Cotton Court Business Centre

Environment

office environment is more important than you think

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When workers talk about their ideal job, they’re usually concerned with two main concepts: the pay and the people. But there’s a third that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, and it’s one that can have a profound effect on your business and its workforce: the place. No one wants to spend forty hours a week in a windowless dungeon, shuffling across a grey carpet from one grey cubicle to the next. And if businesses don’t start to realise the value that their workers put on their environment, they may struggle to attract and retain the best staff.

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Recent research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that nearly half of the UK’s workers want upgrades to the properties they work in – and that a team’s surroundings can have a huge impact on how they feel about their job.

“With numerous industries currently fighting a war for talent, capable staff and skilled new joiners are like gold-dust for many companies,” says Paul Bagust, UK Commercial Property Director for RICS. “On that basis, businesses should be doing everything possible to recruit and retain the best people.”

“It’s disappointing, therefore, that many employers seem to be under-estimating – or perhaps not realising – the power of property in motivating, attracting and keeping staff. A well-constructed, designed and utilised office or workplace can pay huge dividends for the business that inhabits it.”

We took a look at a few of the highlights from the study: how your office can affect your workforce, and what the UK’s employees really want from a modern workplace.

The right workplace can boost recruitment

According the RICS’s survey of 1,000 UK employees, nearly nine in ten (89%) Brits who work indoors believe that the property is a major deciding factor in whether or not they’ll accept a new job. Behind pay and people, place was the third most important factor, beating “progression opportunities” (40%), “company culture” (36%) and other perks, such as gym memberships.

At a time when unemployment is low, self-employment is high, and a continuing skills gap means that many businesses are still struggling to get the staff they need, companies of all sizes should be taking every opportunity to present themselves as attractive employers. That means offering competitive pay, demonstrating a rewarding culture, and having the right space for their workforce to thrive and be happy.

A positive environment creates a positive team

Let’s face it: life in the office isn’t always an action-packed adventure. And while spreadsheets and invoices definitely have their charms, working in comfortable, stimulating surroundings can make even the most dreary or stressful work a little bit more bearable.

It’s certainly something that UK employees are aware of. RICS’s research found that an overwhelming 88% of workers said that high-quality offices and workplace facilities have an impact on their overall job satisfaction.

But it’s not just a case of seeking the elusive concept of an ‘engaged workforce’. The quality and design of your office space can also have an effect on your team’s health and well-being. According to Lindsey Dugdill, a professor of public health at the University of Salford, even inexpensive features – such as the colour of the walls or the presence of plants – can make a difference.

“Certain colours, like green and blue, are seen to be less stressful,” she says, “so even quite simple things, such as the colour an employer paints a wall, can have quite a pronounced effect on the way staff feel”.

And a positive team becomes a loyal workforce

According to recent research by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), more than a third of UK workers are hoping to leave their current job in 2015 – a figure that’s doubled since 2014, and tripled since 2013. While it’s encouraging to see what the ILM calls “the return of ambition to the UK workforce”, it also means that employers need to work harder than ever if they want to keep their most valuable employees from looking elsewhere.

But according to the RICS’s survey, it’s not just better pay or promising career opportunities that are making UK workers jump ship. Four fifths of the survey’s respondents said their workplace had an effect on whether or not they intend to stay in their job, which means that businesses need to think carefully about their premises if they want to give their workforce what they want.

So just what do the UK’s workers want?

Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating the most productive, engaging and comfortable workplace possible. But from the RICS’s pool of 1,000 employees, we should at least be able to get a representative clue. Here are the top 10 most desirable workplace traits:

01. Lots of natural light (63%)
02. Good heating/ventilation (62%)
03. Regular cleaning (52%)
04. Good kitchen facilities (44%)
05. Good security (38%)
06. A café/bar/restaurant on site (31%)
07. A space to work away from the desk (26%)
08. A gym on site (15%)
09. A good colour scheme (13%)
10. High ceilings (13%)

Attracting and retaining the best talent for your business isn’t an overnight fix – but finding the ideal premises might be. Find out how a smart, flexible, fully-equipped workspace could give your business the boost it needs.

To find out more about what we have to offer please call: 01772 507 767 and speak to one of the team alternatively you can email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

A celebration of everyday cycling!

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Cycle to Work Day is a national event held on 3rd September 2015. It aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for at least one day.

According to the census data, 760,000 people in the UK cycle to work regularly – this number keeps growing steadily, but with Cycle to Work Day’s help we are aiming to make those numbers skyrocket this year and beyond! By 2021, we hope to see one million people regularly commuting to work by bike.

WIN PRIZES FOR CYCLE TO WORK DAY

Cycle to Work Day is a national event, which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day. It’s on 3rd September this year, and you can pledge your miles by visiting www.CycleToWorkDay.org.

There’s the chance to win some fantastic prizes too:

  • Pledge now to ride on the day at www.CycletoWorkDay.org and be automatically entered to win one of three Claud Butler bikes and other bike goodies.
  • Enter the 12 Day Prize Countdown. It starts on 24 August, just follow Cycle to Work Day onFacebook and Twitter to take part.
  • Last but not least, you can enter another exclusive draw to win a Claud Butler bike by sharing a photo you on your bike on 3rd September using the #CycleToWorkDay hashtag.

Don’t forget, cycling to work is great for your health, saves you money on travel and is a great way to de-stress at the end of a long day! If you don’t normally cycle, why not hit the streets on September 3rd feeling safe in the knowledge that you’ll be one of thousands experimenting with 2 wheels and riding to work that day!

TREAT YOUR BIKE TO A FREE HEALTH CHECK

Free Bike Health Checks are available between 24 August – 4 September. Hundreds of local bike shops across the UK are offering the check to celebrate Cycle to Work Day – think of it as a MOT for your bike. A trained professional will assess your trusty steed and give it a simple rating of either Green, Amber or Red. As you might expect, Green indicates your bike is in tip-top condition, Amber or Red means it is advisable to book your bike in for a service before you tackle your commute – safety is paramount!

Find our good friends Broadgate Cycle Stores on the list of local participating retailers offering this service: www.cycletoworkday.org/retailer-finder

We Add Cycle Storage Facility

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We now offer a safe place for staff & customers to store their bikes with our new storage facilities. We are looking to encourage more people to cycle to work with the new cycle storage, as cycling is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK – and after the success of the British leg of the Tour de France, no doubt a new wave of cyclists will be inspired.

Working with local family run business, Broadgate Cycles in Penwortham, we have equipped the area with safe secure racks for people to locate and lock their bikes too, which is also in a secure locked area for extra peace of mind.

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Why did we look to provide cycle storage?

We noticed an increase in visitors enquiring and also arriving on their bikes, we thought it was only right to provide them with somewhere safe to keep their bike. With Preston’s Guild wheel on our doorstep as well as a host of other cycle paths and routes, we are very much at the heart of the national cycle network it has made us extremely accessible for cyclists.

What is the Guild Wheel? 

A 21 miles of greenway around Preston opened to celebrate the 2012 Guild. The new route circles Preston, linking the city to the countryside and river. Highlights of the route include the section of the route along the river from Preston Docks to Brockholes Nature Reserve by the M6.

This circular cycling and walking route takes you on a tour of the parks, rivers, docklands and countryside around Preston in Lancashire. Route highlights include the delightful Avenham park with its riverside gardens and a stretch along the Riversway Docklands and Marina. There are also long waterside sections along the River Ribble and a visit to the peaceful Brockholes Nature Reserve.

To find out about all cycling routes in Preston please visit Lancashire County Council – cycle routes in Preston. We have also added a number of popular cycling routes in Preston, which can be downloaded from the documents section.

We would like to thank Dave Butcher & Dave Wilson from Broadgate Cycles in Penwortham for all their help and assistance and to working with them closely in the future.

Who are Broadgate Cycles?

They care passionately about every element of their business, your cycling requirements and the community. This passion has been in their DNA since we opened our doors in 1950.

Broadgate Cycles is popular with professional athletes, club cyclists and cycle enthusiasts looking for performance bikes. A quick view of their website and you can see some of the leading specialist brands they have in stock. In addition, David Wilson, a co-owner, has a UK reputation for his technical engineering ability and is on hand all week to offer advice on the real serious stuff.

 

 

Cotton Court Business Centre is backing Boost

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Cotton Court Business Centre has thrown its weight behind Boost Business Lancashire, the £7.2million Lancashire Business Growth Hub.

Boost is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and offers a range of funded programmes to Lancashire businesses looking to grow.

The development and delivery partnership is between Lancashire Country Council Community & Business Partners, UCLan, Lancaster University, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire and Winning Pitch.

The aim of Boost is to grow the county’s economy by £20m and create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.

As part of the project, the growth hub has joined forces with the business support community to create Boost & Co, a membership group aiming to stimulate growth among businesses across the county.

Andrew Leeming, senior projects officer for Lancashire County Council, said: “We passionately believe that the wider business support community provides an invaluable service to growing businesses within Lancashire.

“Simply put, without the accountants, law firms, venture capital firms, banks, colleges, professional and business membership groups, media organisations and other relevant bodies, Lancashire would not be a great place to do business.

“By being part of Boost & Co, member firms can help their clients and members access and benefit from Boost’s funded business support programmes.”

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has provided £3.6million of funding to the Lancashire Business Growth Hub.

For further information visit www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk.

Preston – It Smiles Better! ‘Proudest city in Great Britain’.

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It’s official; Preston is one of the happiest places to live in the UK being crowned the ‘Proudest city in Great Britain’.

The city beat off some stiff competition from towns and cities across the country to make it to the top spot in the annual Right Move Happy at Home survey.  Late 2013, Preston was also considered as a ‘Kindness Hotspot’ by Coca Cola following their annual tour of England.

Proud by nature, the smiley face of Preston has raised the bar yet again by producing its own short Film about the happy city.

John Boydell, Chair of Preston’s Business Improvement District (BID), the body behind the films production said: “BID works hard to promote the city centre following this announcement we felt we had to do something to add to this accolade.  ‘Preston, It Smiles Better’ is a film which clearly demonstrates why our city is great places to live, work, invest and visit.  We are hoping that the population gets behind this initiative by sharing with our neighbours just why we ‘smile better”.

Shot in the city centre, the film features some notable Prestonians as well as business owners and managers going about their daily work.  From the city’s first citizen to ‘Tommy’ the man who keeps the streets clean to Radio Lancashire’s ‘Gilly’, a proud ‘adopted’ Prestonian, it’s the people that make the city a happy, positive place to live.

Prestfest Wins National Recognition!!

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Prestfest, a campaign introduced by Preston’s Business Improvement District (BID) in association with the city’s night time economy businesses, has been highly commended as one of the best projects in the country at the ATCM national awards.

Prestfest was officially recognised by industry leaders for “outstanding achievement in town and city management”, in particular for “developing the early evening & night time economy”.

The team here are very proud to have been involved since its conception and look forward to continuing to support the Chamber of Commerce & the Business Improvement District (BID)

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Prestfest went head to head with projects from across the UK and was recognised during the Association of Town & City Management’s Annual Awards Dinner in Dundee.

Prestfest, a twice-annual campaign, held recently across the May bank-holiday weekend, brought together the city’s night time attractions and promoted a wide range of in-venue and on the street activities and events.  77% of venues across the city centre who took part in the campaign reported that footfall was up year on year across the Prestfest weekend.

Jessica Toomey, Chair of Preston At Night said:  “We are thrilled to have been officially recognised for our work in promoting Preston’s night time economy, particularly having beaten of stiff competition to be highly commended for Prestfest.  Preston BID and city centre night time economy businesses worked really hard to pull out all the stops to ensure Prestfest visitors had a great time”.

She continued: “No one across Lancashire celebrates their evening leisure offer like Preston does, we’re resolute that we have to keep promoting the best of the city and encouraging new people to visit and those that do visit, come more frequently.  Events like Prestfest are important because they bring businesses together for the common good and offer something a little bit different to visitors.  This recognition only strengthens Preston’s position as the best night out in Lancashire”.

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Prestfest is to return to the city centre later this year and was introduced in order to promote the city centre’s Purple Flag accreditation for a safe, vibrant and enjoyable night out. 

Preston is still the only destination in Lancashire to have successfully secured the accreditation.

 

Sky Ride Local in Preston returns Sunday 6th July

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Not cycled for a while and looking for an easy way to get back in the saddle? Fancy a fun way to get your friends or kids riding? Our Easygoing rides are great for building confidence for all abilities and ages along relaxed, mostly traffic-free routes. They’re up to six miles long, with a gentle pace of around six miles an hour.

This Easygoing four mile ramble explores the woodsy surroundings of the River Ribble, south of Preston. Starting and finishing at Frenchwood Recreation Ground, it’s a circular route on traffic-free shale paths, making it a family-friendly ride. No ride is complete without a cake stop, and it just so happens that there’s an excellent tea shop en route. If you and the family have ever wanted to explore the Ribble by bike, then here’s your chance!

To find out more please go to: Sky Ride working with British Cycling or to our event page

Redefined perception of the ice cold spaceman

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A slightly different blog from us this week, but one we thought lent to the power of social media! & how CMD Chris Hadfield changing the public perception of the ice cold spaceman by Canada’s first spaceman.

Chris Hadfield: astronaut, troubadour, tweeter – and a true Space Oddity – quote from Guardian Newspaper

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield to return to Earth on Early Tuesday morning from a five-month stint on board the International Space Station.

Chris Hadfield tells the BBC about his photos of Earth – during an interview from space

Since docking with the ISS in a Soyuz craft in December, the 53-year-old station commander has kept hundreds of thousands of followers back on Earth informed and entertained from orbit.

He has tweeted from the space station at least 1,500 times, capturing remarkable images of many corners of the world. His first photograph came in his first tweet from the ISS: “Space Station! Floating free, buoyed up even more by my smile. His first days were marked by a series of photos detailing life inside the space station. But he soon branched out into striking orbital landscapes of the planet below.

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We have collected just a few of Cmdr Hadfield’s tweeted shots and captions here – more are available by browsing his Twitter feed @Cmdr_Hadfield.

A former fighter pilot, Chris Hadfield became a trainee astronaut in 1992 after winning selection from a field of 5,330 applicants, according to Nasa. He flew on board the space shuttle, docking with the Russian space station Mir and as part of an assembly flight to the ISS in 2001. He eventually won his own slot on board the ISS in 2010, training for his current mission until lift-off in December 2012. After gathering hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers during his months on board, he made one final hit as the time came for his departure from the ISS.

He posted a striking video to YouTube of him performing a version of David Bowie’s renowned 1969 hit song Space Oddity. The video quickly went viral, and even prompted a response from Bowie’s own official account: “Hallo Spaceboy…”


 

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Below is a selection of our favourite images taken by @Cmdr_Hadfield

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What is the Lancashire Cycle Challenge?

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The Lancashire Cycle Challenge is a fun, free competition to encourage your colleagues to remember the joys and benefits of riding a bike. There are lots of fantastic prizes on offer to tempt your team; from cinema tickets and local restaurant vouchers, to bike gear to support your cycle journey.

How it works

It’s all about participation – which workplaces can get the most people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more?

Lancashire businesses will compete against each other to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike between Monday 17 June to Sunday 7 July.

It’s not about who can cycle the most miles, but who can encourage the most people to give cycling a go.

Recruit workmates to ride a bike to climb up the leaderboard and win the Challenge. People only need to cycle for 10 minutes or more! It’s easy and fun!

 

To sign up! Follow the link: Love to Ride Lancashire

More information: Challenge for Change Website

Getting involved in National Bike Week 2013

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This year Cotton Court Business Centre are getting involved in Bike Week is the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling event, with almost half a million people participating at events across the country.

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Bike Week is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by making ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to the local shops, school, the library or just to visit friends.

Follow as our staff get involved Cotton Court Twitter #CottonCourt #JonRides #BikeWeek

For more information: British Cycling Website | Bike Week Website