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Topic: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?  (Read 1561 times)

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Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« on: November 06, 2019, 02:37:53 AM »
My husband has an opportunity to open an office for his company next summer, and they are offering him significant input into the location of the office.  I've been reading a lot here, but we are kind of stumped as to where we should suggest the company should go as there seem to be a lot of good options.

The good news is it's a software company, so there is no need to be in the heart of London, having customer visits, etc.  Right now we're kind of drawing a big circle around Heathrow and London as a starting point (and general recommendation from the company leaders).  We want to balance the long term desirability of the location to locals (we will only be there 2-3 years) along with it being a nice place for us (4 kids ages 4-11 used to a backyard and a park nearby).

Places like Oxford and Reading seem like solid options, often on "top places to live" lists, along with other options like High Wycomb that seem great but very expensive.

If you had the choice, where would you open the office?


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 08:01:43 AM »
What are the company's requirements?  I would, personally, look at that big circle you've drawn around London and focus outside of it, just because everything inside is really expensive.  But, then, I live in rural southwest Wales, so obviously I am frugal.  ;)
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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 08:17:09 AM »

I remember now, you posted this already:

https://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?topic=96798.msg1284178#msg1284178

May be better to keep everything in one thread, otherwise we have two threads with the same answers. 

If I were running a company and wanted to open up a software development office,  the UK would not be my choice.  Not close to Heathrow because of the cost, and not far away from Heathrow because you won't be able to find any developers. Even places that could possibly have enough workers, like Glasgow, are still going to be 5 or 10 times the cost of places like Romania, Czech Republic or India.  So, there's something about this that doesn't make sense, which makes it difficult to give better suggestions than we already have. 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 06:37:23 PM »
Are the developers going to be based in the UK? If yes, I recommend near one of the technology hubs and universities. Bracknell is affordable and has some tech spaces but I don't know about the rent, and we have pretty good transport links. There's a lot of tech companies up in Bourne End too (which is surprising because it's a small place). I can only speak to the patch of the UK I live in :)

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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 08:21:10 PM »
High Wycombe is definitely more affordable than some other areas.  Good links to Heathrow as well. 

I wouldn't live in Reading.  Reading area - absolutely.  Reading itself - nope.  I much prefer Bracknell to Reading but the schools aren't great if you'll be sending your kids to state schools.  Schools are pretty rubbish in Maidenhead area as well.  Not sure how they fair in High Wycombe but I can ask some colleagues.

Will your kids be at state schools or private schools?  As that will likely lead you to where you want to live.

As a polar opposite, consider Manchester.  MUCH more affordable, lower wages required for employees, but still a big hub.  They even have some schools that don't require uniforms! 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 01:01:24 AM »
Husband chiming in :)

This office is not going to be a place to find cheap developers.  This office is going to be a satellite office primarily with the goal of providing phone and email support for customers using the software.  It's pretty niche and expensive software and the support we do is very high end, almost more like consulting than "tech support."  We hire folks with degrees in statistics, economics, etc. to fill these roles, and it takes about a year for someone to become self-sufficient, so we want the office to be in a place where someone would want to live for a long time.  The average employee has been with the company for about 8 or more years.

So, England is the primary choice for the language and covering more hours of the day on the phones than we can do in the United States.  There's also a good number of industry events that take place in London and other major cities in Europe so that ease of travel (and thus proximity to a major airport like Heathrow) seems like a good thing to prioritize.

As far as schooling, we're not sure what we are going to do yet, but it makes more sense to prioritize the long-term attractiveness of the office over our family.

Hopefully that helps.  The company really values work-life balance, so finding a place where people want to live and can afford to live without long commutes seems like our priority.

Thanks!



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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2019, 08:00:14 AM »

Sounds like a great company to work for.  I don't think Heathrow is going to be your area then, as everyone around here pretty much has a hellish commute to a McJob anyway.  It's built into the system when house prices are high and transport links are poor. 

I like KFDancer's idea of Manchester, but know very little about it. 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 09:11:23 AM »
Husband chiming in :)

This office is not going to be a place to find cheap developers.  This office is going to be a satellite office primarily with the goal of providing phone and email support for customers using the software.  It's pretty niche and expensive software and the support we do is very high end, almost more like consulting than "tech support."  We hire folks with degrees in statistics, economics, etc. to fill these roles, and it takes about a year for someone to become self-sufficient, so we want the office to be in a place where someone would want to live for a long time.  The average employee has been with the company for about 8 or more years.

So, England is the primary choice for the language and covering more hours of the day on the phones than we can do in the United States.  There's also a good number of industry events that take place in London and other major cities in Europe so that ease of travel (and thus proximity to a major airport like Heathrow) seems like a good thing to prioritize.

As far as schooling, we're not sure what we are going to do yet, but it makes more sense to prioritize the long-term attractiveness of the office over our family.

Hopefully that helps.  The company really values work-life balance, so finding a place where people want to live and can afford to live without long commutes seems like our priority.

Thanks!



Schooling *will* be important to get the right employees in.  You want the area to have good state schools to attract good talent to work there. 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2019, 09:16:29 AM »
Maybe a University town would fit the bill.  Plenty of people who know about economics and statistics and there are plenty that can be pleasant to live.  Cambridge , Brighton, Durham, Oxford all come to mind. 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2019, 11:24:36 AM »
Maybe a University town would fit the bill.  Plenty of people who know about economics and statistics and there are plenty that can be pleasant to live.  Cambridge , Brighton, Durham, Oxford all come to mind.
Oxford is many things except affordable!

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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2019, 11:37:30 AM »
Oxford is many things except affordable!

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Or easy to easy to get to and around.  Transport is HORRIFIC there. 


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2019, 11:55:11 AM »
Or easy to easy to get to and around.  Transport is HORRIFIC there.

Let's face it, transport is going to be a challenge anywhere in the UK, so is affordability.  Anywhere the rents are cheap, salaries will be correspondingly low.


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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 01:48:32 PM »

As a polar opposite, consider Manchester.  MUCH more affordable, lower wages required for employees, but still a big hub.  They even have some schools that don't require uniforms!

I agree that Manchester/Liverpool/North West should be considered.  It is indeed, much more affordable and there are direct links to Heathrow.  There are plenty of universities in the area (Manchester, Liverpool, John Moores, and more!). There is easy access to Ireland and to Scotland as well as London. Houses are cheaper and there is plenty going on to keep people entertained.  The Lake District is on the doorstep for some relaxation.



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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2019, 08:19:42 PM »
Manchester airport has three terminals and direct flights to LA for most of the year (and I assume other US destinations, but I basically only go to the US to visit family). And obviously loads of flights to pretty much anywhere in Europe.

Loads of universities nearby: Manchester, Liverpool and even all the Yorkshire ones too... etc.

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Re: Husband opening an office in England, where should it be?
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2019, 09:03:09 PM »
Even considering Glasgow? Cheap housing, several universities, and the local government is keen to bring in businesses.....


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