available: Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts. Obviously, it’s not quite the same as having your team in the room with you, but virtual meetings are the next best thing. Use these tools to open up idea-generation discussions, pick people’s brains and talk through what you’re working on. You’ll find it so much more lucrative than trying to go it alone.

In some cases, there are even benefits to be reaped from working in close proximity with housemates, family members, partners or friends – even if they’re not in the same industry. Talking through your thoughts out-loud with anyone is helpful for making sure your ideas make sense. Plus, you may even learn something new from their specialities that are applicable to your day-to-day: from how they manage their time to how they format their spreadsheets!


 

2. Optimise your working from home set-up

 

How you set-up your workspace is crucial to getting in the right frame of mind to create and deliver. It may be tempting to slouch on the sofa in your pyjamas, but ultimately that’s not going to help you remain productive.

Based on our learnings as a productivity-focused office space provider, the below are our top tips for setting up your own WFH workspace:

  • Find a chair and desk set-up that helps you maintain good posture – Poor posture can contribute to a number of physical complaints that also have a knock-on impact on your concentration – including fatigue, joint pain and headaches.
  • Allow yourself plenty of natural light – Ideally, you’d want to work by a window, with the curtains. Research shows that workers who receive sufficient daylight are up to 40% more productive.
  • Separate your workspace from your home space – When working from home, creating healthy work/life barriers is even more important. If possible, work from a different room as you relax/sleep. If that’s not possible, pack away your work things at the end of the day so they don’t remain a constant reminder of everything you’ve got to do when you’re supposed to be winding down.
  • Find somewhere quiet to work, if you can – We understand that this is not always possible, particularly for those with families at home. However, if you can create yourself a ‘safe-space’ away from noise, at least for calls or video conferences, that is ideal.

 

3. Continue your work habits & routines as much as possible

 

The secret to working productively from home is to treat your days as similarly as possible to your in-office days. Everything that you’ve learned works for you in the past, try and continue as much as you can.

First things first is to start and finish work at the same time you would usually, in order to maintain routine. Yes, that means getting up, dressed and grabbing breakfast in the morning, and switching off at a reasonable time at the end of the working day.

If you’re used to chatting with your teammates around the coffee machine, or talking through your weekends on a Monday morning, keep that up! Those social, water-cooler chats are just as important to your wellbeing and productivity as work-based conversations. Similarly, we recommend organising virtual lunch-dates with colleagues and friends to give yourself a well-needed midday break.

For those who like working in an office with background chatter or music, try and emulate that through curating your own WFH playlist. If your preference was always for silence, work out the best ways you can achieve that at home.


 

4. Remember that work shouldn’t be 24/7

 

Now more than ever, people are starting to re-prioritise and concentrate on the things in life that mean most to them. Obviously, work is important – for many it’s the most important part of their life. But the trick is to still make sure you still take breaks whenever you can, so you come back refreshed and ready to roll.

7 Reasons Why Businesses Are Moving To Stratford

Stratord Orbit

Over the last 15 years or so, Stratford (east London) has been completely transformed. Previously somewhat of an economic black hole, pre-Olympics Stratford needed a lot of TLC to get it ready for London 2012. A colossal renovation project took place. Over 46,000 new jobs were created in the district, bringing with them a 30% increase in rail capacity and 20,000 new homes. 

Fast forward to 2021, Stratford is now turning into an office hot-spot, with more and more businesses moving to the area. Transport for London, Cancer Research, the Financial Conduct Authority, Unicef and the British Council all now how Stratford bases.

So, what is it specifically that’s making Stratford so appealing to London businesses? In this article we look at the top 7 benefits of basing your office in Stratford.

Interested in moving your business to Stratford? Click here for more information on Us&Co’s brand new Stratford co-working and private office space, or book a tour to come and look around.

 


 

1. Stratford is in the city, but out of the city

Allow us to explain. Unlike more ‘traditional’ white collar centres in the city centre – Bank, Canary Wharf, Moorgate, etc – Stratford doesn’t quite have the sardine-like quality of central London. Traffic on the roads moves more freely and the streets around the office buildings aren’t as crowded with people. Those who work in Stratford often comment on how un-London parts of the area feel, with a distinct friendly community feel.


 

2The Stratford community feel

Businesses that move their offices to Stratford are joining a community that has existed for generations, long before the London even started its bid for the Olympics. To this day, there are still local shop-owners, pub landlords, train staff and more who have lived and worked in the area all their lives. This creates a real neighbourly feel that is rare to find in, say, the financial districts of London.


 

3. Westfield Shopping Centre is right on your doorstep

Imagine working just walking distance away from one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe. The Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre opened its doors in 2011 and has so far generated retail sales of well over £7.4 billion. There are more than 265 different retailers, restaurants and bars to entertain your team on lunchtimes or after-work excursions.


 

4. The Olympic legacy means there are world-class sports facilities

Talking of what’s right on your doorstep in Stratford – there are all the fantastic sporting facilities you would expect of a former athletes village. The London Aquatics Centre is now a public-use swimming pool, the London Stadium plays host to West Ham football games (among other events) and open green spaces have been converted into handy outdoor gyms.

Video Office Tour of Us&Co Stratford

Creative Consultancy RCCO UK were among the first to join the Us&Co Stratford family when we opened the doors to our new workspace in January 2020.

To celebrate their new home, CEO Jordan Richards and the team put together this fantastic behind-the-scenes tour video – showing off all the amazing amenities the Stratford business centre has to offer. Check it out below!

 

Video credit: rcco_uk on Instagram (click here to view the original video).

What Jordan had to say:

 

“We can see the Olympic Park, our favourite pub and Westfield! We’re so lucky to be right next to the DLR and main train station, so it’s an easy commute to get here. One thing I love about this office is how much space there is to grow. There’s so much natural lighting and so much space. I love that this place has all of the facilities taken care of… and some great coffee! I’m so proud of this new space that we’ve grown into. It’s really going to allow us to do better creative work, bring more people onto the team and host our clients in a creative space.”

 

5 Tips For Commuting By Bike In Central London

 

The number of commuters cycling in central London has reached an all-time high, with recent TFL data suggesting almost 1 in 4 vehicles in the capital right now is a bike. With cycle-friendly infrastructure constantly improving through the city, there’s never been a better time to join the two-wheeled revolution. 

Us And Co Location Dublin Amenties Image 1

There is a strong business case for companies to encourage their employees to cycle to work… 

  • Cycling has an obvious health advantage over driving or taking public transport that comes through regular exercise. On average, cyclists take 15% fewer days off work than non-cyclists. 
  • Studies show that more physically fit employees are 4 – 15% more productive and 27% less likely to make task errors. 
  • Cyclists are much less likely to get held-up in bad traffic or train delays. In 2018 alone, UK drivers lost an average of 178 hours due to traffic, costing the economy £7.9 billion in lost productivity.
  • It is the duty of every company – big or small – to do their bit to protect the environment. Compared to driving, cycling 10km each way to work saves 1500kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

 

Here at Us&Co, we are keen advocates of any ways to enhance workplace productivity and improve the quality of life of our workspace members. At our central London co-working centre in Monument, we provide dedicated and secure bike storage spaces, as well as having on-site shower facilities that our members can use to freshen up.  

Based on our own experiences of helping make cycling to work as stress-free as possible, we have put together our top tips for commuting by bike in central London.


 

1. Take the back roads

One of the often-cited downsides of cycling in London is how busy the roads can get – especially at key commuting times. London is home to the most congested road in the UK: the road stretching through Kingsway/Strand/Fleet Street/Cannon Street. For many would-be cycling commuters, the perils of travelling through rush hour traffic alongside countless cars, vans and buses can be enough to make them opt for a car or train instead. 

There are alternatives, though. The trick is to plan your route away from the busiest roads. London’s Cycle Superhighways, for example, are a simple way to speed through the city on dedicated bike paths. Similarly, TFL’s Quietways have become an integral part of the London cycle network. Both have recently been incorporated into this London cycle map, which is a must-see for the savvy London cycler.

 

Cycle Map Of London including monument where Us&Co is based

 


 

2. Buying cycling equipment

Even if you commute to work by bike just one or two times a week, investing in high-quality cycling equipment is crucial. A comfortable, lightweight but strong cycle bag will keep your belongings secure. Bringing a change of clothes and attaching mudguards to the bike itself will help prevent your smart work attire from getting damaged.  And, most importantly of all: bright lights, reflective clothing and a sturdy helmet are an absolute must to help keep you safe on the roads.

 


 

3. Breathe easy

 

It is no secret that air pollution is a serious problem in London. Oxford Street, for example, is the most polluted square-mile area in the entirety of Europe. Many regular urban cyclists, therefore, use protective masks, which include filters that keep out particulate matter and gaseous pollutants from the air you breathe.

Even if you don’t have a protective cycling mask, it’s still not worth worrying too much about any potentially negative health impacts. This King’s College Study shows cyclists would need to keep going for 10 hours a day through central London before the negative air damage outweighed the positive exercise benefit of cycling, so rest assured that commuting by bike is benefiting your health.

 


 

4. Store your bike safely

Bikes are an easy target for thieves in London. In 2018, a total of 21,745 bikes were reported stolen in London. If your office doesn’t offer dedicated, off-street bike storage, you need to think carefully about how and where to lock up your bike. The ideal scenario is chaining it up somewhere you can see. If that’s not possible, somewhere public where passers-by would notice a thief with bolt cutters. Also, keep an eye out for CCTV cameras, as they can be a great deterrent for criminals. 

It is advisable for every bike-owner to register your bike (for free!). Bikeregister.com is the UK’s leading online bicycle registration initiative that is aimed at reducing bicycle theft.

The Top Co-working Trends For 2020

Coworking Trends For 2020

The last ten years have been staggering for the phenomenon of co-working. Back in 2010, only 21,000 people around the world could be classed as ‘co-workers’. Now, it is estimated that there will be 5.1 million co-workers by 2022. 

With the new year (and a new decade!) just around the corner, we thought now would be the perfect time to look ahead to how this industry looks set to shape-up in 2020. As more and more brands turn to flexible office space, staying ahead of the co-working trends is becoming increasingly essential for staying ahead of your competition.

 

This article has been written by Us&Co, professional co-working space provider based in London Monument, Dublin and Stratford. For more information on our facilities and services, click here.


 

1. The growth of serviced, fully private offices

There was a time when co-working was mainly for freelancers, hot-deskers and short-term office rentals. While the practice is still obviously great for such workers, it also looks as though an increasing number of other players are entering the co-working game.

One of the primary benefits of co-working is that it takes all the stress and hassle of office management away so you can concentrate on growing your business instead. The ease of not dealing with cleaning, intermittent Internet and stocking the coffee machine with beans is now appealing to small teams and larger companies alike. 

As a result, more established and flourishing brands are opting for serviced private offices. These provide all the privacy, customisation and space that you need, alongside the flexibility and time-saving inclusions that characterise co-working memberships.

 

Fully serviced private offices for whole teams in London and Dublin

An example of a fully serviced private office from Us&Co, ideal for larger teams looking for a space they can really make their own.

 


 

2. The external meeting trend

Bookable meeting rooms are becoming increasingly popular, with 2020 set to see the highest number yet of meetings arranged at external locations. A report by Meetings Booker found that a growing number of businesses are booking externally particularly for full-day meetings, which make up 49% of room booking requests. 

It’s not hard to see why. There is a long list of advantages to booking external meetings, and scenarios where it is advisable to do so. For example, many brands who book one of our Us&Co meeting rooms do so for a change in scenery for breakout workshops, because they don’t have the meeting space of their own or to take advantage of amenities like audio-visual technology or whiteboards.

External meeting rooms provide high-tech, serviced spaces where any business can host and impress partners, clients, investors and prospective employees. The variety promised by these spaces offers businesses the flexibility of duration, group size and even seated or stand-up meetings. 

As specialists in productivity-focused office design, you can be sure to expect a high standard of meeting rooms from co-working spaces.

 

Bookable meeting rooms in London Monument, London Bridge, Bank, Dublin and Stratford


 

3. The increasing variety of co-working providers

 

When co-working was a relatively new phenomenon, there wasn’t a huge variety in what you could expect. Obvious big, early players like WeWork dominated the industry, stamping their particular style onto the practice. That’s all well and good, but it is becoming abundantly clear that a one-size-fits-all never works when it comes to workplace productivity.

In recent years, co-working has seen a significant increase in diversity. Some offer specialist spaces focusing on co-working for a specific industry. Others prioritise catering for certain sizes of teams, for example, spaces designed primarily for freelancers or small groups of under 5. Then there are some that pride themselves on providing a female-centric atmosphere.

Here at Us&Co, we’ve gone down the route of Pro-Working. We prioritise professionalism, productivity and flexibility to provide our members with truly high-quality working experience.


 

4. The growth of co-working in new locations

Co-working is no longer confined to London, New York and other large metropolitan power-houses. In 2019, the number of co-working spaces registered outside of the UK and USA climbed. India, Spain and Germany, for example, have 841, 483 and 311 co-working spaces registered. 

Within the UK, you can expect to find co-working centres cropping up in the vast majority of cities and large towns. London, of course, continues to be the co-working capital of the country (if not, Europe too). However, co-workers no longer have to look to central, ‘conventional’ co-working locations, like Bank & Liverpool Street. Co-working business centres are emerging in previously untapped areas, such as Stratford, which continues to reap the benefits of the 2012 Olympics.

Another significant up-and-comer in the world of co-working is Dublin. Especially amidst the uncertainty of Brexit, many brands are turning to the Irish city for bases within the EU. It offers a high quality of life and a gateway to world markets that appeals to SMEs and established businesses alike. In line with this increase in Dublin business potential, the Dublin flexible workspace industry grew by 4,500 new desk spaces within 2019 (according to research by Click Offices), with further growth predicted for 2020.

Now Open: Us&Co’s Brand New Stratford Workspace

Us&Co is very excited to announce that our third workspace – 11 Burford Road, Stratford, London – has opened its doors this New Year!

 

Us&Co Stratford entrance hall to coworking space and private office provider

Us&Co Stratford is our largest business centre yet and follows in the footsteps of our London Monument and Dublin coworking spaces. The building consists of 6 floors and over 30,000 sq. ft of private office space. There are also modern, high-tech meeting rooms, a host of premium amenities and stunning breakout spaces for both relaxing and hosting events. 

The new East London space mirrors the professional aesthetics of our other centres, including the abundance of natural light and chic decor that Us&Co has always prioritised.   

We are excited to be taking shared workspace in Stratford to the next level, providing forward-thinking businesses with office space in one of the most rapidly-growing areas of London.


 

What does the new space have to offer?

 

Us&Co Stratford provides the same high quality of amenities and facilities that our current members have come to associate with us. From the luxury decor to the all-inclusive membership fees, we bake professionalism, flexibility and transparency into the core of everything we do.

As always, Us&Co’s co-working cohort has access to free super fast WiFi, 24/7 building access, high tech meeting rooms (also available for external bookings), member events and secure bike storage.

Hot desk and fixed desk coworking is still a large part of what we can offer for our new Stratford members. However, because the building has so much available space, we are able to offer private offices for much larger groups, including large self-contained floors for whole teams. 

 

Us&Co breakout space for coworking, private office and hot desk members


 

Customisable Private Office Space

 

Our new Stratford office space offers highly customisable working environments to suit any thriving, productivity-focused brand. We pride ourselves on creating a professional and nurturing atmosphere that brands feel comfortable making their own. 

Ultimately, we want you to feel as though your workspace reflects who you as a brand. No two businesses are the same, and your office shouldn’t be either. Whether you need a private office for a smaller team or a whole self-contained floor for a larger brand, Us&Co Stratford is designed to be as adaptable to your requirements as possible. For example, we can arrange desks, partition walls and set out breakout areas exactly according to your preferences.

If you want to find out more about this, we have a full downloadable Us&Co Stratford Location Brochure. This brochure demonstrates potential floorplans – as well as including further information, such as pricing. You can also book a tour to get a feel of the space and we can help you work out what layout would suit your company best.

Highly professional co-working office spaces in London and Dublin ©donalmurphyphoto


 

Where is Us&Co Stratford located?

 

11 Burford Rd, E15 2ST

 

Us&Co Stratford is ideally located for brands looking for a base in a well-connected, vibrant and professional area. We have carefully selected this location based on its clear and increasing potential, which has been growing from strength to strength ever since the area played host to the London 2012 Olympic Games

Situated just a few minutes’ walk from Stratford underground, rail and DLR stations, there are super-fast, reliable links to the City, London City Airport, Eurostar and more. Additionally, the exciting development of the Elizabeth Line will improve Stratford’s connection to both central London and key commuter towns in Essex and London. Thanks to the new train line (currently estimated to be open by late 2020), it will take only 7 minutes from Stratford to Liverpool Street and 18 minutes to Paddington. 

Our new East London workspace is also just 8 minutes walk away from Westfield Shopping Centre. One of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe, the centre offers restaurants, bars, entertainment and – of course – shopping facilities. To date, Westfield has generated retail sales of more than £7.4 billion, so it’s safe to say there is clearly commercial value in Stratford.

Were you to choose Stratford for your office space, you would be joining the ranks of a number of global heavy-weight brand that have already set up bases in the area. For example, Transport for London, Cancer Research, the Financial Conduct Authority and Unicef all moved to Stratford in recent years.

 

Stratford Olympic Park during London 2012, filled with athletes


 

Get in touch today!

If you are interested in learning more about what the space has to offer, and how we can help support the growth and productivity of your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us

5 Top London Christmas Party Venues For 2019

When tasked with the mission of finding an event venue for your Christmas party, it can often seem like there can be an overabundance of options – especially in a bustling city like London. To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of our favourite London Christmas party venues for 2019. From the spectacular to the stylish, we aim to help you find your perfect festive function venue.


 

1. Bluebird, Chelsea

Located in the heart of Chelsea, the Bluebird restaurant has been a popular event venue since it opened in the 1990s. With five function rooms of varying sizes (options ranging from 32 dining guests to a standing capacity of 650 people), you can choose a set-up to suit your seasonal occasion. 

The atmosphere at this private dining space is best characterised as ‘buzzy’, combining glamorous designer decor with upbeat festivities. Everything – from the food and decorations to music and drinks – is totally in-keeping with a traditional Christmas, guaranteeing a night of warm, festive cheer.

The Bluebird is a popular choice for events all year round but especially so at Christmas… so get in quick to book your December do.

 

Bluebird Chelsea, a traditional christmas party venue


 

2. German Gymnasium, Kings Cross

If you’re looking to inject a touch of European flair to your work Christmas party, German Gymnasium marries classic British Victorian architecture with a menu authored by German-born chef Bjoern Wassmuth. 

For festive celebrations, you can hire out the whole formal mezzanine restaurant in all its seasonal glory. For smaller groups who are still keen for a high-brow Christmas, there is also a semi-private space available, a ground-floor Grand Cafe and an outdoor terrace – although you might want to bring a coat if opting for the latter!

The German Gymnasium is also the annual home to a truly spectacular Christmas tree, sitting snugly beneath the main hall’s 57 feet high ceiling.

 

German Gymnasium london christmas party venue in kings cross

 


 

3. The Conservatory & Garden Room, Barbican

Perhaps you are looking for something a touch more exotic for your Christmas bash this year? If so, the tropical plants, exotic fish and dancefloor of the Conservatory & Garden Room may tickle your festive fancy.

Suitable for parties from 150 to up to 650 people, you can either opt for the ‘dinner and dance’ package or a standing reception. Either option comes with a ready flow of Christmas drinks and winter merriment that are sure to help your team unwind after a hard-working 2019. Live music or a DJ are also included in some packages.

 

Conservatory And Garden Room Barbican for a tropical London Christmas party


 

4. ICEBAR London, Piccadilly Circus

This next entry definitely ticks all the boxes if you’re in search of a ‘cool’ Christmas venue.

Frosty festivities at ICEBAR provide a wintery wonderland brimming with Christmas magic. The venue is split into three warm spaces for cosy conversations and one icy space – chilled to -5 degrees!

Decorated with Christmas lights, giant baubles and, you guessed it, ice sculptures; you almsot feel like you’ve stepped into Lapland itself. Capacity ranges from 25 to 270, with options for seated dining or standing with canapes.

 

Icebar London for a frosty christmas party near Piccadilly Circus

 

Co-Working Vs. Working From Home

Co-working is a more efficient, productivity-driving alternative to working from home

 

In the last four years, the number of people working from co-working spaces has increased phenomenally. As recently as 2015, just over half a million people around the world opted for co-working. In 2018, that number exceeded 1.6 million. 

A similar trend is evident when looking at the increasing number of people working from home. It is estimated that – in the UK alone – the number of people remote working has increased by over 200,000 since 2012, to a staggering 4 million. 

Both practices offer flexibility and a respite from conventional, desk-chained office working. But how do you work out which is best for you? In this article, we run through some of the most lucrative benefits of co-working and why the set-up is so appealing to workers around the world.

Interested in trying out co-working yourself? Get in touch with the Us&Co team to discuss membership at our London Monument or Dublin workspaces.


 

1. Co-working centres are designed with productivity in mind

From the spacing of desks to the selection of furniture, a lot of thought and planning goes into the layout of a co-working space. Panels on the side of desks ensure that every individual worker can work on confidential projects without being overlooked. Break-out spaces are also typically kept very separate to working stations, with dedicated areas or rooms for breaks and lunches. This means that the coffee-break chatter doesn’t distract fellow co-workers who are sat at their desks.

One of the major downsides of working from home is that you end up working in an environment cluttered with personalised distractions. It is so much more difficult to concentrate when your TV, games and social media are all so readily available. There is no-one else around to hold you accountable for lapses in productivity. 

Co-working eliminates that. Business centres like Us&Co are designed, decorated and furnished in-line with the latest theories in occupational psychology. Everything from desk layout and chair selection to breakout spaces and the flow of natural light has been carefully considered to help you get the most out of your working day.

Read more:

Why Natural Light Improves Productivity

Why Co-Working doesn’t mean reduced working privacy

 

Us&Co professional coworking hotdesks in London


 

2. Schedule and routine

Overcoming the temptation to oversleep or procrastinate when you don’t have established work hours can take a substantial amount of self-discipline. Who’s going to notice if you sleep late into the morning and don’t begin working until lunchtime?

At the other end of the day, a common working-from-home trap is to continue working late into the evening. Long, laborious days are highly likely to decrease your attention span and productivity. Worse still, a study conducted by University College London found that working 55 hours or more a week increases the chances of suffering a stroke by over 30% compared to those who work the regular 40 hours or less.

Co-working, whilst still vastly more flexible that the conventional office set-up, makes it much easier to stick to a routine than working from home. You have more accountability from your fellow co-workers, not to mention somewhere to physically disconnect from the temptation of afternoon naps.

Read more:

Are you taking breaks all wrong?


 

3. Socialising and networking

Human beings are natural socialisers. Our brains are hard-wired for interaction with other people, releasing dopamine as the direct consequence of socialising. 

Co-working far exceeds working from home when it comes to providing social opportunities. Workspaces like Us&Co know it’s important to prioritise both work and play, offering members events, breakfasts, after-work drinks and more. Co-working fosters a community that a home-worker simply wouldn’t be able to replicate.

Working-from-home induced isolation can be dangerous for a number of reasons. Firstly, from a mental health perspective, loneliness can go on to trigger depression or anxiety. Secondly, isolation from your colleges can actively damage your career progression prospects. Sadly, studies show that in many cases ‘out of sight = out of mind’.


 

4. Professional Meeting Locations

A significant proportion of people who work from home perform some sort of client-facing role – for example, freelance consultancy, sales or media. As such, they quite often have to meet with clients, leads, partners and investors – which is quite difficult when your only available meeting space is around the kitchen table!

working from home can lead to distractions, is coworking better?

Co-working spaces offer a notable advantage over this, in that they provide a professional location to host and impress. This is true for a number of reasons:

First of all, co-working buildings themselves tend to be decorated, furnished and laid out in a highly sophisticated manner, that is always going to provide a positive first impression of your brand. 

Secondly, there’s the option to book high-tech meeting rooms, equipped with sound-proofing, conference call capabilities, ergonomic chairs and whiteboards – facilities that the average home is unlikely to have.

Even if working from home is your chosen option, using co-working spaces to book external meeting rooms is always a good way to present yourself professionally.

How The Olympics Turned Stratford Into A Thriving Hub of Business

Stratford London and the Olympic Park, including the Orbit and Olympic swimming pool

Back in 2005, the International Olympic Committee announced that London was to host the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, for the first time in over 60 years. The UK capital was determined to put on a show, especially considering how much of a tough act Beijing 2008 was always going to be to follow. 

Plans were soon drawn up for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a complex sporting venue in Stratford. Following a period of severe economic decline in the latter half of the 20th century, the London East End district of Stratford seemed to some like an odd choice to host such a sporting spectacle.  

Fast forward almost 15 years (and over £9 billion) and any initial concerns have been well-and-truly quashed. The London Olympics were a phenomenal success and Stratford achieved a new lease of life as a thriving centre of tourism, retail and business.

In this article, we explore the Olympic story of Stratford’s past, present and future in the wake of London 2012. In particular, we will look at the growing opportunities for businesses in the area and why so many companies are looking to East London.


 

What was Stratford like before the Olympics?

 

The second half of the 20th century was not kind to Stratford. De-industrialisation led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs for Stratford inhabitants, thanks in no small part to the closure of the London Docks in the 1960s.

A particularly iconic symbol of Stratford’s industrially unloved reputation was the so-called ‘Fridge Mountain’. The 20-foot tall collection of discarded white goods on the riverbank was thought to be the biggest of its kind in Europe! 

The construction of the Stratford Olympic Park itself was a colossal undertaking. It took 46,000 workers to construct the Olympic Stadium and grounds, which had a total capacity of 80,000. Renovation even included the removal of 2,000 newts from the Olympic Park building site – along with 4 human skeletons, dating back 3000 years to the Iron Age!

The promise of Olympic prosperity was therefore a very exciting one for Stratford. The project set the stage for over 46,000 new jobs in the district, a 30% increase in rail capacity through Stratford station and over 20,000 new homes. There were also plans for three new secondary schools, 23 new GP clinics and – unsurprisingly – world-class sports and leisure facilities.

And yes, clearing ‘Fridge Mountain’ was one of the first things ticked off Stratford’s to-do list.


 

Stratford Olympic Park during London 2012, filled with athletes

What was Stratford like during the Olympics?

 

Stratford was home to the athletes’ Olympic Village and several key sporting venues: the London Stadium, London Aquatics Centre and the Lee Valley VeloPark.The ArcelorMittal Orbit was constructed to overlook the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, an observation tower and Britain’s largest piece of public art.

During the Games fortnight, it is estimated that as many as 370,000 visitors came to the Olympic Park every single day. 10,500 athletes from 204 nations participated across 26 sports, supported by 70,000 volunteers or ‘Games Makers’. At peak hours, over 200 trains travelled into Stratford Regional Station.   


 

What is Stratford like now?

 

7 years on from the Games, post-Olympic Stratford is nearly unrecognisable compared to Stratford at the turn of the millennium. 

The Queen Elizabeth Park has been transformed into a bustling hub and great destination for tourists looking to explore the legacy of the London Olympics. The area’s population sits healthily at 51,000 and Stratford Train Station is now the 6th busiest station in Britain.

The Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre, which opened in 2011, is one of the largest urban shopping centres in Europe. Westfield attracts 50 million yearly visitors and has so-far generated retail sales of more than £7.4 billion.

Stratford Westfield Shopping Centre opened just before the London 2012 olympics

Outside of retail, there is also a thriving network of global heavy-weight companies setting up Stratford bases. Transport for London, Cancer Research, the Financial Conduct Authority, Unicef and the British Council all have a sizeable presence in the area. 

Higher education establishments like Loughborough University and University College London have invested heavily in Stratford campuses. As a result, there is a rich pool of potential talent ready to be utilised by established brands and start-ups/SMEs alike.

In a word, the Stratford business scene is thriving.


 

What does the future look like for Stratford?

 

Expectations for future growth in Stratford are extremely high. 

One especially exciting area of development is the upcoming Elizabeth Line/Crossrail, which will extend as far as Reading in the West and Shenfield in the East. This will enhance Stratford’s connection to both central London and key commuter towns in Berkshire and Essex. 

The Elizabeth Line will reduce direct journeys from/to Stratford Station to:

  • Liverpool Street – 7 minutes
  • Canary Wharf – 8 minutes
  • Tottenham Court Road – 13 minutes
  • Bond Street – 15 minutes
  • Paddington – 18 minutes
  • Heathrow Central – 44 minutes 
  • Reading Station – 68 minutes

 

Elizabeth Line Map December 2019 showing the connection of Stratford to central London

Considering that Stratford is already conveniently placed for London City Airport and is well-connected via the DLR, this makes the area arguably the most ideal commuter hotspot in London – at least outside of Zone 1.

Development in Stratford did not simply stop once the Olympics were finished. A £2.4 billion cluster of office blocks is currently underway close to the train station. The 11 towers being constructed will end up constituting a business site approximately the same size as Canary Wharf. This is enough office space for over 25,000 workers.

Brands of all shapes and sizes, industries and markets are consequently flocking to Stratford. The area offers central London connectivity, beautiful green space and a dynamic business landscape that is set to only keep growing from strength-to-strength.


 

Announcing: Us&Co’s Brand New Stratford Co-Working Space

 

Us&Co is incredibly proud to announce that we are going to be opening our third serviced workspace in Stratford in early 2020. This new professional, shared workspace will be just a few minutes walk from the train station – perfect for freelancers, start-ups and established brands alike to make the most of everything Stratford has to offer. It will have 6 floors and over 30,000 sq. ft. of private offices, co-working hot desks, meeting rooms and modern training rooms. Register your interest now for fantastic early bird discounts.

 

Preview of Us&Co's upcoming new Stratford working space

Preview photo of Us&Co Stratford coworking space

Top 3 Advantages Of Stand-Up Meetings & How To Do Them Right

 

Stand-up meetings are an increasingly popular trend in offices and workspaces around the world, involving discussions held by standing participants around (usually raised) tables.

There are a number of benefits to this practice, which this article will explain. However, it is important to do stand-up meetings right in order to get the most out of them.

So, starting at the start…


 

What Are The Advantages Of Stand-Up Meetings?

 

1. The health benefits of standing meetings

 

It is hopefully no surprise that remaining seated for extended periods of time is highly problematic for your general health.

Spending too high a proportion of your working day sat down increases your chances of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and even dementia. Office-chair-potatoes also face a high risk of suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis, a clot that forms in your leg, often the result of sitting still for too long.

And then there are the problems of posture. Days spent almost entirely at your desk or seated around a meeting table are a dangerous recipe for slumping, inevitably leading to back issues. So widespread is this, in fact, that a survey of 250 doctors ranked musculoskeletal disorders as the most common type of work-related illness.

Stand-up meetings therefore offer a well-needed respite from sitting. They allow you to stretch your legs, recharge your batteries and get your blood flowing.

 

Standing Meeting Hosted In Office to boost productivity and creativity


 

2. Standing meetings are much more efficient and short

 

Standing meetings are a phenomenally effective way of ensuring that meetings stay short and on topic. The reason for this is because of the comparative discomfort of standing for long periods over sitting. When you are sat comfortably, it is much easier to waste time with drifting conversation. In fact, the efficiency of standing meetings is so great that studies show they last, on average, 34% less time than seated meetings.

So, if you find your meetings drifting off topic or going round in circles, getting up on your feet may be the answer.


 

3. Stand-up meetings encourage productivity & dynamism

 

Standing up during a meeting boosts the attention span and ability to provide a creative, productive contribution.

Researchers from Washington University performed a study on this phenomenon. They asked volunteers to take 30 minutes to plan a short university recruitment video. Some volunteers worked in rooms with chairs arranged around a table and some with no chairs at all.

The researchers found that volunteers who were standing during the session were more likely to share their ideas. Through recordings from sensors worn on participants wrists, the study also found that the standing volunteers were more physiologically excited during the process.


 

Team hosting a standing meeting around an elevated desk

 

How To Run A Productive Stand-Up Meeting

 

Many of these benefits of a stand-up meeting are only actually advantageous if you do them right. To help you ensure that you do this, we have therefore outlined our top tips for running a productive stand-up meeting:

1. Keep it short

 

An hour-long stand-up meeting defeats the whole point. Not only does it mean that you’ve failed to leverage the main benefit of stand-up meetings (the way they encourage concise, productive conversations), but you’ve likely lost the attention of your participants. Whose mind wouldn’t wander after 45 minutes + on their feet? Aiming for approximately 20 minutes is ideal to get the most out of a standing meeting.

 

3. Keep moving

 

One of the problems some people have with stand-up meetings is that they struggle with cramp or fatigue. However, those problems are much more likely to affect those that spend the entire time stood perfectly still. Even just a slight bit of movement helps improve circulation and prevent cramp. Wander around a little bit during the meeting. Swap who is writing on the whiteboard. Have a dedicated ‘speaker space’. Just don’t be a statue.


 

Booking Stand-Up Meetings Through Us&Co

 

Interested in hosting a stand-up meeting but without the ideal space to do so? Why not book a meeting room at one of Us&Co’s London or Dublin workspaces, complete with elevated tables that are perfect for standing meeting participants.

 

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