Logistics of Working away in London - Experiences? Logistics of Working away in London - Experiences?
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  1. #1

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    Default Logistics of Working away in London - Experiences?

    I've been offered a contract in London, working in the Blackfriars area. I live in Manchester and have never contracted in the south, and don't know London at all (including the logistics of tube stations). I'll be working in the office Monday to Thursday (travelling in by train) and WFH Friday but the contract is for 10 months.

    I'm trying to work out the most economical accommodation without having to share, live in any dodgy areas or have a ridiculously long, faffy commute. I do not really want to be commuting more than 30 minutes during the week. Which areas are decent and do-able time wise and which should I avoid? Is an airbnb a cheaper option than a hotel, or serviced apartments? It would be good to get some views from people who have either lived up north and worked in London or just generally have a good idea generally on the logistics of travelling, working and staying in the area.

  2. #2

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    Do you want in or out of London?

    Blackfriars is well served by the London-Brighton line. Crawley (Three Bridges Station) is okay, and reasonably cheap. It's also close to Gatwick Airport (you may be able to fly Gatwick - Manchester?), however for a Thameslink-only weekly train ticket you are looking at £83/week at current prices (you wouldn't need a Travelcard assuming your office is walking distance from Blackfriars). Also, Crawley is significantly cheaper for rent (as an indicator, a one bed studio flat is about £800 p/m, an AirBnb room can be had for £40 / night).

    Three Bridges - Blackfriars is 40 minutes and during rush hour there is at least one train every fifteen minutes. I have done this commute (plus a tube ride) for the last 8 months and is a very easy commute and service has been reliable.
    Last edited by fiisch; 24th April 2019 at 15:27.

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    Blimey. I think someone is going to be in for a real shock. Have you worked away before? Is it just the South/London you've never done but OK with the whole working away in general?

    I live in Manchester and wild horses/best gig in the world wouldn't drag me to London. Worked away from home for 2.5 years so totally happy with that but not a chance I'd do it in London. Just not remotely interested. I know plenty of people that have done or are currently doing it but it's just not for me. There has been absolutely no need to do so in the last 10+ years.. which could just be the kiss of death.

    The tube in the height of summer as well...

    I've a feeling this thread will pop up sometime in the future when I end up taking a London gig though.
    Last edited by northernladuk; 24th April 2019 at 16:30.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Blimey. I think someone is going to be in for a real shock. Have you worked away before? Is it just the South/London you've never done but OK with the whole working away in general?

    I live in Manchester and wild horses/best gig in the world wouldn't drag me to London. Worked away from home for 2.5 years so totally happy with that but not a chance I'd do it in London. Just not remotely interested. I know plenty of people that have done or are currently doing it but it's just not for me. There has been absolutely no need to do so in the last 10+ years.. which could just be the kiss of death.

    The tube in the height of summer as well...

    I've a feeling this thread will pop up sometime in the future when I end up taking a London gig though.
    I've been quite lucky, apart from a couple of days here and there, I've not worked away in general. Is working in London really that bad?

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    Recently finished a contract in London. I rented a studio flat through MyCo as I wanted my own space for the same reasons as you.
    You’ll have another 30min travel from Euston to Blackfriars on top of your 2+ hours.
    I’d say you’ll need to budget around £1k for accomm and travel per month. Serviced apartments were way above this but you might find some closer to Blackfriars.
    Look on Rightmove for a guide price of studios/one beds

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggystardust View Post
    I've been quite lucky, apart from a couple of days here and there, I've not worked away in general. Is working in London really that bad?
    I guess it's each to their own. As you can see some people can do it OK. I would say, judging by the number of contractors I've seen welching on gigs they had to stay away on though, it's not for everyone and London is jumping in the deep end.

    Some people might enjoy it and get excited being part of the hustle and bustle of the capital but I've spent more time than I care to remember down there so to me it's just a pain in the arse. Also once you've taken the accommodation and travelling in to account the rates just aren't worth it. Local or mid distance travel where accommodation is cheap then fair enough but London accommodation and the travel off a rate that isn't too different to those in Manchester just don't make it worth it.

    You really should have factored this in even before applying for remote gigs. Getting the bad news at offer time is far too late.

    You need to think about what type of accommodation you will be happy in, hotel, rent a room, whole flat. You don't want to be miserable every evening and then go research that. You could try checking the Monday to Friday and rent a room sites if you want to start off cheap. Things like..

    Monday to Friday | Homes & Rooms For The Working Week

    Monday to Friday lets, Rentals and Lodgers | SpareRoom.co.uk

    Rent a Room Monday to Friday

    and the like but sharing living space isn't for everyone. Seems to start at 500 a month upwards.

    The try Rightmove for your own places as already suggested.

    Find what you'd be comfortable with and then do the maths on the rates...
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    A decent thread in General about staying away with some good tips but it is General so you are going to have to trawl through a load of rubbish as well.

    https://www.contractoruk.com/forums/...otel-tips.html
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    Blackfriars is on the water bus route. That means you have options other than sardines in a tube.
    Check the route and see what works.

    Oh. Water bus is licensed.
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    I love working in London, but expect to spend some cash. Like, real, serious cash. Seriously.

    I've done stays in both hotels and AirBnBs. Personally, I take the view that life is too short to spend money AND commute, so I always suck it up and get fairly close (time wise, if not distance). AirBnB is definitely the best for cash and normally location, but you'll go through some right tulipters before finding one that works.

    Other success I've had is getting something like a Premier Inn a little way out - if you're VAT registered, there's often not huge amounts in it. Key point to remember is you need to study your commute based on the transport routes and not the distance - sometimes you can get a real distance in 15/20 minutes, but obviously you then need somewhere easily walkable to the station/stop whatever.

    Biggest problem is huge fluctuations in price and availability depending on what's happening - for example, the Premier Inn at Excel will skyrocket their prices for days or weeks where big events are on.

    Seriously though, aside from the usual issues of working away (i.e. family) I love London. There's so much to do, and it's often got a decent after work culture.

    But price this up now, because it's going to cost you. For context, I had ~£20k in expenses for one client over a year.

    What I tend to do is book a decent hotel for the first few weeks, get on site, find my feet knowing there's going to be no drama and then I can look at places while I'm down there.
    Last edited by vwdan; 24th April 2019 at 19:04.

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post

    I've a feeling this thread will pop up sometime in the future when I end up taking a London gig though.
    oh, please, please don't

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