As most of us know, London is one of the main powerhouses in the world when it comes to nearly all areas of business.
Fashion, technology, theatre, art, music, ecommerce, publishing … the list of massive industries goes on and on and runs through the lifeblood of the city.
With this in mind it’s little wonder that there is so much trade running through the capital, or that it’s one of the main destinations in the world for business travel.
However, this doesn’t always mean that the people who run these companies are the same as those who hold similar positions in businesses in the United States. Quite often, billionaire owners of industry from the likes of Silicon Valley dress casually and are known for their quirky habits. Take for example Sergey Brin, genius and co-founder of Google, who has been well known for wearing roller blades to the office.
It’s hard to picture someone in London heading off to a meeting like this, particularly if they were in a suit. In general, the capital is still known for its traditional formalities when it comes to business, whereas other countries have a much more relaxed approach to things.
With this in mind, there are some top tips that might be helpful to people who are travelling to London for business and might have some questions about their trip.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to wear a suit for every meeting that you go to in London, but you should be prepared for the fact that this is a fashionable city.
Dressing well and with a sense of occasion is part of the everyday fabric of the capital, so if you want to impress someone in a business meeting it’s a good idea to make an effort.
If you aren’t sure what to wear, it’s a good idea to check the company’s social media or ask them if you’re really in doubt about it.
As fashion is part of the lifestyle in London, so too is going for a social drink after work – this is because many people have a long commute to get home and so take advantage of catching up with their colleagues after work over a drink.
For this reason, you’ll find that there are lots of bars and pubs next to offices all over the city and particularly those that are right in the centre of town and in places like Shoreditch.
Often, places of work finish early on a Friday and offer ‘work beers’, which is an incentive for the people in the office to socialise with each other, get to know one another better and build a stronger team relationship.
Big companies like advertising firm Grey also hold weekly yoga classes in parts of the office and give their employees free gym memberships to encourage happy and healthy lifestyles.
If you’re visiting London for work from the US, you should be aware that Brits have a very dry and sarcastic sense of humour. It can seem a little jarring at first, but don’t forget that British people are also plagued with politeness, so they won’t intend to cause offence.
One thing that you can do to acclimatise yourself to the humour is to go and see a live comedy show.
There are lots of famous comedians who do tours throughout the city, or you can go and see a cheaper show at any of the venues around Leicester Square.
Football and rugby
Sports are an important part of life in any country and in Britain the two most talked-about and played are football and rugby.
This is so much so that you will hear people referring to certain places as a rugby town or a football city, depending on where the grounds and pitches are for certain teams.
However, as London is so diverse, there is pretty much an equal split between football and rugby fans. It’s likely that you’re going to run into at least a few people who are extremely keen on these sports, so it doesn’t hurt to have a basic understanding of them.
Other sports that are very popular in Britain and London in particular are cycling and surprisingly Ultimate Frisbee, which already has a massive following in America.
Most people who live in London aren’t Londoners
People who are from other countries are often quite surprised at how few native Londoners they meet when they visit the capital.
However, for those who have been to the city many times and live nearby, it can be just as surprising when you meet people who have grown up there and never lived anywhere else.
London is a city that is full of hundreds of accents and cultures, so you should expect to take a journey around the world when you go there.
This is heavily reflected in the events, art, music and food in the city, which makes it one of the most interesting places in Britain for you to visit, even if it is just for business travel.