The future of offices
Sir: I agree with much of Gerard Lyons’s article about the future of the capital (‘London in limbo’, 8 August), but there is more to consider. Before the virus, many organisations considered having staff working from home. However, there were always objections: people needed to be at meetings; the technology wasn’t good enough; questions over whether workers would work their contracted hours.
With the onset of the virus, working from home was forced upon many, and has proved to work better than could ever have been expected. Will these workers ever want to come back to the office? Many will miss the social side of work, but will be very happy not to spend ten hours a week commuting, and to avoid spending thousands of pounds a year on getting to and from work.
If this ‘experiment’ of working from home succeeds, there will be many organisations currently renting very expensive offices in London which find that they don’t need so much space. They might question whether it is worth the expense.
If we can work from home, why not move to a less expensive part of the country and have both a better home and lifestyle? This could have a big effect on property costs: commercial and domestic.
Sir: Dr Lyons’s concern for London’s economic infrastructure misses a key issue: how, once they have arrived at their office blocks, do the workers reach their desks? My wife’s company employs some 2,000 people on six floors. The building has four lifts which, thanks to distancing regulations, can now carry only one person each, where once they took 12. The fit can walk up six floors, but how would people manage in a 30-storey skyscraper?
Peer on peers
Sir: Colin Amies is not entirely right (Letters, 8 August).