Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Getting the Best of Both Worlds; the High Cost of Housing and Long Commutes Are Making It Harder for Employees to Live and Work in London. but Few Want to Give Up on the Career Opportunities Available in the Capital. Niki Chesworth Says That There Are Solutions to This Growing Dilemma

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Getting the Best of Both Worlds; the High Cost of Housing and Long Commutes Are Making It Harder for Employees to Live and Work in London. but Few Want to Give Up on the Career Opportunities Available in the Capital. Niki Chesworth Says That There Are Solutions to This Growing Dilemma

Article excerpt

Byline: Niki Ches

IF YOU went away to another part of the UK over Easter, the chances are you just could not resist the compulsion to look in local estate agents' windows just to check out what you could afford to buy.

Londoners are quite easy to spot. They are the ones gasping at how affordable the homes are "out here" and discussing just what they could purchase for their broom cupboard in the capital.

In the past the costs of getting off the London career ladder, or facing an even longer and more expensive commute, meant that these dream homes often remained just that -- dreams.

However, technological innovation is making the move more viable. You can still have the benefits of a London career, live somewhere affordable and enjoy a better work-life balance.

Millennials -- roughly those aged 21 to 40 -- are the ones leading the exodus. Latest figures are a little of out date (for 2014), but give an indication of the numbers moving out. In that year nearly 129,000 millennials left London, up seven per cent on the year before.

You do not have to move that far. A report from Savills says that it is the outer London boroughs that could be the next hotspot -- with flexible office spaces and affordable homes enabling employees to live close to work.

THE FUTURE OF WORK You could also work virtually. Technology often means that it does not matter where you work.

Zone is a digital agency which operates in Bristol and London as well as Cologne. Chief technology officer Dominic Mills says that technology such as like Slack (for internal messaging), Egnyte (for document sharing) and HD video conferencing "enable anyone to talk to anyone else in the agency regardless of where they are in the world".

The agency's recent move to Bristol also enabled it to create an office that met employees' expectations, with sofas (lots of sofas), standing desks and a large kitchen/eating area with a beer fridge (yes, that is for real).

So while workers have traditionally been attracted to work in London for the types of roles (and the pay), Zone has had no problem in getting people to work in Bristol. "The new space makes it easier to attract new staff," says Mills. "Prospective new recruits see a relaxed working environment."

Some staff have moved to Bristol, while others work in London, so it is about choice. "Everything is Cloudbased," says Mills. "So you do not have to be in the office to feel connected with the team."

As a result, only half of Zone's 300-strong team is London-based, with the rest working remotely or from its offices in Bristol and Cologne.

"By offering employees the freedom to work on their own terms, we can collaborate seamlessly across multiple locations, servicing international clients with teams picked by their capability, not their location," adds Mills. …

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