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London Commute Negotiation

#1 London Commute Negotiation
20/01/2016 20:39


Good evening,

I'm currently living and working in central London for a Big4 (SM level). I'm in a good position at work but my wife and I are keen on moving to a town which is a 1.5hr train ride away (eek, I know). Most of our work is carried out in the office (e.g. we're not on client site for x months at a time), work on the whole is very flexible, but for various reasons I'm keen on keeping my base office as London.

Does anyone have any good examples of weird setups you have to make a situation like this work? E.g. negotiating a London hotel allowance for 1-2 nights a week?

I'm assuming its a case of either dealing with the long commute, moving to a regional office or just living in central London, but interested to see if anyone has other setups.

Thanks and have a nice night!

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#2 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 07:19

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Consultant1 (#1)

Could you work from home at all?

Is the commute 1.5 hours door to door or is that just the train component then you have to deal with the dreadful (smelly, slow, crowded) tube network at one end and a shirt drive home from the station at the other end?

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#3 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 08:53

Consultant1 to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#2)

Thanks for the message.

It would likely be a 10 min walk at one end, but yes, a 15-20 minute tube at the other. Hence why I think doing that five days a week would be a no-go for me!

Luckily in my current role I currently work from home on average one day a week, but this could be increased to two I'm sure with no problems (possibly three on some weeks).

It's a tough one.

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#4 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 10:31

Phil to Consultant1 (#1)

With the money you'll save on rent you can get a suite at the Dorchester for one day a week!

I have seen similar arrangements being made in the past, but it was mostly in smaller niche players. I don't think a Big4 will agree to that, anyway no harm in trying and, if it doesn't work out, move to a niche and negotiate the hotel accomandation as part of the package.

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#5 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 14:12

Mr Cool to Phil (#4)

I know quite a few senior contractors (programme manager level) who do this, commuting into London from Chester, Somerset, Durham etc.

They make it work by working three days in London and two days either at home or another client site. Most of them do a flat share, either with someone in a similar situation, or someone who has a London property and rents out a room.

Typical week would be:

Monday - wfh

Tuesday - arrive by 10ish and work through to 8pm+ then crash

Wednesday - normal day in the office

Thursday - start conspicuously early and get away by 3.30pm - home by 6pm

Friday - wfh

These are guys getting £800+ a day in London whereas their local market would support a max of £600, so it makes financial sense.

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#6 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 14:16

Mr Cool to Mr Cool (#5)

...also... on the days you get in late and leave early, make sure you send some mails from the train to show that you are "still working".

On the day you leave early, get home, read with the kids, sh@g the missus, share a bottle of vino (delete as appropriate) then make sure you send a few e-mails about 11pm.

Basically everyone will think you're a work aholic when really you're just doing three days a week.

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#7 RE: London Commute Negotiation
21/01/2016 15:41

Consultant1 to Mr Cool (#6)

MrCool - many thanks, that example setup is along the lines of what I was thinking. I think it could work for me if I can get the financials right (train cost & accommodation) since I wouldn't be making as much as a contractor on 800pd.

Phil - thanks also.

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#8 RE: London Commute Negotiation
22/02/2016 17:04

C123 to Consultant1 (#7)

I'd be interested to hear how this works out as I'm considering something similar!

I'm in a slightly more convenient position that I (currently) only actually work in London a few days each month (my work takes me to other parts of the UK and Europe fairly extensively), so the occasional commuting/hotel cost would easily be offset by the living costs.... unless I find myself on a London project with a client demanding I'm in line of sight 5 days a week. Then my financial gamble would come crashing down unless I had negotiated something good with the boss!

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#9 RE: London Commute Negotiation
24/02/2016 00:29

detoilet Consultant to Mr Cool (#6)

Hey Mr Cool

that's quite an agenda to get through even if you get home early ! I'm guessing you're home just after lunchtime ? Shouldn't a tactical email at 1500 be in the offing just after reading to the kids ?


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#10 London Commute Negotiation
25/02/2016 13:35 to Consultant1 (#1)


Have a look at (also known as Contractor Accommodation Services) who I came across at a recent Interim Consulting Networking event - although I haven't actually used them myself so far.

Alternatively, and if you are an ex-services member (Army, Navy, RAF or the Emergency Services, etc.) then have a look at The Union Jack Club (near Waterloo) or The Victory Services Club (near Marble Arch) - both are good value and have great facilities, also with very nice people as guests.

Hope this helps?

Kind regards,

Stephen C Smith FBIFM FIoD CIPS

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#11 RE: London Commute Negotiation
25/02/2016 17:00

Mr Cool to detoilet Consultant (#9)

Bit hard to read to the kids at 3pm; I'm usually only on the 14th hole by then. But yes, a couple of e-mails around t time are a good idea...

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#12 RE: London Commute Negotiation
01/03/2016 11:12

Camster to Mr Cool (#11)

Never had this problem.

But the idea of contracting is something I ought to explore.

Thanks Cool. I knew you were good for something :p (joking!)

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