I loved the London life, it served me well for nearly 20 years, but is it really necessary?
Working in the capital, or any city for that matter, used to be seen a symbol of success, your season ticket or Oyster was like a non-exclusive pass to say ‘yes, I have made it’.
But times are changing, with communication coming in so many guises, and the need to physically be in the same building as your colleagues is becoming less and less. Agile working, and working from home, is considered standard in most companies now. More often than not, you will have calls or conference calls with clients and colleagues without actually knowing whether the person/s on the other end of the phone is sat in an office, at home or in a coffee shop.
Major blue chip brands are noticing that the status of address is something that people are less noticeable of, and the financial savings of being ‘outside the big smoke’ are too big to ignore. There are locations that are sourced by great transportation links and are easily accessible, unlike the overworked networks of the capital.
Reading is a classic example of what is becoming an elite business hub. It’s 30 minutes’ drive from Heathrow, 30 minutes by train from central London (Paddington) and Crossrail is due to go there in 2019. It is already noticeable the size of companies that have started locating to idyllic location towns like this.
From an employee’s perspective, technology is allowing more and more people to work remotely and find work closer to home, resulting in greater job satisfaction, greater work–life balance and therefore happier staff which, in theory, brings greater staff output, which brings you back to greater job satisfaction: it’s a great cycle to have.
More and more you will see headcount in the cities reduce while employees will actually increase but be spread further and wider around the country, which is another way that companies will reduce costs.
Ultimately, the company’s success and quality of output are not driven by its postcode. And with the ability to achieve the same standards from anywhere in the world, there is no longer a need to be based centrally to ensure you can attract or be accessible to an equal amount of people with mileage radius of your head office.
So, why the change? I simply feel that I am slightly ahead of what will soon become ‘the norm’…