Tens of thousands more commuters poured back into central London today as it saw its busiest morning rush-hour since the pandemic hit.
More than half of companies in the capital have asked staff to spend at least some of their time at their desks from September.
Early figures showed a 19 per cent jump in passengers on the Tube network up to 9am, compared with last Tuesday, and 43 per cent more on buses.
Mayor Sadiq Khan and business leaders hope this morning’s return will mark the start of a steady build in the number of people using London’s restaurants, shops and theatres after a year and a half of near deserted streets.
Still, for office workers at least, a hybrid model of office/WFH seems most likely to be the new reality. Almost all of the UK’s 50 largest companies are not planning on bringing employees back full-time, and there has been some tension surrounding the decision. For example, while the Government is keen to have civil servants back in Whitehall for at least three days a week, they’re likely to face opposition from unions. Meanwhile, there’s a clear divide between white and blue-collar industries: flexible working is trickier if you work in construction or drive a train.
Some companies have been offering incentives to get their employees back into the office. Estate agent Knight Frank has organised a series of rooftop barbecues at its Baker Street headquarters, while Goldman Sachs has made its base canteen free of charge and opened its roof garden to all staff with lunch provided outside.
Where do you stand on the WFH/work from the office debate? And what does going “back to work” look like for you? Let us know in the comments below for the chance to be featured on the ES website tomorrow.
Friday’s Talking Point: Where should the Tube be extended to next?
The first extension of the Tube this century will open on the Northern Line in a fortnight and last week we asked you where it should be extended to next. The consensus was that south London in general needs more Tube access.
“grahamtilden” said: “South London really needs it. Beyond a spur towards Wimbledon and the Northern line there is next to no coverage and no matter what anyone says getting the Overground isn’t the same at all”.
“hannaghsinsta” agreed, saying: “Anywhere that helps you get south to south without eight changes and a passport”.
However, some think that extending the Tube shouldn’t be the focus. “hannahcfeldman” said “I mean...maybe fix what we already have? The District and Circle line are non stop off due to signal failure”.