Absolutely Offices

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Absolutely Offices's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Absolutely Offices is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director
Grove House Business
Absolutely Offices aim to enable companies to thrive by
taking care of the day-to-day handling of the office,
allowing their clients to focus on their own growth and
development. Providing serviced offices in the south of England,
they have identified three key areas upon which to centre their
provision: flexibility, choice and wellbeing. They have adapted
to increased demand for virtual office space and have embraced
technology by improving their internet connectivity and
telephone systems. Managing Director Beryl Huntingdon tells
The Parliamentary Review
Some time ago, I started providing the first serviced offices in the south of England.
Since that time, I have set up and sold a number of subsequent businesses but have
now once again returned to providing serviced offices to a variety of clients. Although
the sector may be the same, the companies could not be more different. Alongside
working as managing director, I am also a director of Destination Basingstoke as
well as being staunchly committed to my role as a member of the Chamber of
Commerce. Beyond this, I also act as the vice chair of the charity Heartburn Cancer
and work as a consultant for growing SMEs. In my time in business, I have learnt
that by immersing your company in the local environment, you can support not
only the growth of your own company, but also the region as a whole.
We are a working example of how the growth of SMEs relies on private companies
to provide the services that can facilitate this growth. Our growth and longevity
are based on our understanding of how the needs of very disparate businesses
inevitably change over time.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 1998
»Based in Basingstoke
»Services: Provides workplace
solutions and serviced offices
»No. of employees: 12
»Manages workspaces
employing 350 people
Absolutely Offices
Highlighting best practice
The company provides prestigious
serviced office space in Basingstoke via
our business hub. The hub comprises
three separate buildings: Grove
House Business Centre, The Manor
House and Jameson House. All three
provide workspace solutions and
serviced offices for rent by a range
of companies of all sizes. All of this
office space is supported by our fully
staffed and managed reception. We
also provide financial peace of mind
with our all-inclusive monthly billing
Since our establishment in 1998,
the way we work has changed
significantly. We have adapted our
service offering to focus on three main
areas: flexibility, an emphasis on the
wellbeing of companies and individuals
and ensuring all of our clients have a
range of choice.
Flexibility, professionalism and
efficiency come as standard
One of the major changes we have
had to make involves lease lengths
and service. In 1998, we had no virtual
offices and many businesses recoiled
from the idea of flexi-working and
non-office-based staff. Now, attitudes
have changed and we are increasing
our virtual service as part of our Virtual
Office. This Virtual Presence service
builds on the Virtual Office to create
a stronger local business presence by
adding telephone call handling. We
provide a local telephone number
exclusive to the specific businesses,
answered in their company name,
alongside call handling and screening.
The increase in value of the green
environment, together with health
and wellness, are other changes that
dominate our business. Our buildings
are set in nine acres of green space
and this, combined with the on-site
gym and bistro, are all part of creating
a positive working environment, with
health and wellness at its heart.
Wellness is becoming increasingly
key for businesses. Sick staff are
estimated to cost the UK economy
£77.5 billion each year. Beyond this,
figures taken from the 2017 “Britain’s
Healthiest Workplace” survey show
that employees lose an average of 30.4
working days a year due to sickness,
or illness-related underperformance.
I am acutely aware of how health
can affect your business, something
supported by my role as vice chair
of Heartburn Cancer UK. My work
involves increasing awareness of this
form of cancer, as, sadly, the UK still
has the highest incidence of cancer of
the oesophagus in the world due to
late diagnosis.
New Jameson House
The Manor House
A positive
with health
and wellness
at its heart
Helping companies to grow
Allowing clients to choose between
traditional or modern, small or
large spaces, and giving them the
flexibility to grow or downsize will
continue to be important issues for all
businesses. With our offices, flexibility,
professionalism and efficiency come as
standard, and it is our aim to enable
other companies to thrive within the
busy demands of their commercial
enterprise by taking care of the day-to-
day running of the office. This leaves
our clients time to concentrate on
growing and developing their business.
Staying at the forefront of technology
will always be a challenge for small
businesses with limited resources and will
continue to challenge our service levels.
We have recently more than doubled
our bandwidth to accommodate clients’
needs. We will always have clients who
wish to minimise their commitment
to the physical space to the shortest
possible period of time, yet, in order
to deliver the best service to our
clients, we need to think of long-term
solutions and continuity.
Continuing to adapt our
Our future plans remain to deliver the
best possible service to our clients,
leaving them to focus on their own
business growth while we facilitate
their office and administrative needs.
We want to further increase our IT
capabilities by increasing bandwidth
and build on our telephone and
communication systems. Our recent
telephone upgrade allows users to
display their office and extension
number even when dialling from
a mobile, further extending the
flexibility for our users as callers
will appear to be in the office even
Further into the future, we would like
to develop fluid and changing office
space that can project the aims and
ethos of a company into their own
space through digital imagery and
projection. This will ensure that every
business has the office space that
works best for them.
Sick staff are
estimated to
cost the UK
£77.5 billion
each year
One in ten people with
heartburn have Barrett’s
Focusing on early symptoms can prevent a number of illnesses.
Heartburn is dismissed by many but one in ten people with
heartburn have Barrett’s oesophagus, which can be a precursor to
oesophageal cancer. Despite the best modern treatments, survival
rates for oesophageal cancer are appalling. This is mainly due to a
diagnosis being made when the condition is too advanced to be
treated, since there are few preceding symptoms, and of those that
do manifest, they are, on the whole, ignored. Long-term persistent
heartburn is a significant symptom of a type of oesophageal cancer
called adenocarcinoma, and the pre-cancerous condition known as
Heartburn affects one in ten of us and is dismissed as being a
harmless problem. It is estimated that in the region of 500,000
people in the UK have the pre-cancerous condition, Barrett’s
oesophagus,and most are totally unaware of it.
HCUK works with consultants to provide further funds for research
and to also raise awareness of this rapidly increasing cancer.


This article was sponsored by Absolutely Offices. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster