All smiles for serviced offices manager
Probably the most familiar sight for people walking into Hampshire Workspace in Winchester is the smiling face of Julia Lewis in reception. This month she has another reason to be smiling. She has been rewarded for her contribution to the 35-year-old company’s continued success by being appointed to the board of directors.
Behind the scenes, Julia does far more than supply a friendly greeting. She has managed the serviced offices business for the past five years and is responsible for its current 100% occupancy. Owners and directors Sylvia and George Dibben said they thought it was only right to acknowledge her positive effect on the business. George said, “Julia inspires everyone she comes in contact with. She always goes the extra mile both in the service she gives and in getting value for money for both Hampshire workspace and its clients. She is continuing a tradition we started 35 years ago.”
Many Winchester people were already familiar with Julia because for six years she owned Your Life Your Style, a much missed city centre shop selling glassware, ceramics and other high quality furnishings. When the lease expired in 2012, she shut up shop and joined the team in Southgate Street.
“I loved the shop,” says Julia. “Choosing beautiful products and meeting so many lovely customers was a joy. The downside was opening seven days a week! It is hard to make a living in retail these days, so we decided it was best to call it a day.”
Prior to Your Life Your Style, Julia was marketing manager of The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. She saw the venue through its most successful period with musicals like The Phantom Of The Opera selling over 180,000 tickets and pantomimes being seen by over 120,000 people. “It was an exciting time,” she said. “In those early days, many people thought The Mayflower would fail but we found an audience for these great shows. It’s also where I met my husband Paul. We have worked together ever since.”
At Hampshire Workspace, Julia is responsible for all aspects of the business. “An important part of my job is keeping the building as fully occupied as possible and, given that most of the clients are small businesses who only have to give two months’ notice, that is quite a challenge.” Under her management, occupancy is currently 100% and has never dropped below 90%.
Excellent Service for Serviced Offices
However, as Julia points out, Hampshire Workspace wouldn’t attract and keep clients if it didn’t provide an excellent service. “Aided by my accomplished team, Chloe and Tina, we ensure that the twenty or so companies within the building have all they need to get on with running their businesses.”
This means making sure that all the utilities work including phones, access to the internet, heating, cleaning and electricity, but also that these are obtained at the best price. Other services include processing incoming and outgoing post and providing ‘virtual offices’. In the last couple of years, they have also been the support staff for Winchester’s ground breaking private GP service, Walcote Health, dealing with patient reception and appointments.
“The best part of being at Hampshire Workspace is meeting so many interesting people and working in such an attractive workplace,” says Julia. (The serviced offices are housed in Southgate Chambers, a 170 year old Georgian building.) As a director of Hampshire Workspace, Julia plans to make sure it continues to provide Winchester’s entrepreneurs with a place to start or build their businesses for many years to come.