I write this article from the centre of London. The city I call home and love dearly. And yet, I find myself having to write about the benefits of leaving.
This isn’t going where you think it is though.
I’m always reticent to entertain articles which promote working outside a city, and feel the need to slander the metropolis in question.
If I’m truly honest, I don’t know where I’ll live after I leave London.
But I know I’ll be ready for an adventure of a different kind soon enough. And having lived in Birmingham, Stratford on Avon, Oxford and now here, I’m not shy of mixing it up.
But there’s always a bigger question when one has wanderlust…
Surely, whilst London remains one of the financial epicentres in Europe… at time of writing… leaving behind that commercial hub will leave a void, right?
How tied are we, to the business in our nearest city?
Is being physically present absolutely necessary?
Well, I’m here to tell you whether it’s London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sydney or Melbourne, it’s probably not as important as you think.
And to help me prove my point is Michael Colton Director of Irwin & Colton, based… you’ve guessed it, outside of London, in Rickmansworth.
In truth, I wonder whether recruiters have ever been restricted by location?
There are markets, sure enough, where ‘time on site’ is heralded as crucial.
More now perhaps, with the rise of the Internal Recruitment juggernaut, that tangible link exists.
Agency recruitment, whether contingency or retained, remains possible, just as it’s always been, in a different location to your clients and candidates.
And now, with the unstoppable rise of tech, that fact’s become even clearer.
Technology supports remote working and communication channels which remove the obstructions of not being physically present.
And more businesses are enjoying the benefits of basing themselves in locations more conducive to day-to-day happiness.
So, that might mean somewhere outside the city?
And whilst I’ve promised not to bash London here, it’s definitely true the capital is more expensive than the surrounding areas.
And that often comes with a smaller, more enjoyable commute.
The Founders of Irwin & Colton were tired of commuting into the city everyday and thought there had to be another way. So they were careful to choose a market specialism with a national client base.
One which allowed them to think outside the city limits. But also had room for growth, sustainability and would impact the world around them.
Sure, there are clients in London. But also in plenty of other locations.
And what were the benefits of this idea?
Well firstly, their people were able to stop spending £4k on trains every year.
But naturally, as the permutations of that decision filtered through, more positives followed.
Just not being based in the city will open up a lot of options for housing. And, depending on your office location, should make commuting a lot nicer.
At Irwin & Colton, there’s a lunchtime running club which takes advantage of the countryside on their doorstep. Something that’s a touch difficult in London, unless you’re based near a park.
And even then, the air quality can’t compare.
But because Irwin & Colton are based on the Met Line, they can still get into Marylebone in 20 minutes. Which is the same journey time as being based in the city.
So, whilst employees from this business are likely to position their London meetings on the same day to maximise time out the office, even if there’s a rogue appointment, it won’t cut into the week too much.
You can do this too.
If you’re in control of where you base your business, rural doesn’t have to mean out of the action.
And just cause you don’t own your own business, doesn’t mean you can’t control it.
So many businesses are in favour of flexible and remote working now, you just need to find a business which supports you. Luckily, on Hunted, that’s really easy.
It’s not a revolutionary statement to say buildings, the use and purchase of, are more expensive in cities.
That doesn’t depend on the city either.
I’d say almost universally, the average price of renting, both commercially and domestically, is higher in a city than the area that surrounds it.
The reason for this is obvious. There’s just more of a reason to live in a city.
Irwin & Colton work within Health & Safety. And that specialism covers all manner of roles. So wellbeing and sustainability, and Environment in the wider sense, which is becoming a crucial factor for most companies across the world.
This also means, as a client base, you’re working with businesses based all over the UK.
Which makes choosing a more rural office not only easier, but has a knock-one effect for other benefits.
A lower cost for financing rent means money can be spent elsewhere.
Maybe that’s a training budget? Or maybe it’s an inflated commission scheme? It could mean more being spent on the yearly incentive?
Irwin & Colton invest in two main areas.
Their people and their tech. And whether you decide this approach is for you, or you go in another direction, it’s a safe bet for driving higher retention.
Moving out of the city isn’t for everyone.
In fact, it’s not even possible for everyone. Sometimes, you’re inextricably attached.
Be that for the business opportunities, your market, your employer, your career etc.
That said, there’s nothing in that list above which you can’t change. And if you’re looking towards greener pastures, literally and figuratively, right now with envy, making the move is very much achievable.
Senior Recruitment Consultant at New Chapter Consulting
Part Time Consultant/Senior Consultant at Deltra Group
Principle Consultant - Contract & Interim at DNA Recruit
Global Headhunter & Account Manager at Emerald Technology
Consultant - Principal Consultant - Marketing at EMR