Two out of five people living and working in Inner London could do their jobs elsewhere, as workers adapt to new ways of working prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a review of current official government data by workplace specialists.
Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) says this means that as many as 835,000 roles could be relocated away from the 14 boroughs that make up Inner London in its new report The Future of Work in Inner London.
AWA used the latest data from the Office of National Statistics NOMIS datasets and focused its exploration on the 14 boroughs of Inner London, and assigned a likelihood that work roles can be relocated – with positions in healthcare, education and skilled trades less likely, while customer service, administration, managerial and a significant amount of civil service are more likely.
On this basis, AWA estimated that 835,000 roles could move out of Inner London, which is some 41 per cent of the current workforce.
AWA says the report details the significant implications this will have on the individual, the organisation and the local London economy, and provides recommendations for organisations seeking to incorporate flexibility in their offering.
The pandemic has shown organisations and their employees what can be done in different ways and places than they’ve traditionally been configured.
It also raises important questions for policymakers about location strategies, property needs, and transport planning, says AWA.
It concludes that if what the firm has identified does occur "there will be winners and losers" and adds that the key for organisations, individuals and landlords will be "to embrace the changes and evolve to new models of working and thinking".
AWA said: "The movement to flexibility is not new, it has just been accelerated by the experiences of working during the pandemic."
It states that any such changes will require Transport for London to review its long-term planning strategy to accommodate different work patterns and hospitality chains may need to rethink how they locate outlets, with less emphasis on Inner London and more incentive for workers from home to “go out” to purchase lunch or enjoy after work socialising organisations embrace flexibility at different points in time from the early adopters in the tech sector to the later adopters in the insurance sector.
AWA said: "Many progressive leaders are embracing the change and using it as a competitive weapon. Others are rallying against the change because it’s not in line with their experience or thinking. One thing is true; the journey to mobility, flexibility and virtuality is a journey that all organisations are on, whether they like it or not."