Tag Archives: Virtual Office solution

Climate Change Affects London Business Too.

We have all been watching in amazement over the last few weeks as the young Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg lectured world leaders on the environmental disaster facing all of us.  So in our latest weekly news report we have looked at recycling and the problems we face in our capital.  Waste collection giants Biffa have been complaining in the media that labelling is inconsistent and incoherent and discourages us from recycling enthusiastically.  Our very own Mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing his heating cashback scheme to persuade London businesses to upgrade their boilers and cut back on the pollution they produce in our industrial zones.

At our virtual office centre here on Regent St we are aware of the pollution from an endless flow of buses and taxis along Regent Street.    We do, of course, keep many business workers from making a daily commute to Central London by letting them work from their home office and let us be their face in London’s West End.   Since we work for many overseas companies providing them a virtual office service we also help them save their carbon footprint in travelling to London unnecessarily.

Nobody knows just how serious the climate change situation is, there are far too many agendas being promoted in the media but it is certain that it is in all our interests that London remains a clean and unpolluted working place.

 

8 Top Tips For Working With a Virtual Assistant

When you are used to running a busy virtual office in central London the concept of ‘being virtual’ is a very seductive one.  For many small businesses and start ups the natural progression from having virtual office is to have virtual assistants (VAs) scattered in low income countries.  Used correctly, this type of support staff can provide a big plus for your business and allow you to delegate many routine tasks such as research and data cleaning.

So how do you find a VA?   This is the easiest part as there are websites that let you find and employ a limitless number of experienced part time staff who will charge you an hourly rate way below their counterparts in the UK.  The easiest site to go looking on is Upwork which has a well organised sysstem for locating the part time staff of your dreams.   In a later blog post I will give tips on how to advertise for a vA and how to go through the virtual interview procedure with them.  In this short post I want to show you a video I made that sets out my top tips for working effectively with a VA based on the other side of the world.   In my experience the key to successfully dealing with virtual staff is to be friendly and considerate to them.   Just because they live far away and your contact is on skype or email you should be as polite as if they were in the next office.  The worst thing you can do is take a tone of ‘western superiority’ which will ensure you get the minimum return from your investment.   Treat them as you would any loyal office colleague and you will understand why virtual is best.

Christmas Post

At Hold Everything, the virtual office company based on London’s prestigious Regent Street, we are very much aware that Christmas is coming, with increased volumes of mail already being received, from those early cards to the small corporate gifts that get sent out at this time to clients.

With December only 4 days away, the festive lights are already shining. To make sure you beat the festive rush and get all your letters and parcels in the post on time, here is our go to advice to ensure all your presents arrive in time for Christmas day.

Here at Hold Everything we rely heavily on the Royal Mail to deliver our clients correspondence to us at our Regent Street office so we can send the mail back out to them in good time. With the rush of Christmas and the Royal Mail being inundated with post and packages below are the cut off dates to which they advise you get all your bits and pieces posted by:

  • To send via 2nd class and signed for 2nd class latest date to post is Tuesday 18th

  • To send via 1st class, signed for 1st class and Royal Mail Tracked 48hrs the latest date to post is Thursday 20th December

  • To send via Royal Mail Tracked 24hrs the latest date to post is Friday 21st

  • To send via Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed the latest date will be 22nd

Prices will vary on the above services dependent on how heavy and big your item is. We also suggest that whatever you may be sending is packaged well with padding if necessary as the post can go through quite a rough handling process and a well-protected parcel will help the contents survive the distance. 

We do have an alternative suggestion to the Royal Mail (not that there is anything wrong with it) but when Christmas is upon us and there are so many festives going on sometimes little things slip our minds and we forget to send a present, so instead of rushing to the post office to que with everyone else, Hold Everything offers a courier service with extremely competitive prices available for both next day UK and International shipments. Sending your items via courier has many advantages such as:

  • By using a courier there is no size limit to the parcel

  • Increased liability- Couriers are extremely reliable and will get your delivery from A to B quickly

  • Safe & secure transportation

  • Proof of signature as proof of delivery- no qualms

  • Quick UK next day delivery

  • Can be tracked easily

So whether it’s a card or that amazing gift you have to send to whether it be a loved one abroad or an old friend in the UK, make sure you get it off on time!

Lunch at the Desk and Onboarding Strategy.

Over the past 2 weeks we have been looking at various aspects of office life in our weekly news report on our YouTube channel.  It led me to thinking about how the results of different surveys could in some way be connected in the way human resources function in small businesses today.   In a video report the other week we looked at poor practices in ‘Onboarding’ for new employees.   Onboarding is the process of getting new hires adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly. It is the process through which new hires learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviours required to function effectively within an organisation.

Studies have indicated that many companies fail at the very first step in onboarding process by not following up after the job offer has been made and accepted.   The jobs market is quite competitive at the moment so if a company does manage to find the talent they need and spend time and money doing so they should make the new sign up feel a part of the company culture as quickly as possible.  Often this does not happen and HR departments sit hopefully waiting for the new employee to turn up on the day specified without any problems at all.  Then they are shocked to find that he/she has been pilfered away by a competitor before they even arrive for their first morning.    Even if the employee does turn up, many companies make a hash of the whole integration procedure leaving the employee feeling unwanted/neglected or just downright confused over their role in the organisation.  This can waste a lot of money and put the HR department back to square one.

This brings me to my second point which we outline in our latest news report.   Here we look at a survey where more than half UK employees remain stuck at their desks through the lunch hour.  Some of them, certainly, are enjoying social media or reading the news but the majority are simply working when they should be stretching their legs and getting nourishing food to activate their brains for the second half of the day.

You only have to contrast this with way companies such as Google or Facebook treat their employees.   You can see the sorts of companies that top the list in Glassdoors list of best companies to work for.  Google, Facebook, Anglian Water etc.. you can be certain that thesae companies are absolutely brilliant at onboarding new recruits and making them feel at home from the moment the job offer is accepted.  Google is famous for its great catering and recreation facilities – this is a business strategy designed to entice and retain worthwhile talent.  Whilst it is not always possible for a small company to provide ‘Google’ style facilities I am certain that a small move in this direction could pay enormous dividends in staff loyalty and efficiency.

TfL is Bullish Over Build to Rent Business Model.

TFL futuristic station

We are going through troubled times in the residential property market as Buy to Let empires sell off their assets in a stagnant marketplace.  Brexit is on the horizon and nobody has any real sense of what will happen to residential property after March 2019.  For a long time now London has been supported by an international financial community competing for rental properties around the capital.  London’s transport authority TFL have decided to jump in the direction of ‘build to rent’ using their formidable stock of existing land and buildings across the town.  They plan to build a substantial number of rental units above underground stations which were certainly be ‘convenient for travel’.  More importantly it will give TfL a guaranteed income stream into the future which will enable it to invest in the travel infrastructure . We discuss this move in our latest video report..

Apparently, a number of these proposed rental units will be reserved for ‘affordable housing which represents useful payback to the London commuters.  Our Capital is hosting London Fashion Week which is always a stress test for our transport network with industry professional rushing around London for Catwalk Shows and wannabe fashionistas pouring into Oxford Circus and Knightsbridge to buy their Autumn season outfits.  We are aware of this increased footfall outside our offices right there on London’s Regent Street and we feel, as always, there at the beating heart of London’s business centre.