Anniversaries!

This week has been teeming with special anniversaries; work-related, of course! Congratulations to our General Manager, Toni, for five years of working at Locale. Toni began her Locale journey as a Project Manager and as the company grew and changed, she transformed roles and rose in the ranks. Toni is an invaluable member of our team, helping to keep all the cogs turning in our well-oiled machine. We marked this occasion as well as could be, with flowers and champagne for Toni and a selection of delicious cakes to choose from (although having more than one option proved troublesome). Safe to say, celebrating half a decade of working with Locale could not have been sweeter!

More anniversaries were celebrated, also, as Jade, Jo and Guy A have been working with Locale for two years and Eszter has been with us for one year! Jade has now moved from the production to the development team, Guy A works as a Commercial Manager, and both Jo and Eszter work within the Client Services division.

Congratulations, team, and to many more years! (We hope!)

Locale Dines At Quod!

The day was Tuesday 29th May 2018. The time was 5:30 pm. In the Locale office, computers were being shut down, desks were being tidied, windows were being closed, and the team were getting ready to leave. But they couldn’t. It’s wasn’t time yet.

Jade was under strict instructions not to let anyone arrive before 6:00 pm. It was only around the corner, so they had to wait. Armed ready with coats and bags, the team were impatient (although some more than others).

Some of the team and I won’t name names, banded together to form a rebellion. And it was somewhat successful. As the volume of growling stomachs ascended, the sounds united to form a melodic crescendo; they could wait no longer, it was time.

At precisely 5:56 pm, the team arrived at Quod in Oxford, which has been described as the ‘hidden heart of the city’. Peering into the restaurant from the bustling High Street, the lively Mediterranean environment was a welcome sight. Savouring the delicious, classic European food aromas and absorbing the sophisticated, relaxed atmosphere, we were led into a hidden chamber within; the private dining room.

Toni met us, holding a glass of wine and a smile. The table was adorned with helium-filled balloons, the room meticulously decorated. Thematic golds and creams subtly enhanced the beautiful ambience of the space. Personalised menus corresponded with the seating plan (which are always very helpful when you’ve forgotten the courses you’d chosen) and each member of the team was skillfully poured and handed a glass of champagne; evidently, Toni had delivered yet another glamorous event.

For Louise, Rob and Julie (left, second from the right and second from the left) it was their first social event with the team. They all agreed that it was lovely to see everyone outside of work, in an informal setting. It also provided a wonderful opportunity to develop foundations within the team and build relationships with each other. Soon enough, while the champagne was flowing and after a chorus of cheers played out, the team found their places and took their seats.

Our menus were as follows:

Starter

Chilled Vichyssoise

Seabass carpaccio, chilli, lemon & basil

Prosciutto, mushroom & taleggio pizzetta

Avocado vinaigrette

Main

Tagliatelle with pork, lemon & sage ragu

Spatchcock baby chicken, homemade chips & hot pepper sauce

Burrata, chicory, radishes, tomatoes & chickpeas

Salmon fishcakes, spinach, tartare sauce

Dessert

Peaches, poached & sorbet

Today’s cheesecake

Salted caramel ice cream & honeycomb

Goat’s cheese, honey & crackers

Tea & coffee

Guy A decided that three courses simply wasn’t enough of a meal, and chose instead to have six! Yes, he did indeed roll home, and rolled back into the office the next morning, too!

Rob informed me that his favourite dish of the three was his main: the pork tagliatelle. Now, this is up for debate, as many consider the chicken to have been the best main, but I’d have to agree with him. Of all meals and places, if you’re after an excellent dining experience with delicious cuisine, I’d certainly recommend Quod, and I’d certainly suggest the pork tagliatelle. Just to reiterate: Quod. Pork. Tagliatelle. The slick service of the staff also does not disappoint, as they deliver the unique dishes with flair and smiles.

After dinner, the evening evolved into a game of charades (led by Guy W-L). With more wine flowing into glasses (and magically disappearing) this became interesting. From Indiana Jones and American Beauty to Up (which must have been the quickest combination of action and correct guess in the history of charades) the Locale team utilised their creative skill set, and we eventually guessed them all! (Pat yourselves on the backs, team!)

Karen suggested to everyone that we play the word association game. This was one of the highlights of the evening shared by all. By this point, the wine has been flowing some more and the number of empty bottles was surpassing the full ones, so you can imagine that playing this game proved rather difficult. Julie appreciated how the team chose to play a few rounds of the game in French (who did surprisingly well!), and Karen admitted that there were some very interesting comments made in the English rounds!

One by one, we trailed off home with our bellies full, and feeling well and truly entertained.

Locale Employee Of The Quarter!

This week, we announced our Employee of the Quarter January to March, Jonathan! We also announced our runner-up – Eszter!

Our Lead Developer, Jonathan, has been with Locale for almost a year and proven to be a valued, hard-working member of the team. Eszter, our Client Services Executive, is dedicated to delivering continuous assistance and a high standard of customer service to our clients. Eszter has also become a key member of the Locale team in just a year, and both awards are very well deserved.

Our Employee of the Quarter award is peer-voted, so these winnings are a true testament to the value of both Jonathan and Eszter to the company. Congratulations both!

An Interview With Our Head of Client Services

Locale is hiring a Client Services Team Leader, so we grabbed five minutes with our Head of Client Services Karen, to get a feel for what a prospective candidate can expect from a career in our Client Services department.

What’s your role & how do you contribute to the business?

I head up Client Services & Production, it is all about meeting and exceeding the expectations of the customer. I bring 25 years customer experience into this role and I am passionate about customers & their levels of service.

What do you see as being the most challenging part of your job?

The total customer experience is key in our industry and this can be very challenging to make sure everybody is valued; every customer is important to us at Locale. From the first contact to the completion and the running of our portals therefore looking after your customers. Excellent customer service means going above and beyond your expectations.

We are recruiting for a client service/production team leader within your department, describe the person you feel would be best suited to the role and the company.

Somebody who is well organised, who cares about customer service and wants to make a difference. You will be confident in managing a team with good communication skills. With a can-do attitude and a knowledge of general system skills.

What has been your best moment since joining Locale?

I have many great moments, but overall it has to be the staff at Locale, they are all so caring and really want to help you and its fantastic being part of such a fabulous team.

Why should someone consider working for Locale?

To be part of something great!

  • If you want to make a difference
  • Our amazing customers
  • The fabulous staff and working environment
  • Our exciting growth

 We are waiting for you, so get in touch!

Locale at Future PropTech

Locale is excited to be exhibiting and showcasing our latest solutions at FUTURE:Proptech on May 2nd.

FUTURE:PropTech is the leading and most well attended global event dedicated to the technology innovation and digital transformation in the wider Real Estate sector. The 2018 London show is set to be the biggest global proptech show to date with over 1500+ property and technology professionals, 50+ tech showcases, 45+ interactive conference sessions (across three stages), dedicated networking sessions and all the leading media titles attending. FUTURE:PropTech bridges the gap between innovation and property and welcomes anyone interested in learning about technology for property. The theme for 2018 is “Digital Transformation Throughout the Property Lifecycle.”

Guy Windsor Lewis, our CEO, will be speaking on the Commercial Stage at 14.40, followed shortly after at 15.10 by Dan O’Gorman, Chief Product Officer, on the Innovation Stage. https://futureproptech.co.uk/programme/#agenda

If you haven’t registered yet, we are delighted to be able to offer our network a 20% discount on the ticket price. To register follow this link and enter this code – www.futureproptech.co.uk/get-tickets (proptech2018).

Please drop by and say hello, we are at stand 3 and look forward to seeing you there!

Locale at MIPIM 2018

Our Head of Sales and Marketing, Jack, shares his thoughts on our recent trip to MIPIM 2018…

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Locale team took some time out to visit MIPIM 2018 in Cannes last month. 24,000 visitors and 3,100 exhibitors made for a very busy 4 days.

The main focus of this year’s MIPIM was on the increase in global urbanisation. People continue to gravitate towards the cities, no matter at what stage in life, and there was much discussion on what impact this will have on new cities and buildings, and our existing city property stock. The next stage, and where our focus lies, is then educating the property market to be prepared for this shift.

Better performing properties with improved monitoring meant that data and its analysis was another trend and an absolute key consideration for property managers and owners. Coming from the data world, I was fascinated to see how much similarity there is in this new industry for me, compared to the more established world of IT. Data brings actionable insight which, when well presented, will help the property market adapt to these new challenges and trends.

 

Not only is MIPIM a magnificent place to learn, it also brings the opportunity to meet new and old friends in a beautiful location and discuss business and of course pleasure! We had so many successful meetings and will definitely be back at MIPIM 2019.

Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Locale Easter Egg Hunt: Bigger, Better, Bunnies!

When the daffodils were blooming and spreading sunshine across the meadows, and new baby lambs were welcomed into the world, the (very important) feast of chocolate began across the lands…

Toni, our General Manager, had hatched a plan.
This is the first pun, and I’m afraid it won’t be the last. I have restricted myself to three puns throughout this post, and I have only two left; I’d better use them carefully!

So when the glorious chocolate feast arrived at the Locale office, Toni decided she wasn’t going to just give everyone Easter Eggs, they had to find them! Intrigued by this event, I began my investigation by interviewing various members of the team who had participated (unfortunately, I had just missed this, so I needed some reliable information). I firstly spoke to Guy A, who clued me in to the theatrics of the hunt. He revealed to me how fun it was to find the eggs. But how did they discover them?

This wasn’t an ordinary egg hunt, ladies and gentleman; it was a scavenger hunt!

Each member of staff was given cryptic clues to try and find their treat, and I quote, “mini chocolate eggs in a net…bag…thing.” So now that we have a clear visual of the treasured, sweet goods…

Guy A adores coffee (I’m yet to ask him if this adoration exceeds chocolate, so the jury is out on him for now) so for Toni, the sneaky task of hiding his treats and writing his clue would be relatively easy. Guy A tentatively opened the ink scribed paper to reveal a mysterious message:

It runs in your veins.

To begin with, this was a bit of a headscratcher, Guy A wasn’t aware of any creatures running amok within him! Cleverly, he thought that this puzzle could be solved with a little help from Vitamin C (coffee, that is) when EUREKA!

The coffee machine!

Guy A raced to the kitchen, although I should emphasise that he walked as quickly as he could because, as we know from health and safety, we mustn’t run in the office boys and girls! I should also point out that Guy A is relatively tall and towers over five foot me; with this in mind, the journey from one end of the office to the other is much quicker for him, so the walk didn’t take long, and I’m not at all bitter. He turned the corner and arrived at the coffee machine elated! Not only because he had arrived at the somewhat infinite fountain of java, but he’d also found his Easter Eggs! Well done, Guy A. But not everybody had solved their clues as easy as him…

Karen slightly struggled with the hunt. She’d just started working for Locale, and was very pleased and surprised that she was already being showered with chocolate! Well, she would be, if she could find those mischievous eggs. Karen cracked (second pun, in case you were keeping count) and asked for help. Some strong and efficient teamwork later, and Karen had found the ovular chocolate fortune, which she deemed simply lovely. But her work was not finished, yet! Another couple of hunters were stumped with their clues…

Hannah and Jade couldn’t understand the writing on their papers, but this is probably because the clues had been translated into the elvish language! Toni had been incredibly creative with this one, taking the time to make it egg-ceptionally difficult. (And that’s number three!) Jade felt that, of course, Toni had to up her game to match their intelligence; they needed a challenge, this could be the only reason why! A while later, Hannah and Jade were a little forlorn; they still hadn’t found their chocolaty goodness. Toni thought they needed some help, and so gave them more clues. Hannah was overcome with joy to eventually find hers in the beer fridge (nicely placed) and Jade on top of the bookcase (a symbol of her reputation as a bookworm, or more probably the intelligence thing).

Toni was incredibly happy, everyone had enjoyed their Easter Egg hunt. Everybody in the office had their net…bag…thing of deliciousness. Everybody, that is, except for Toni herself! Of course, she couldn’t have written her own clue, that would have been far too easy and no fun at all! So Guy A and the team decide to return the favour…

Pushing the boat out (straight from the horse, that is Guy A’s, mouth) and truly spoiling Toni as a thank you for all her efforts, the office team went on a Lindt shopping spree. I daresay this is probably one of the better sprees anyone could have! Laden with creamy, luxurious treats, the crew produced and delivered what can only be described as a Mega Scavenger Hunt (capital letters required). Toni gleefully, and successfully, completed all her clues. There were moments, of course, where she felt she would never reach the end of this hunt, as one clue led to another which led to another and so forth. But each clue she found resulted in some chocolate, so she had enough sugared fuel to finish her journey. As Toni reached that final, glorious goal, she was over the moon. Everything had worked out according to plan, and everyone joined in. This made the event wonderful and fun; Toni couldn’t have asked for more!

And most importantly, she certainly wouldn’t need to buy any more chocolate for herself that year. At least, not until Christmas!

Lastly, I will end this post with a promise. Jack overhears when I am interviewing different people around the office, particularly when I asked Guy A if there were any bunnies present. This question resulted in sad vibes, as they realised that there hadn’t been any, and this would perhaps have made the event even better (if that was possible). So Jack promises that next year will be bigger, better, bunnies. You heard it here first!

Jack will be dressing as a rabbit for next Easter!

And yes, there will be photos.

I should remind you all that when managing projects, there are usually 10-15% buffers for things like time duration and budgets. I rounded up on my estimations, and with that in mind…

That’s all yolks!

And that makes four!

Locale on the Loose!

Last Tuesday the Locale team headed to Oxford Castle to take part in their Jailbreak Escape Room as our latest staff social. One of our developers, Justin, shares his account of the evening… 

Collared to put up ‘two sentences’ for the weekly blog, I briefly considered the subject matter: a recent outing to Oxford Castle’s ‘Escape Room’. Egged on by the mellifluous sounds filtering through from The Bear next door, I hastily penned the following in an email to the editor and hit SEND:

1. We got locked up.

2. We escaped.

3. Nothing. There is no third thing…

Job done! I’m off home for tea and medals (via The Bear!).

Or so I thought… SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) called me over & I was invited to step into her office; The door was closed and there was a click followed by a soft hum and, as the glass panels went opaque, all sounds from the rest of the office faded away. Is this ever a good sign? Er… No.

This is never a good sign. This is never, EVER a good sign.

It doesn’t take Einstein to realise that praise does not require a hermetically sealed room with sound-proofing turned ON and any chance of witnesses actually being able to witness anything, turned OFF. My mind races and I’m hit by the sudden recollection of a little bit of typically, utterly unbelievable office gossip that now seems all too real; a coffee machine moment intimating the editor’s former career as an interrogation consultant to the security services. Who the hell ‘consults’ in this line of work? Bones broken and teeth extracted at £5 each, 3 for a tenner & I’ll throw in the fingernails…? It’s Albert Pierrepoint all over again, being this country’s longest serving hangman wasn’t his day job (greengrocer by day, publican by night), it was his hobby! I’m staring down the barrel of a rendition flight to Gitmo and a sartorially challenging orange jumpsuit (it turns out that I didn’t escape that little gem as you’ll soon discover) and my mind is accelerating furiously in reverse for that J-turn to see if I had remembered to pack the parachute. No, of course I hadn’t.

In a word, #*$@!

Now on the receiving end of a fusillade of rainbow invective, I have insight into Captain Nolan’s first thought when he realised the Light Brigade had taken a bit of a wrong turn. Sounds like ‘duck’.

In fact, I suspect it was probably more like an allegro assai of ‘Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck! Duck!’ But I digress…

I couldn’t possibly lay such invective before your sensitive eyes, dear readers but suffice it to say that I was subjected to a raised eyebrow and a stern look that I once heard referred to as a ‘glare’. Hell hath no fury and all that… But I am an intelligent man; I’ve been about a bit; I’ve seen this look before and can read between the lines – she was slightly miffed. What was all the fuss about, I wondered? Asked for two sentences I delivered three. Short, to the point and humorous – the perfect delivery reminiscent of Truman and Underwood or even today’s young gun, #613 Anderson. Surely worse things have happened at sea?

With a heavy sigh and her Zen dialed up to 11, I was invited to review, for my edification, recent submissions by esteemed colleagues, consider my position and resubmit. You and I both know this wasn’t an ‘invitation’ and I slunk off to peruse the blog and be duly ‘edified’. 350 words!??! It’s meant to be a short anecdote, not the OED! Bloody do-gooders…

So, what did happen, that fateful Tuesday evening?

It was a dark and stormy night… well, no, it wasn’t, but I thought I’d grab your attention.

It all began with a warning order that everyone had 5 minutes to wind up that thing they pretended to call ‘work’ (Ha! As if…) and be ready to leave – promptly. Some 20 minutes later the shore party finally disembarked the good ship Blue Boar and, pausing briefly for a gargle at one of the many taverns en route, arrived at Oxford Castle to be presented with a glass of wine (I sense a pattern here).

X-Rays and strip-searches robbed us of all contraband: padlock keys (duh!), metal files, rope ladders, crockery set, cuddly toy, general escape equipment and the like. Our host delivered a most illuminating instruction in the form of “You have to escape” at which point the gaoler arrived to incarcerate this motley collection of miscreants.

On entry to the cell, team Locale pooled their amoebic minds (I hear yells of ‘Speak for yourself!’) into a functioning collective and dove into a series of conundrums involving, amongst other things, a map, a game of scrabble, some coins, a jigsaw puzzle, a deck of cards, a couple of substitution ciphers, some more coins, a Ouija board and a walkie-talkie in a hamster cage. Given that the previous occupant of the cage had clearly managed to leg it, we felt confident. After all, if a hamster could do it… and WE still had our glasses of wine!

      

There was some head scratching and frustrated lock rattling and at one point, there was even a brief discussion that someone should fall on their sword to effect a suitable distraction. TDC was volunteered, she’s always threatening to stab someone – KARMA! 🙂 In the end, this ignoble sacrifice wasn’t necessary and, without giving the game away for those who have not yet had the pleasure, the sequence of clues was successfully navigated in the right order(ish), leading to the necking a bottle of gin and bribery with cold, hard cash. As if by magic, a pile of the aforementioned sartorially challenging orange (I can’t bring myself to call it cloth) appeared and everyone donned their ‘disguises’.

It was at this point that the team briefly departed reality as a dozen Oompa-Loompahs in badly fitting and, frankly, visually shocking onesies made their bid for freedom. The gaoler must have been blind, drunk, and probably blind drunk to think that this dubious crew were, in her reality, a team of contractors coming off shift – she even held the door open!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once back in the sanctuary of the Castle reception area (and, I note, tactically placed gift shop!), contraband was returned and normality resumed, well, in terms of clothing that is. The team were proud to hear that Locale now held the record as the quickest team to complete the escape and, on a personal note of glory, I was the only person they had seen complete the map challenge without help. So there! (it wasn’t that hard…)

In conclusion:

1. We got locked up.

2. We escaped.

3. Nothing. There is no third thing…

An Interview With Our Senior Project Manager

Locale is hiring a Project Assistant,  so we grabbed five minutes with our Senior Project Manager Jade, to get a feel for what a prospective candidate can expect from a career in our Production department.

What’s your role & how do you contribute to the business?

As Senior Project Manager, I assist with the management of the core product and oversee the successful end-to-end delivery of all projects. The role involves regular contact with client stakeholders, building new product features and functionality, configuring modules and drinking lots of great coffee!

What do you see as being the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling multiple deadlines, but it keeps things interesting and no day is ever the same!

We are recruiting for a Project Assistant within your department, describe the person you feel would be best suited to the role and the company.

We’re a close-knit and passionate team. Someone with plenty of personality and who is excited to be a part of Locale’s ongoing success would be an ideal fit. The ideal candidate will be a tenacious and a fast learner and keen to hit the ground running. Organisational skills are a must too as there’s often a lot of things happening at once!

What has been your best moment since joining Locale?

I was really proud and excited when the first piece of custom work that I had been involved in scoping out was delivered to clients. As a project manager, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in finalising a project that addresses a client’s needs and offers daily efficiencies.

Why should someone consider working for Locale?

It’s fun and fast-paced! Our clients and our product are always evolving – it’s exciting to be part of the Locale team.

If you think you’re a good fit for this role, head over to our Careers page for more information.