As lockdown eases, and with safety measures in place, life at Parallel House has returned. We are open and have adapted to working under the ‘new normal’ conditions.
In line with the government’s announcement on March 23rd, we formally advised clients to work from home first thing the following day on March 24th. We put a skeleton team in place to monitor the interior and exterior of the building. Our clients have 24/7 access and we knew some would need to access their server, collect documents, complete work in progress or use the superfast gigabit connection for international video-conferencing. Internal and external touch points were thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis to ensure the safety of anyone accessing the House.
While the offices remained quiet, some daily activities, like garden maintenance and routine health and safety checks, continued. The entire building and grounds were monitored for accidental damage and external contractors visited to complete essential work. In due course, and as guidance from the government evolved, we were able to implement a thorough risk assessment tailored to the complexities of a historic building. Following an external audit, we shared the new policies and procedures with clients on May 28th and requested records of their own company’s risk assessment. This encouraged some to invite staff back to the office, depending on their role, personal circumstances and ability to work from home.
There is currently a cross section of clients using the building, not all daily nor back to full capacity, but we are interacting with them and our neighbours too. We are now carefully planning client meetings and workshops over the coming months in line with social distancing rules.
For many, coming back to the office is a welcome respite after months of working from home. According to a recent report in The Times, a survey of 3,000 workers found that 58 per cent missed office life. People aged 35 and under showed the strongest desire to return, at 65 per cent. Human interaction and socialising with colleagues were the most missed elements of the office, at 44 per cent, followed by collective face-to-face debate at 29 per cent.
The opportunities for companionship, collaboration, creativity, and confidence in the working space, appear to be the driving force behind the desire to return after weeks of working in isolation. Under the new safety guidelines outlined by the government, we have been busy behind the scenes creating an environment in which to support our clients to do just that.
One of the many strengths of Parallel House is its chameleon ability to adapt to business needs. The building has the added benefit of large, spacious offices all with opening windows to maximise air flow.
Enhanced wi-fi offers extensive connectivity within the peaceful surroundings of the back garden, where there is seating for clients. Inside, HD screens and video conferencing platforms in the Boardroom can be configured to suit individual needs.
If there’s one thing recent times have shown us, it’s that life can be unpredictable. The essence of serviced offices requires an ability to adapt and change with the times, and the needs of the clients. Our flexible, short term licences and affordable desk rates are ideally suited to anyone looking to return to a professional and safe working environment after many months of home working.
We are so happy to see the Parallel House come alive again. Thank you to Guildford Borough Council for their understanding and prompt support of our SME occupiers. Via the government relief grant, we’ve been working together with the councillors and officers at the Council, who promptly went the extra mile, and helped to ease cash flow problems for some of our clients.
At this very difficult time for us all, we wanted to share a positive social media post from one of our partners, Matt Maurice Event Music, which reiterates the sentiment of HM Queen Elizabeth’s speech on Sunday. We will all meet again once these days are behind us and life returns to normal. We hope that during this time you and your families are keeping well and remaining positive.
Sending you our very best wishes for a calm and peaceful Easter.
Sandra, Steph and the team.
SHOP LOCAL WITH HOME DELIVERY
We’re so lucky to have a wonderful choice of food and drink suppliers with high quality produce who are offering home delivery services or click & collect during lockdown.
Our particular favourites are Bramble Farm, Kalm Kitchen, Cook and Applegarth Farm.
60 SECONDS INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE MCKENNA
In the latest 60 Seconds With…interview from our sister Business Centre, Fetcham Park, Danielle McKenna, founder of Lioness Life Coaching, talks about her work with entrepreneurs and creatives, and how to keep a positive mindset in these particularly challenging times.
Read the interview: www.fetchampark.co.uk/blog/60-seconds-with-danielle-mckenna-at-lioness-life-coaching/
CLASSIC CAR COLOURING FOR THE KIDS
Shared by Bell & Colvill on their Facebook page are a choice of colouring sheets designed by Morgan Motor’s resident children’s author and Morgan Development Engineer, James Waller, from his next Morgan children’s book.
To print these off and keep the kids amused, visit the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BellandColvill
OUR PROPERTY PORTFOLIO
Don’t forget as a client of Parallel House you have access to our sister properties at Fetcham Park and Cams Hall, at preferential client rates, both of which have excellent meeting and event facilities.
This month, Challengers celebrates 40 incredible years providing fun and safe places where all disabled children and young people can spend time with their friends.
Established in Guildford in 1979, Challengers non-exclusion policy is truly unique. They believe every child and young person should have the opportunity to play, irrespective of their disability. This means Challengers will never turn a child away no matter what level of support they need.
This unwavering commitment and promise to the community has seen the charity grow from its Surrey roots to 26 locations in Hampshire, West Sussex, Berkshire and several London Boroughs.
Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York visited Challengers on Wednesday 12th July to mark the 40th birthday. The Princess met children at the pre-school alongside the many staff and volunteers who make Challengers a reality for the 1,400 disabled children and young people who access their inclusive services.
HRH said during her visit: “Challengers stands for inclusion, fun and family and I could not be more thrilled to be here to mark your 40th birthday. From the moment I entered the building, it felt like I was joining a family that celebrates and supports all children and their families”.
Every child and young person has the right to play
Play is an important part of everyday life. It helps develop physical and mental health, encourages and improves friendships, builds confidence and self-esteem. Yet many disabled children and young people do not have the opportunity to take part.
86% of disabled children do not have access to regular play or leisure activities (Contact Report 2015) and 97% of parents with a disabled child say the public does not understand the challenges they face (Disabled Children’s Partnership 2017).
Laura Sercombe, chief executive at Challengers for the past seven years, says the charity is “driven by fairness.” “The world doesn’t make it fair for disabled people,” she continues, “which is why our non-exclusion policy is so vital for the children and families we support.”
One such inspiring story is that of 8-year-old “James”. A ventilated child with a life-limiting condition, he was unable to go to school and lived alone with his mother, the sole parent and main caregiver. James started to attend Challengers summer play schemes. Due to the complexities of his condition, a specialist nurse was needed to make his visits possible. Sadly, James passed away but thanks to Challengers he had the opportunity to play and make friends while his mum watched her son having fun on the bouncy castle for the very first time.
A startling 51% of children have been intentionally excluded from play opportunities by play providers. Challengers recognise the barriers that prevent many disabled children and their families from playing – from physical impairments to a lack of accessible play facilities or just simply a lack of time and support.
But the barriers never deter them. What makes Challengers so special is their total commitment to providing opportunities to play for every child. This requires heavy investment in staff and volunteer training and specialist care.
“Our team is phenomenal,” enthuses Laura, “we have a culture where everyone works very hard and has a ‘can do’ attitude, regardless of the complexities of the challenge.”
The Challenge for Challengers
Challengers’ milestone anniversary and the thousands of people they have helped over four decades is a formidable achievement, but the hard work doesn’t stop here.
“Charities need support more than ever,” urges Laura. “Cuts to government funding, the implications of Brexit and the rising costs of running a charity to comply with regulations means fundraising must increase year-on-year to fill the gap,” she continues.
Challengers’ non-exclusion policy increases the need for additional and specialist training to equip the 650 staff and volunteers with the skills required to manage a range of complex issues. Training is an enormous and costly task but it’s also what makes the charity so unique and vital.
The cost of running a charity is becoming more expensive. Minimum wage increase and health and safety regulations are just two of the rising costs which need to be accounted for. Add to this a reduction of 45% in funding from Local Authorities and the third sector is facing enormous challenges in the months and years ahead.
As an established charity with a growing regional operation, full-time team plus volunteers, well-known patrons and regular fundraisers, Laura feels the impression that “we are doing ok” may detract people from donating.
The reality is that more funding is desperately needed to help continue the work that enriches the community and changes so many lives for the better.
How can you help?
Challengers is a progressive charity with a dynamic fundraising strategy. High-profile patrons from the worlds of sport, media and business include Damon Hill OBE, Paralympic gold medallist Rachel Morris MBE, Michael Buerk, Peter Gordon and actress Jenny Seagrove, and many more who give their time, advice and expertise as well as fundraising.
Events range from sporting challenges to motoring events and Gala evenings. At Parallel House’s sister business centre Fetcham Park, there have been a variety of one-of-a-kind events including Motorsport Icons with the late John Surtees and Damon Hill in conversation with motorsport journalist and commentator Simon Taylor (pictured below).
As well as supporting these, there are many other ways to help local children and their families and ensure the charity achieves a sustainable future:
1). Join the Business Club
Established in 2011, Challengers Business Club is a dynamic group of locally based companies. As well as helping local children through Challengers, membership includes quarterly seminars from business leaders, business insight and high-quality networking opportunities like the Business Club suppers with BBC journalist Kate Adie, former Premier League football referee Graham Poll and Adam Crozier former chief executive officer of ITV at Fetcham Park. Each company membership provides 50 hours of play for a disabled child or young person. Find out more
2). Make a regular donation
Regular giving from as little as £10 per month via direct debit is one of the simplest ways of helping to sustain the future of Challengers. Find out more
3). Start payroll giving
Payroll giving is a tax efficient scheme that allows you to make regular donations to Challengers straight from your salary. As your donation is taken out before tax, it costs you less to give more.
4). Get involved
Organise your own event or join in with one hosted by Challengers and their supporters. On July 11thand 12th, you can raise money by taking part in Fetcham Park’s Static Bike Challenge.
5). Give Challengers a 40th birthday present
Simply donate online and wish them a Happy Birthday!
Congratulations to Challengers on #40YearsofFun. To find out more visit www.disability-challengers.org
New research by Belfast University has revealed that workers’ sedentary days cause more than 10,000 deaths a year. Staying seated for more than three hours a day has even been linked to serious illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and even lung cancer, costing the NHS a whopping £700 million annually.
This equates to around an incredible one in nine deaths in the UK every single year. These statistics are particularly worrying as two-thirds of workers actually spend in excess of six hours a day sitting.
Experts suggest that operators and employers could help tackle this problem by encouraging employees to use their breaks to incorporate exercise into the working day.
At Parallel House, we are conscious of the UK guidelines recommending two and a half hours of exercise every week. Our serviced offices are housed in two converted Georgian buildings that fuse modernity and tradition, just a few steps away from the heart of Guildford. With a separate meeting room and a large, private garden with various seating areas, taking a break from your desk for a walk around the grounds is easy.
The buzzing town centre is a few minutes away on foot and is full of amenities and places to grab lunch – the perfect reason to stretch your legs and get active during breaks. The location also makes it easy for employees to incorporate fitness activities and visits to the gym outside of working hours or during their lunch break.
Business moves fast, so Parallel House gives you the flexibility you need to keep up. There’s no lengthy lease or restrictive contract, just a simple license agreement for a fixed term of up to a year, tailored with the services that matter to you.
Find out more about serviced offices in Guildford at Parallel House by contacting the team on 01483 230300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Studies show that humans have a biological connection with nature, known as biophilia (introduced by Edward O. Wilson). So, it’s no wonder that the concept of outside working is good for the soul, and for business.
Working in nature has countless benefits, including improved mood, reduced stress levels and increased happiness, all pointing towards an overall increase in mental and physical well-being. Incorporating elements of nature into work environments can also enhance creativity and productivity levels.
We spend roughly 90 per cent of our working day inside, whether it be a building or on some form of transport. Why then, when mobile technology enables us to choose how, when and where we work, do we not consider working outside as an option?
Whether it’s taking 30 minutes to answer emails in the sunshine (catching some vital Vitamin-D!), taking a call while you stretch your legs, or meeting with colleagues at one of Parallel House’s seating areas – there’s plenty of choice at our central Guildford serviced offices.
At Parallel House, we can offer our clients outside working spaces for meetings, lunches or simply for break-out time and brainstorming.
Adding outdoor time into your working day at Parallel House is simple and beneficial to you and your business. So, start prioritising getting outside this summer, even just for lunch, a stroll around our grounds, or a quick break!
For more information about Serviced Offices and meeting spaces in Guildford at Parallel House visit www.parallelhouse.co.uk