Office versus remote working
Cities bring economic benefits in the form of agglomeration and connectivity, which, among other things, spark innovation. Remote working might have maintained productivity throughout the pandemic, but the collaborative benefits of employee interactions within the office will still play a very important role in future working practices.
It’s still early days to determine the full extent to which firms are changing their working habits, but one recent survey by Deloitte suggested that most businesses in London will reduce their office space by c.20%. This is consistent with employee surveys, which indicate a preferred degree of flexibility would be to spend on average 3-4 days in the office, with the remainder of the working week spent at home, to maximise the benefits of the office alongside the convenience and cost-saving of fewer commutes.
There are clearly considerable downside risks to office occupational markets over the next five years. However, these results still indicate that city centre offices will continue to provide a key function in fostering collaboration and innovation amongst employees, and therefore the draw of a vibrant city centre will still remain.