Extolling the Benefits of Living Closer to Work

Live closer to work and avoid crowded public transport

Live closer to work and avoid crowded public transport

With working days getting longer, continual transport issues and the ever increasing cost of commuting I know that many people (including myself) have asked, “Wouldn’t it be nicer to live closer to work?”.

There’d be no overcrowded buses or tubes, no delays, no traffic jams and (possibly) no travel costs. Just a delightfully slow amble or bike ride to the office each morning, as the rest of the country battles their way in.

It seems I am not the only one who thinks like this, as Young London has recently seen a jump in the number of requests for rental properties within an easy commute (walk or bike ride) of the main employment areas in London’s Zones 1 & 2. As these are the areas we specialise in we’ve been more than happy to help people in their search.

But moving closer to work is not just about decreasing travel stress! There are also a raft of other benefits that this move can provide.

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Killing off Commission

Neil Young

Neil Young

Commission motivates staff to do their best!

This is a statement that is a truth wrapped up in a lie.

Commission based remuneration, which is the norm for the lettings industry, is where an employee is rewarded on the value of the transactions they get, can help to drive a business’s bottom line but it could encourage the wrong sort of behaviour and cause staff to: fight over the best leads, pressure applicants into signing as quickly as possible and, occasionally, lead to outright lies to get a deal.
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Young London represented at The Games

Young London Volunteer

Image: Young London Olympic Volunteer Raymar

The Olympics was not just about athletes performing at the top of their game to break Olympic and World Records. It was also about showcasing London to the world.  At the front line of this showcase were the Olympic Volunteers, men and women who gave up their time to be on hand to provide amazing customer service to support the Games and provide visitors, athletes, the media and officials with the very best possible experience.

One of those volunteers was Young London’s very own Raymar Batten, here she tells me about her experience of working at the games.

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“Fifteen per cent and rising?” – A look at Women in Property

Lesley-Anne, Chair of the Association of Women in Property

Lesley-Anne, Chair of the Association of Women in Property

Lesley-Anne Avis, real estate partner at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, is Chairman of the Association of Women in Property in this, the organisation’s 25th anniversary year.

In 1987, two property professionals – architect Elspeth Clements and surveyor Michelle Foster – met by chance at an industry event. Both agreed it was time something was done to raise the profile of women working in property and construction. That was the beginning of the Association of Women in Property (WiP). It’s twenty-five years later and, while a significant amount has changed, the fact still remains that women represent just 15% of the industry workforce.

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“Rude Receptionists Biggest Barrier to New Business”

receptionist

Front line staff create lasting impressions, photo: Owen Carey

This was the headline that caught my attention on the Business Matters website and, whilst singling out receptionists seems harsh, the thrust of the article really struck a chord.  It reported on a survey of 1,000 businesses from across the UK carried out by serviced office provider, Business Environment.

In some respects the findings were unsurprising;  “Bad-mannered front of house staff are the main reason that almost half of professionals are put off from doing business with other companies and more than one in three businesses would also be discouraged from working with other companies based on poorly presented staff.” Read more of this post

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On ‘Yer Bike?

Boris Bikes
Boris Bikes Ready for Riding!

In London, transport is probably talked about as often as the weather.

It’s funny; most forms of transport are great when they run to time and aren’t too busy. What frustrates is the inability to rely on what time you will arrive and what state you will be in when you get there!

Last weekend as a family we went out for the day by car to Legoland. It was noted that we had virtually no traffic either way and both journeys took about 45 mins. There was a real element of surprise. This is not our usual experience and the trip was all the more pleasurable because of it.

When I take the tube/train it’s great when there are no delays, very quick and efficient – and much more pleasant when it is not so crowded.  Buses are quite good, not great for long journeys, best for hopping on for a few stops. London’s proliferation of bus lanes do make a difference, but journeys can still be slowed by traffic.

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Property Sector Recruitment

Property Consultant specification
Property Consultant specification

Regular readers will know that Young Group’s letting and management company, Young London, approaches the sector with a new way of thinking.  We like to call it a new way of lettings – one that has customer service at its heart.

It’s demonstrated by Young London’s recruitment strategy.

We know how important it is for our team to know the legalities of lettings and management inside out, which is why we encourage all of our consultants to gain the NFoPP Technical Award qualification.  However, the property element of a consultant’s role is something that with the right commitment and training is not difficult to learn.

What’s more fundamental is our team’s attitude and customer service skills, which are what we look for when recruiting.  Candidates with strong customer service experience, particularly from within the retail and hospitality sectors are those who are most successful and make the most valuable contribution to the team.

The best way to demonstrate our approach is with our latest search specification for recruiting a new Property Consultant: http://www.younglondon.co.uk/downloads/OnlineJD_Property_Consultant.pdf.

 

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Making Customer Service a Boardroom Issue

Jo Causon

So, unemployment has reached its highest level since 1994. Jobless figures released last month by the Office for National Statistics showed a rise to 2.69 million. Every week we hear of well-known brands going into administration and there has been a substantial increase in the number of firms experiencing financial distress, compared with 12 months ago. Turbulent times.

There will be no more Kodak moments. After 133 years of trading, the company has been unable to make the necessary transition to the 21st century. Kodak’s downfall was primarily its inability to adapt to an increasingly digital world. It’s my belief that organisations which fail to adapt to the rapidly escalating and sophisticated demands of their customers – who are of necessity becoming more obsessed with value for money and wish to have much greater input through co-creation and collaboration – will see their fortunes decline. Conversely, the ones that put serving the customer right at the heart of their business strategy, aligning people, processes and systems will be the ones that don’t just stay the course, they will flourish. Read more of this post

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Tech Tuesday: Social Media Brand Failures

Waitrose is a company renowned for giving the best service out of all the supermarket heavyweights. Yet even companies as celebrated as Waitrose need only take a single step wrong for a wealth of unwanted attention to be showered down upon them.

Last summer Shell announced a new partnership with Waitrose, with two ‘Little Waitrose’ to feature on existing Shell Petrol forecourts. Some Waitrose customers are disappointed about this, because they feel Waitrose have positioned themselves as an ethical brand; Shell on the other hand often top the list of ‘least environmentally friendly’ companies.

Thoughts and opinions on ethical brands and partnerships aside, it is how Waitrose responded on social media sites today that has spurned criticism and unwanted attention. Read more of this post

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Tech Tuesday: Pinterest

Tech TuesdayLast year I discovered Pinterest, and realised it was exactly the type of social network that was missing from my life. I love pretty things, cool things, new things; from wanting cake pop decorating ideas (hello, muppets) to needing some infographic inspiration, Pinterest was the virtual pinboard I needed to visually save thoughts, ideas and inspirations.

Although initially the domain of soon-to-be brides, amateur bakers and beauty-holics, last week TechCrunch named Pinterest as the best new startup of 2011. Over the past week Pinterest related posts have popped up across the blogosphere, with every industry asking what Pinterest can do for them. At the beginning of January we created a Young London account, so here are a few ideas about what it can do for the property world… Read more of this post

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How to Get the Most from Property Viewings

When on Viewings, being Organised is Essential!

Looking to rent or buy a property? Or perhaps you are looking at buy-to-let options? Either way, there are some essential things you will need to consider when choosing a property. Affordability and mortgage finance aside, below are the practical things you should consider when viewing a property. Ensure you make the right decision by following our suggestions and asking lots of questions; a property is going to be your home or a hefty investment after all!

Arrive early
Get there early to explore the area around the property, allowing yourself plenty of time to get a feel for the neighbourhood, its character, what transport links are available and any amenities it has to offer.

Take someone with you
Be safe and take somebody along with you; not only will your viewing partner be able to offer an impartial second opinion, they could also notice something about the property, or ask that vital question you might have missed. Read more of this post

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Property Maintenance: How to Defrost a Freezer

Defrosting a Freezer image: Piotrus

Welcome back to our property maintenance series – you can see all relevant articles here.

Some of our popular ones include how to bleed a radiator, remove limescale and unblock a sink, so be sure to check them out.

When you leave a flat at the end of a tenancy it is usually the tenant’s responsibility to defrost a freezer. Again, it is one of a few very easy things to do that people often get worried about, but there really is no need. Follow the instructions below and you will be just fine!

First things first; empty your freezer! If you have a kind neighbour, see if you can use their freezer for an hour or two, otherwise place any food in a cool bag in a cool area to ensure things don’t thaw too much – and a top tip is to wrap any frozen items in newspaper for added insulation!  Remove all freezer draws and compartments and then turn off the freezer, unplugging it from the electricity supply (or turn off its main wall switch if it’s ‘hard-wired’ into a modern kitchen). Read more of this post

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City Guide: Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury - famous for its grandeur. Image: geograph

Bloomsbury is famous for its literary connections, educational institutions and hospitals. Located in the London Borough of Camden it has a rich history, and has been a popular residential location for hundreds of years. Characterised by a large number of beautiful garden squares, it has been a source of inspiration for many modern greats; the Bloomsbury Group, an elite literary social organisation which counted Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster as its members, is one such example of the area’s rich creative history.

For me, the thought of Bloomsbury primarily conjures up images of garden squares and parks. Surrounded by traditional Georgian architecture it is easy to step back in time and lose hours wandering in circles. Read more of this post

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Customer Service Experience

You may have noticed that we blog about customer service on a fairly regular basis. We do this in several ways, from comparing the service delivered by ASOS and Boots, praising the small e-business owner or talking to customer service advocates Jo Causon and Howard Morgan.

In anticipation of our next issue of PRSupdate, we are planning to collate a wealth of customer service experiences, and it would be great if you could share your view on the following:

Where have you received the best level of customer service, and what made it so good?

We would really appreciate your thoughts – please leave a comment below with your answer or email us at: info@younglondon.co.uk

 

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Customer Service; End of Term Report

Howard Morgan

It’s New Year and time to reflect on achievements and to plan the future. Three years ago, RealService boldly set out our vision of the property industry of the future.

With encouragement from Young Group, we have taken each of our ten predictions to see what’s been achieved to date.

1: Property companies will become brands or even ‘super brands’

A brand is much more than a logo – it is the essence or promise of what will be delivered or experienced. In my view there are 5 things that any property brand needs to get right.

  • Tangibles – the quality of the physical facilities that we build, businesses that we house or property management services we deliver
  • Reliability – making sure that these developments continue to deliver every time
  • Responsiveness – reacting quickly to whatever the customer wants and sorting problems out fast
  • Assurance – inspiring trust among customers
  • Empathy – demonstrating a true understanding of customers’ changing needs – making customers feel understood as individuals

By obsessively focusing on these 5 areas our industry will deliver increased value for shareholders, occupiers and local communities. Superbrands like Apple and John Lewis understand this. Westfield, CBRE and Land Securities seem to get it too. Read more of this post

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