Monthly Archives: May 2016

Average UK Office Rents

Location, Location, Location….

Where you opt to set up business can be determined by several factors but pretty much universally the geographic location will play a large part in the decision process. If you’re looking to rent office space in the UK how much variation is there in office space cost per square foot across the country?

Being Brighton based we are acutely aware that residential prices here are higher than the national average. But how do Brighton’s commercial rents compare to other major UK cities?

Comparing The Average Office Rents In Five UK Cities:

London: Silly prices? In February this year, the property firm JLL published its findings on a survey of office rents in cities across the world.  Hong Kong topped the global rankings with costs of $262 per square foot per year for top-quality office space, largely due to strong tenant demand and short supply. But our own dear capitol city came in second on this list – second most expensive city in the world for office rental costs. A University College London study placed average office costs per square foot per month in London at a staggering £52.50.

Brighton: With its good transport links to London and having the advantage of being right by the sea, Brighton is an appealing option for setting up your business. Having spent years ranking in the top 10 lists of happiest / coolest / trendiest / best places to live in the UK, it also has a vibrant business community. Making the top 10 again in a different list, the best places to start a business in 2016, and with the average cost of central office space coming in at £3.38 per square foot per month, it may not be the cheapest place to rent an office, but with its reputation as a creative hub and its links to London, The Centre For Cities ranked Brighton third in the UK for start-up rates.

Edinburgh: Whilst locating to Edinburgh will not give you the same summer seaside experience as down in Brighton, Edinburgh can boast to be the best city to live in the United Kingdom. With relatively high wages, affordable rents and low crime levels, plenty of green, outdoor spaces, and office rents only marginally higher than Brighton’s at £3.45  per square foot per month, going north of the border has its appeal. You also get The University of Edinburgh close by with four business incubation centres in the city. These are really active in the start-up and innovation community and provide founders with their expertise and useful advice.

Belfast: The Irish city is currently trying to encourage Tech start-ups to launch their businesses here, with a £15,000 investment incentive. As a whole, Northern Ireland is the most cost-effective region within the UK for software development. Once reliant upon shipbuilding and linen, Belfast now commands average office costs of £6.82 per square foot per month, above those of both Brighton and Edinburgh.

Manchester: In 2014 the BBC relocated 220 staff to Salford, Manchester. Jostling with Edinburgh for the most liveable place in the country, Manchester is right at the centre of the 'Northern Powerhouse'. Being just over two hours from London by train, with the UK’s largest international airport outside the capital, Manchester now receives more foreign direct investment than any city outside of London. Rental levels for prime and secondary office space in central Manchester are now almost double those of city centre Liverpool, with Grade A office space in central Manchester coming in at £34 per square foot back in 2015!

As outlined at the start of this article, location will always play its part in the prices you will be expected to pay for your office rent. Having reviewed just five UK city office space costs per square foot, we’re still mightily glad to have our office design, fitout and furniture business based in Brighton.

If we didn’t mention your city but you’re still interested you might find the Offices Rents Map of use.


Office Lighting Levels

Effectively lit and attractive environments enhance your image, help you recruit and retain high-value employees, and increase the total value of your facility.

Lighting in workplaces, offices and industrial spaces has a profound effect on the well-being and productivity of all workers. Dimly lit offices have an impact on employee’s efficiency with low levels of light affecting peoples' alertness and causing health issues such as eyestrain and headaches.

At the other end of the scale, lighting which is too bright can trigger migraines and also causes eyestrain as the eye needs to work harder to focus in bright light.

Getting the balance of light right can have a major impact on a person’s health.

With this in mind, here are 20six's top tips to help you get your office lighting levels spot on.

How To Get Your Office Lighting Right:

Go Au Naturel: The problem with sun light is that it is, well, so bright. Bright light and computer screens don't tend to work well together. If, however, you are an architect or a designer who works more on sheets and paper instead of tech gadgets, then a flood of natural light is a welcome addition. Natural light remains important to our circadian rhythm, so where possible use natural light in a controlled fashion to enhance and compliment the artificial illumination. By aligning desks and workstations in the north or south directions the natural light won't create unwanted shadows or glare on computer screens.

Fluorescent Flickering: Whilst natural light is not always an option, if you have inherited fluorescent strips it's time to consider an upgrade. They may appear cost effective on the surface as the bulbs are long lasting, but fluorescent lighting can result in negative health issues to employees, causing headaches, migraines and eye problems. If your office has fluorescent tubes consider upgrading to LED tubes, which flicker less, and can save money in the long term*.

An Air Of Ambience: Where possible you need to think of your office lighting design in terms of layers. Your main overhead lighting will provide the base, your individual task lighting gives you independent functionality and accent lighting adds an air of ambience. Each layer needs to be at a different level to ensure that one does not interfere with or overwhelm the other.

Lighten Your Finances: By sticking with what you've got and not updating your office lighting systems to more efficient models you could be out of pocket. With an estimated 80% of lighting used in buildings being classed as old technology (by which we mean ‘static’ office lighting controlled by one switch) most offices are stuck with either all on or all off. Illuminating unoccupied spaces is just throwing money out the window and a more efficient way to light the office is to use lighting control systems.

Step Out Of The Light: It's not all about the lighting systems you have. We have already referred to the positioning of work stations and desks, but it is also worth making your office décor as light as your company branding will allow. Dark fittings and fixtures will absorb light and thus make the artificial lighting work harder, costing you more money. A well organised, clean and tidy office says to employees and clients that you are in control of your environment, your tasks, your workload. And it also plays a part in the effectiveness of the office lighting. For example, having your windows regularly cleaned will enhance the free, natural light coming through.

Your office lighting levels are important on the health and well-being of your employees, on the impressions that you make on your clients, and a contributory factor on your electricity bills, which is why it is important that you consider your office lighting in your overall office design plans.

*a large office using 300 fluorescent tubes running for 7 hours a day could save £2,529 a year by converting to LED tubes.


Urban Office Garden Design

City Garden Office Design - The Green Workspace

Living in our temperate climate we are a nation obsessed with the weather. It's finally turned warmer out there and you can witness the difference a bit of sunshine makes on the smiles of those you pass on your way to or from work.

But we are also a nation of workaholics: Those of us who work in offices spend on average nearly five hours a day sitting down without moving and 9.3 hours per day in total at the office. When the weather is kind to us a lot of us who work these long hours miss out on the best parts of the day.

So it was of interest to us to read about the urban office garden design schemes that are becoming "the norm" in New York, including vertical and roof gardens for office workers, and even bee keeping facilities.

And then there is the development of the "Greenhouse in the sky: Europe's biggest urban farm" on the rooftop of the empty 1950s office block that once belonged to a Dutch telecommunications company.

Nearer home, we know that Google's London office has a "secret" rooftop garden where some of the employees grow veggies, and there are plenty of other city based office buildings who are embracing the "green office" within the space that they have.

With reports that the average UK worker spends around one third of their working life feeling stressed, the benefits of making the most of limited space to bring a flash of greenery to a cityscape begin to add up. In addition to improved employee engagement and productivity, urban office gardens help reduce carbon emissions, improve the property's value, and even reduce noise entering the building.

Needless to say, the option of adding an urban garden to your office is limited by the space that you occupy. Nonetheless, if you do have room, up on the roof or a disused backyard, why not consider turning it into a green office extension?

20six have helped a range of businesses develop and furnish their office garden spaces, so if this is something that you would like assistance with then please do get in touch with us.

UPDATE: In the last few days Facebook have released images of their Seattle Office which has a rather splendid urban office garden....