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Remote working? Here to stay or a means to an end? Let's find out...

How the pandemic will shape the future of work is seemingly already one of the most popular subjects of discussion. Join Steven Reilly-Hii, Senior Media Relations Manager at London Chamber of Commerce for a candid look at what the future of work looks like.

If you’re fed up of it then best to stop reading now. But if not, you may find figures released today by London Chamber of Commerce and Industry of interest.

Those figures add to examples that you’ll have no doubt read about, where businesses have outlined that they intend to exit the pandemic (and let’s hope that happens soon) with some form of the remote working that they’ve relied upon during it intact.

And according to LCCI’s latest figures the ‘some’ looks to potentially be a sizeable number – as 52% of the 500 business leaders surveyed said they would be keeping some form of remote working in place during the post-pandemic working week. Plus be more flexible about their hours. All the more significant a figure given that remote working didn’t apply to the nature of the business of a third polled. So that’s the vast majority of those who can embracing some form of remote working each week.

And a third polled also said they will use less physical workspace beyond the pandemic, which supports the above statistics of a shift, in whatever quantity, to post-pandemic remote working.

What ‘some form’ of remote working will look like for each business will vary in terms of amount, but it’s fair to assume from the figures that, if it indeed transpires, then some parts of London will certainly be quieter on certain days than they were pre-pandemic.

Whether motivated by remote productivity, those at the top also liking more flexible location, a bottom-line saving on real estate, a reduced workforce due to the economic impact of covid, LCCI’s polling shows at least the intention of ingraining a ‘hybrid’ week of working for many businesses and employees post-pandemic.

That would have consequence for some areas and respective support businesses. It would also offer opportunity to other parts of London – who see an increased amount of workers remaining in them on some days than previously.

For example, LCCI member, Clockwise, has recently opened a co-working space in Wood Green – deliberately targeting a location outside of the centre.

In London especially, some employees may enjoy the increased flexibility regarding working location, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they wish or are able to work from home.

LCCI’s polling results will raise questions for the Transport for London funding model. Particularly during the absence of international tourism. Indeed, the figures again highlight the need to have safe systems in place at the borders to allow for, and give confidence to, tourists to again visit central London especially.

They also provide further evidence of a need for flexible season ticket options on the London-bound rail network. Which would also bring benefit to part-time / job share workers anyhow.

LCCI also asked questions about social distance in the workplace, incentives for business and visitors to central London, and confidence in economic recovery.

There’s much written about the death of London. Economically COVID-19 has certainly hit the capital harder than many other places in the UK. And there’s a political narrative afoot in some quarters which seems to wish to ignore London’s role in the UK, and indeed how that could drive the recovery.

There’s a long way to go yet on that road to recovery and the ‘new normal’ will vary greatly business by business, but London is, of course, going to bounce back from covid and remain a great place to work and enjoy - and increasingly flexible employment terms may make that even more so. 

Have a read of the results here.

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