The chief executive of _space group gives an insight into his varied role and reveals his biggest phobia about business travel

Rob Charlton

My working day is never the same and that is what I love about what I do, even after almost 12 years with _space group. I work across all of the _space group businesses which include _space architecture, BIM.Technologies, Bimstore and Volula.

My days are always long and involve considerable travel. We have offices across the UK and clients in every region. I don’t have a desk as such and carry my office with me in my bag. Coach H on the East Coast mainline is the nearest I have to a fixed work address!

A typical day would start at 7.03am when I jump on the East Coast Flying Scotsman to London from Newcastle, where I live. This is my regular route, so much so that I now have a season ticket for the route. This service is non-stop to London and will get me into Kings Cross for 9.40am. I have the morning journey finely calculated so that I can arrive at the station with minutes to spare.

We’ve recently been involved with a number of exciting projects at London King’s Cross in partnership with Argent, so, if I am working in London, my day will usually start with a meeting somewhere in town and I use the Tube to get between locations. If there is a gap between meetings, I’ll call into a coffee shop to catch up on emails and phone calls.

I have a real phobia for hotel check-in – I get frustrated at the length of time required

That said, there is no typical day for me as such. _space group is made up of a number of different business working across an extensive range of sectors so one day I might be meeting with clients to update them on a project, or speaking at a conference and networking with consultants the next – it’s an incredibly varied role but that’s what I love about it.

After the outbound appointments are complete, I usually end up back in our office on Gray’s Inn Road to catch up with the team for a chat or project review. During the week, I will stay away from home two or three nights and will always use a Premier Inn as hotel of choice. The main reason for this is that I believe they are the perfect location for the business traveller.

I have a real phobia for hotel check-in – I get frustrated at the length of time required. When staying in a hotel on business, I will usually check-in late and all I want is no fuss and to get to the restaurant for something to eat. Premier Inn is the master of efficiency!

I try and head North at the end of the week. If this is the case I will usually get the 6.00pm train out of Kings Cross. This is always packed. I make the most of the three hours on the train as an opportunity to sift through emails and press on with any project work I need to do.

Friday mornings are usually spent in Newcastle and I use this time to get up-to-date with all of the teams from our various offices. We use a very low-tech but effective system. We communicate via FaceTime on our iPads to catch up with each others’ weekly news and share our progress.

My last review on a Friday draws to a close by 5.00pm and after tidying up loose ends, I will usually meet the family in a local bar and restaurant for a well-deserved drink.

With the unavoidable access to technology, the working day can be extended and the boundaries between work and play become blurred. I often find myself writing blog posts after hours or even on holiday whenever a topic springs to mind!

Rob Charlton is chief executive of _space group