Researchers at King’s College London found there has been a huge change in the way Londoners are working, with the vast majority saying office life will never return to how it was pre-pandemic.
Academics at the university’s Policy Institute and Business School questioned more than 2,000 working Londoners. They found:
*61 per cent of London workers say they now work from home at least one day a week, compared with 37 per cent before the pandemic.
*Of these, 79 per cent said working from home has had a positive impact on their life – with avoiding the commute listed as the top benefit.
*Older workers and Conservative voters are more likely to view working from home as a threat to London life than younger workers and Labour voters. But there was no overall consensus on whether new ways of working will damage central London.
The research also found most Londoners still enjoy being part of a workplace and there are fears that younger people’s careers will suffer most from home working.
Mark Kleinman, Professor of Public Policy at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, said: “The revolution in working practices kickstartedâ¯by Covid-19 has sparked intense debate – but it is clear that London workers are mostly hugely positive about working from home, with four in five saying they have experienced benefits from doing so.
“This is partly down to practical changes to their routines, such as avoiding commuting and being able to better manage other responsibilities at home, but there are also less tangible factors at play, including a greater feeling of control and of being connected to things that really matter to them.
“It is no surprise that a large majority think we will never return to old ways of working.”
He added: “It is important to recognise that most still enjoy being part of a workplace, in particular seeing and meeting other people. London workers want balance – forcing people back to offices will not go down well, and the challenge for employers will be to keep teams engaged and connected while also respecting their new working preferences.”
He called on policy makers and employers to ensure that the benefits of home-working are distributed evenly and do not come at the expense of some groups – including the young.
The research found that while 61 per cent of Londoners are “hybrid working” with at least one day a week at home, 20 per cent are in the office full time. A further 13 per cent are at home full time.
While 79 per cent of London workers overall said working from home has had a positive impact for them, women (84 per cent) were more likely than men (76 per cent) to report this.
Women were more likely than men to say that the ability to manage home or social responsibilities was one of the positive impacts of working from home.
A total of 84 per cent of Londoners said it is better for people’s quality of life to work from home one or two days a week. Only four per cent disagreed.
But more than half of workers said they believe their senior managers want more staff to come into the workplace more often.
The research, published on Wednesday, is the first phase of a major project called Work/Place: London Returning, which seeks to understand the impact the pandemic has had on the way Londoners work.