UBC’s Richard Bond Steps Up to Manage Award-Winning Centre
If you could work from anywhere, a comfortable office just steps from Southampton’s yacht-filled marina could be high on your list.
That’s the reality for Richard Bond, who has recently been promoted to Centre Manager at UBC’s Enterprise House - a business centre located close to the water’s edge at Ocean Village Marina.
Richard is already a familiar face at Enterprise House, having spent the past five years as the centre’s Customer Service Assistant. Prior to that, he was a Reservation Manager in a busy hotel and restaurant in Winchester - and applied for the role at Enterprise House after a friend spotted the opportunity on Facebook.
Now, Richard is adjusting to the change of rhythm and responsibilities as Centre Manager, which includes switching from a customer-facing role to one that’s typically more behind-the-scenes.
“I’m naturally drawn to people and as CSA, I was always front of house and looking after our clients. There’s always a steady stream of enquiries and requests, and people would come to me for everything. Now, there is a lot more office-based work. It’s different, but I’m enjoying the change and the new challenge.”
Certainly, accepting a new job during these strange times is not without its challenges. Richard has been busy training his new CSA, Stevaughn, while also getting to grips and undergoing training for his own role -- all of which has to be done at a safe social distance.
“As strange as it is, the situation means we currently have slightly fewer people coming into the centre -- fewer people walking in, for instance -- which means I have a little extra time to get my head around the new responsibilities.”
In Enterprise House, like UBC’s other six centres, a number of Covid-safe measures have been implemented. These include signs indicating social distance requirements, sanitiser stations, reduced capacity in shared areas, and a regular 2-hour cleaning rota with specific focus on high-touch points such as door handles.
The majority of workspace at Enterprise House is located in private offices, which minimises risk and enables people to work safely. However, the coronavirus is still an ongoing concern -- so why do people choose to use their offices when they could simply work from home?
“People want to come in for all sorts of different reasons, but mainly because they know they can come here, concentrate, and get their work done,” said Richard.
“A lot of people don’t have the space or setup to work from home long-term. 6 months working from the kitchen table is not comfortable and it’s incredibly distracting, with children and pets to keep entertained. On the other hand, for those who live alone it’s very isolating.”
In addition to keeping the space clean and organised for existing clients, Richard is receiving new enquiries from companies looking to move into flexible office space. This is partly to help companies distribute their teams to enable safer working, but also because they want a more flexible solution that cuts down on fixed commitments and poses less risk for their businesses longer-term.
Looking ahead, Richard is focused on getting to grips with his new role as Centre Manager and maintaining the centre’s excellent levels of service. This was formally recognised in 2018 when Enterprise House won the Business Centre of the Year Award for outstanding service, and Richard intends to continue building on the centre’s award-winning standard of service as part of his new role.
But of course local businesses don’t just come to Enterprise House for the service -- they also come for its location.
“We’re very lucky that we’re really close to the city centre, it’s just a 15-minute walk away, yet we’re so close to the marina,” added Richard. “There are lots of cafes and restaurants here at Ocean Village for your morning coffee or lunch break. But the best thing is, you can step out of your office and be at the water’s edge in seconds.”