By Joe Talora, local democracy reporter
Half of London’s businesses plan to continue remote working in some capacity once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, according to a new survey.
The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents business leaders in the capital, commissioned a survey of 500 businesses which found that 52 per cent planned to continue remote working in some form.
Of those that said they would continue remote working, 36 per cent said they would allow staff to work from home for at least two days a week, while 16 per cent said they would continue remote working but in a reduced manner.
More than 40 per cent of businesses said they had reduced physical space, such as offices, during the pandemic and 31 per cent said they would continue with a reduced space.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the chamber, said that London councils and the Mayor of London must work together “to consider how to respond to the change this could bring to central and local high streets”.
Mr Burge said: “This is a further body of evidence that shows changes to ways of working that we have seen during the pandemic are going to carry on in some form for some businesses after it is over.
“Our research shows that half of businesses will continue some remote working, whilst a third of businesses polled will continue with reduced physical space, and three in five will maintain virtual meetings where possible.
“That will mean less commuters daily in certain parts of London than pre-covid. Clearly this presents challenge for support businesses in those areas.
“Meanwhile more people will remain in their ‘home’ boroughs each day, and that brings potential opportunity to those areas. For example, outer London co-working spaces.”
Recent analysis from City Hall revealed that commuter spending in central London fell by £1.9 billion in 2020 compared to the year before, while a new report predicted up to 119,000 face-to-face jobs could be lost by 2023 if home working continued to be the dominant trend and tourist numbers did not return to pre-pandemic levels.
The Chamber of Commerce survey found that 82 per cent of businesses were in favour of incentives to encourage new businesses to open in central London, while 71 per cent said they supported incentives to attract visitors and workers into central London once it is safe to do so.
Earlier this month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched a £6 million campaign aimed at supporting the safe reopening of central London’s economy and attracting visitors back to the area.
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