Central London workers are embracing one of the latest trends to emerge from the post-pandemic era: shorter work weeks.
For many of these professionals, this means that Thursday is their new Friday, and coming into the office just three or four days a week has been normalized.
While this is a win for the battle for flexibility, it is also having an impact on business activity in city centers.
“In terms of pattern in the cities, Mondays tend to be quieter, Fridays tend to be quieter, Thursday very strong,” said Phil Urban, CEO of pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers. “While the suburban business is still doing well, people who would have had a meal or a pint near their home are doing it in London.”
The office return has been slow as companies navigate the best way to usher workers into the workplace, without suppressing their desire for flexible arrangements. This has led to a dip in sales and revenue for businesses in city centers, particularly those that rely on office activity.
Hybrid policies are not going anywhere, but also means that businesses in city centers may struggle to see a full recovery.
Because of this, the UK’s government is pushing for a return to the office. Although this is partially being veiled as a desire to boost productivity, research shows hybrid working does little to impact productive output (and in many cases improves it).