Back to the office, remote or a middle ground?

An Accenture survey shows majority of workers don’t want to return full time to the office, while a letter from lobby group London First calls for the Government to encourage people back.

spike in london-based jobs


Almost one in four of the UK’s financial services workforce wants to work at home permanently post-pandemic, according to a survey which comes as some businesses in London call on the Government to encourage people back to the office.

The survey from Accenture found that 24% of the country’s one million financial services workers “would prefer to work entirely from home once a full return to office is possible”, while 69% said they wanted to work two days or less in the office. Only 8% of respondents said they wanted to go back to five days a week in the office when the working from home advice and social distancing restrictions are dropped.

Laura O’Sullivan, UK and Ireland banking strategy lead at Accenture, said: “As financial services firms develop their future working from home policies, the findings of this research signal loud and clear that the majority of employees at all levels want the pre-pandemic routine to be a thing of the past.”

The British Chambers of Commerce has called for “businesses to have access to clear guidance, information and best practice resources” to help them “embrace the broadest range of remote, workplace and flexible working options as we emerge from the pandemic”.

Meanwhile, lobby group London First has sent a letter signed by 50 business leaders to Boris Johnson calling on ministers to “set the country clearly on the path to recovery” by encouraging people to return to the office. The letter says firms expect city centres to “buzz again” after July 19th. Working from home should no longer be the default, they said, adding: “Our economic recovery will only succeed if the government commits to reviving our city centres.” Those signing the letter included Heathrow and Gatwick airport chief executives John Holland-Kaye and Stewart Wingate, Capita chief executive Jon Lewis and BT boss Philip Jansen.

The letter comes after London First and EY published the report Renew London: Hybrid Working which shows how different people, with different needs, could combine office and homeworking in the future through a hybrid model.

It says hybrid working has the potential to capitalise on the positive impact of remote working while also strengthening London’s continued importance as a business hub. Based on analysis by EYm it considers both business and individual needs for hybrid working. This includes an assessment of the business viability for certain roles to be conducted remotely, resulting in a ranking of high, medium or low viability. In addition, focus groups and employee preference surveys were used to help define the needs of individuals, which resulted in the development of five separate employee personas and their drivers and barriers to working in an office.

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