Chris Biggs, Partner of Theta Global Advisors, unveils research stating that the office may never look the same again…
As we reach the end of 2020, a year dogged by COVID, many businesses are preparing for next year, a potential return to the office and getting ready to trade in a post-Brexit environment. With the rollout of the new vaccine already taking place, there may be greater optimism for a return to work in the new year. However, the City is not the same place that it was when the UK went into its first lockdown.
According to the Google Mobility Report, public transport use in the City was still only 17% of pre-COVID levels on Dec. 4, just after the end of a second lockdown, with office visits down by 54%. Furthermore, almost half of UK workers intend to split their working weeks between the office and home over the next six months, a September survey by the British Council for Offices found.
Today, accountancy consultancy Theta Global Advisors reveals national research into the implications of another lockdown on the lives and careers of working Brits.
– 51% of City workers are currently working from home and do not expect to return to the office until at least 2021
– 57% of Brits – 11.8 million – do not want to go back to a normal way of working in an office environment with normal office hours
– 65% of working Brits do not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore and think it will be one of the most stressful parts of their day
– 44% of Brits are currently working from home and do not expect to return to the office until next year
– 41% of London City workers say the COVID pandemic has encouraged them to look towards consultancy and freelance work or start their own business
– 45% of London City-based workers say the pandemic has made them realise what a poor work-life balance they had pre-lockdown and they will not return to it after COVID
– 63% of City-based workers believe the workplace of the future will have to change drastically for the better to avoid losing its best talent to freelancing and consulting
– Over half of working Brits – 52% or nearly 14 million people – feel closer to their family and enjoy a better work-life balance after working at home for months, and want to continue to do so in some capacity in the future
– Four in 10 Brits say the pandemic has made them realise what a poor work-life balance they had pre-lockdown and they will not return to it after COVID
– 60% of Brits believe the workplace of the future will have to change drastically for the better to avoid losing its best talent
Chris Biggs, Partner at Theta Global Advisors, commented on the research and on the future of work:
“The vaccine is, of course, a huge leap forward in a quest to return to normality but it is not a magic solution to work restarting exactly how it was this time last year. In fact, this period of immunisation, companies adopting new policies and a substantial number of the workforce not wanting to return, it may not be until 2022 that offices start to resemble what they were in 2019. With London’s footfall dwindling, despite the lifting of restrictions and potentially tougher restrictions set to come into force before Christmas, it is not unfeasible to think 2021 could be as disrupted as this year for businesses and their physical workspaces.
Lockdowns across the country are seemingly forcing millions of Brits back into their home offices, behind kitchen tables and makeshift working spaces, but many Brits are welcoming increased working at home practices to improve their work-life balance and in turn, their mental wellbeing. It is therefore not surprising that the majority of working people want to see their working practices change for good, take stock of their personal and professional lives, and make work, work for them.
The world of work has changed immeasurably in the last year but far more must be done to ensure that such a vital section of the workforce can work in a way that allows them to be productive and prioritise the needs of their families effectively. Companies could risk losing some of their best talent to either more flexible company cultures or freelance and consultancy work if they do not react to the new normal of professional practices.”