One in five Londoners now work from home, ONS data says

 (Shutterstock / racorn)
(Shutterstock / racorn)

Around one in five Londoners are working remotely after the pandemic while four out of ten balance working from home with going to the office.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures on Thursday to show that 19 per cent of London workers are now exclusively in the comforts of their homes, the BBC reported. Around 40 per cent come into an office at least one day per week in London.

The ONS has been approached for the exact figure breakdown of how London working trends compare to pre-pandemic ones. Across the UK, it was reported that only 12 per cent of adults reported working from home prior to Covid.

Sabrina Chevannes from Complex Creatives (Complex Creative)
Sabrina Chevannes from Complex Creatives (Complex Creative)

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Flexible working is an important and established part of our economy. Since the pandemic, many companies have adopted this model with great success, boosting productivity and employee wellbeing.

“However, in London, footfall still remains below pre-pandemic levels, which has a negative knock-on effect for businesses that rely on and cater to commuters. Businesses have had to modify their working patterns, placing an increased focus on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, while still paying premium rent prices, sky-high operating costs, and business rates.

“London’s business landscape is one of constant innovation and change, and we have total faith in the ability of London businesses to adapt to new working patterns.”

Complex Creatives having a board meeting (Complex Creatives)
Complex Creatives having a board meeting (Complex Creatives)

One to feel the benefit of flexible working is Chris Donnelly, co-founder at Lottie –  a London-based startup helping families to find the best care homes for loved ones.

He told the Standard: “With a hybrid working policy and great transport links from London across the country, we have been able to attract talent from all over the UK, including Manchester, Edinburgh, and Bristol.

“Hybrid working has allowed us to benefit from hiring a team of amazing people from different backgrounds and cultures. This has helped create a diverse and innovative team –  helping us to try new ways of thinking and drive positive change in the care sector.”

Meanwhile, Sabrina Chevannes, founder of London-based web and graphic design agency Complex Creative, told the Standard that hybrid working was a system they had been experimenting with.

She said: “We were five days in the office until very recently. We moved to hybrid purely for their sake – cost of living and to ease the pressure.

“Most people like working from home occasionally, but it is less productive.”

She added that businesses found that “not everyone can be trusted to actually work when they’re at home”.

Dan Little, brand director J Brand, is also keen for staff to come into the office.

"We fully support hybrid working at J Brand, but let’s not forget the importance of face-to-face meetings,” he told the Standard.

He continued: “Whether it’s with staff, existing clients, or potential leads."

"In terms of employment, flexibility is a two-way street for employees and employers – one embraces the other.

"Building a connection is far more effective over a pint of beer than a computer screen. People want to see people in business, and we won’t be underestimating the significance of that!"

Rethinkly, which is based in London and Oxford, describes itself as “a unique development and coaching visualisation tool that provides a safe digital space for ambitious teams to explore problems, relationships, conflicts, and dynamics”.

The company has noticed shifting trends for generation Z in the workplace, which could be impacted by the post-Covid landscape.

A spokesman added: “As the first generation of digital natives who would rather text than talk on the phone, we often mistake this as the whole story, when really statistics show that 72 per cent of Gen Z prefers in-person communication with their boss and colleagues.

“Connecting the dots between the digital world and creating strong working relationships is a huge opportunity for organisations as we move back away from the virtual into the office.

“Providing both the time and digital solutions to help your Gen Z talent becomes an HR mandate. Both to cope with this shift as well as empower stronger communication skills, which will only strengthen organisations and help them get ahead of the curve as this diverse complex segment of their workforce grows.”