It’s been a week since we entered the first phase of the ease of lockdown and we were joyfully blessed with sunshine, highstreets bustling with tinkering beer glasses, sunglasses and woolly hats as we braved the fresh spring air over a cold brew.
But with shops, restaurants, cafes, stadiums and pubs now open how many of us returned to work in the office? According to figures from Transport for London, travel on the underground increased by 18% on the first Monday back to work in comparison to the previous Tuesday after the Spring Bank Holiday. Additionally, TomTom’s live data showed that rush-hour car journeys increased by 40% in London than in uncongested conditions. As well as this, locals said that Banker Central, Canary Wharf, was a ghost town until lockdown measures eased and workers returned to the office last week as retail opened for the first time in months!
Although offices are not at full capacity and won’t be for a while, it is clear that there has been a shift in view. Perhaps this has something to do with Google’s recent sudden change in their working from home statement. Last year we saw Google announce that their workforce were allowed to work remotely from anywhere until September 2021, and of course other companies followed suit. However, Google offices in the U.S. are now being fast-tracked to open months before this deadline. Last month, Chief People Officer at Google, Fiona Cicconi, told employees that offices are set to open at different times in each state as per coronavirus cases and employees are asked to ‘live within commuting distance’ of offices, and companies may ‘adjust employees salaries based on where they work.’ Despite allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world Google have now changed their views on this too, and employees who ‘want to work remotely after Sept.1, for more than 14 days per year, [will] have to formally apply for it.’
With the rollout of the vaccine worldwide things are beginning to change fast, and with working from home pioneers like Google changing gear we expect to see the likes of other big companies shift their focus back into the office very soon.
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