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London leads work from home culture in the UK

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Women were more likely than men to say the ability to work from home had a positive impact on their lives. Photo: Getty
Women were more likely than men to say the ability to work from home had a positive impact on their lives. Photo: Getty

The majority of Londoners enjoy and value working from home, according to a new study that showed most workers believe they will never return to the office full-time after the COVID pandemic changed the work culture.

Research from King's College found just 10% of staff thought they would return to the office five days a week compared with 73% who said working remotely at least one day a week would be a permanent feature of modern life.

The research published on Wednesday showed 20% of London workers are in the office full-time, with a further 13% working at home on a full-time basis.

Some 61% said they now work from home at least one day a week, compared with 37% pre-pandemic, according to the survey of 2,000 working Londoners.

Women were more likely than men to say that the ability to balance work-life commitments was one of the positive impacts of working from home.

Of the respondents, 79% found working from home has had a positive impact on their life, listing avoiding the commute as a top benefit. Over four-fifths (84%) of women reported this compared to 76% of men.

Image: King's College London
Image: King's College London

However, not all trends from the study appear positive. Workers surveyed were twice as likely to agree that widespread remote work policies would disproportionately hurt young people’s careers.

Equally, 50% of employees think senior managers work regularly from home while just 27% feel their bosses encourage them to do the same.

Meanwhile, over half (56%) believe senior management want workers to come into the workplace more often while only 16% said managers approved of home working.

Mark Kleinman, professor of public policy at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, said: "The revolution in working practices kickstarted by COVID-19 has sparked intense debate — but it is clear that London workers are mostly hugely positive about working from home, with four in five saying they have experienced benefits from doing so.

"This is partly down to practical changes to their routines, such as avoiding commuting and being able to better manage other responsibilities at home, but there are also less tangible factors at play, including a greater feeling of control and of being connected to things that really matter to them."

Read more: UK firms more open to flexible working, study finds

It comes as some UK workers start working a four-day work week. From 6 June, 3,300 employees across 70 firms started taking part in the trial with no loss of pay, in what organisers say is the biggest pilot of its type to take place anywhere in the world.

The programme, organised by academics at Oxford and Cambridge universities and Boston College in the US, will run from June to December, with a range of businesses and charities such as local fish and chip shop to large corporate companies taking part.

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