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EMPLOYEES VOTE THREE SERVICED OFFICE COMPANIES THE BEST PLACE TO WORK

Three of the UK’s best known serviced office organisations - Business Environment, Avanta and Instant Offices - were given the thumbs up by staff when they were voted into the Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For league table for 2010. All three companies are members of the Business Centre Association.

Heading the trio is serviced office provider Business Environment which moved up 12 places on last year’s results to rank as the 23rd best small company to work for. It also received a three-star ‘outstanding’ accreditation which only 50 companies in the country have been awarded.

Simon Rusk, finance director of Business Environment, comments: “In any service industry, how you look after your staff then flows into the service that you provide to clients. The receptionist who is happy and empowered will want to do her best for that client when they walk through the door in the morning.”

He says that direct link between staff wellbeing and client service is crucially important, a correlation that is reflected in Business Environment also being voted the best business centre of the year by the Business Centre Association for three out of the last four years, including 2009.

In the Sunday Times league table, Business Environment came 8th overall in the staff wellbeing category. Simon says this is particularly notable given that they are competing against charities where employees have to be incredibly motivated to do their job. “It’s a real testament to how, as a team, we pull together and support each other,” he remarks.

A high score for personal growth helped serviced office provider Avanta to take 74th place in the Sunday Times league table. “Ensuring staff are happy, motivated and provided with promotion opportunities to achieve their career development ambitions is key to the ongoing success of any business,” comments Jill Jackson, Avanta’s director of HR and training.

“As a client-focused business, it is essential that the quality of customer care matches the high quality of the serviced office infrastructure that we provide, which is why we’ve developed our own training sponsorship scheme to enable centre staff to perform to the best of their ability, whilst enhancing their career prospects.”

Serviced office broker Instant Offices also made the grade with staff, coming in at 95th place in the Sunday Times ranking - the third consecutive year that the broker has been included. Founder and chief executive Rob Hamilton says the league table is an important benchmark of employee engagement with the company. It scored highly on staff interactivity, with 86% of employees stating that the company valued new ideas.

Staff are encouraged to join the ‘Hot House’, where teams look at developing new business ideas, and to vote for colleagues who have gone beyond the call of duty in a ‘Golden Ticket’ competition. Career progression is also important at Instant Offices, with young graduates given the opportunity to work their way up to manager level and to spend time abroad at the Sydney and Florida offices.

Jennifer Brooke, executive director of the Business Centre Association, says: “Having three BCA members in the top 100 Best Small Companies to Work For table clearly demonstrates that the professionalism and high standards of customer care that these companies convey externally are mirrored in their approach to their own staff, while also providing an enjoyable working environment.”

This year’s Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list – its 10th to date – was derived from entries by 964 companies across the UK. In total, the organisers surveyed the opinions of over 230,000 employ


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