London Offices Not Yet As Bustling As Before Omicron
UNITED KINGDOM – Office workers in the City of London have not yet returned to their workplaces in the financial district in numbers witnessed prior to the surge of the Omicron variant, reported Bloomberg on Sunday (12 June, SGT).
According to statistics compiled by search giant Google, which monitors the movements of some of its users, roughly 60 percent to 70 percent of City of London staff have returned to their offices – down from the 75 percent seen before the Omicron wave happened in late-2021.
Nonetheless, in the London boroughs of Islington and Camden, home to the King’s Cross neighbourhood which has attracted tech giants including Meta and Alphabet, about the same percentage of staff have returned to their office as prior to the Omicron surge. It averages at about 55 percent to 65 percent depending on the day and location.
The number of employees who have returned to their workplace has varied in recent weeks because of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and school holidays.
Notably, companies urging their employees to return to their workplace continue to meet resistance from staff, who have enjoyed a better work-life balance due to not having to commute to work. Based on a report published last week by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, nearly 80 percent of London-based staff working remotely at least once per week shared that telecommuting has been good for them.
Aside from that, the rising price of everything from lunches to train travel may be deterring office workers from commuting, as inflation has spiked to nearly 10 percent in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced earlier in June 2022 that the country’s economy would be sluggish in 2023, with only Russia expected to perform worse among leading economies.