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A total of 13% of London business leaders say that their business will shift to working from home completely, rather than a permanent commercial office, once the lockdown has ended. The figures come from London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) polling with Savanta ComRes of 500 London...

A total of 13% of London business leaders say that their business will shift to working from home completely, rather than a permanent commercial office, once the lockdown has ended.

The figures come from London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) polling with Savanta ComRes of 500 London business leaders (online between 30 April and 2 June) about the impact of Covid-19 on their business.

When asked, which of the following, if any, do you think your business will make standard practice, once the lockdown has ended:

  • 37% said ‘conducting a greater proportion of meetings virtually.’
  • 37% said ‘permitting employees to work from home more often.’
  • 27% said ‘reducing business travel outside of their city (domestic and international).’
  • 13% said ‘shifting to working from home completely and not using a permanent commercial office.’

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Covid-19 accelerated the realisation of many companies that their business can truly operate remotely.

“These results reflect that many are now recognising that there may be a longer-term opportunity in either totally, or partially, reducing their need for an office base.  Which, if it transpires, would raise future questions about land availability and usage in parts of the capital.”

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Other headline results from the polling show 9% of respondents saying they have already ‘permanently closed physical premises’, whilst business leaders said the following about furlough:

  • 28% of London businesses have furloughed at least one member of their staff.
  • A much higher share (64%) of larger companies (10+ staff) have furloughed at least one employee, compared to 24% of micro firms (1-9 staff).
  • Among the 35% of business leaders of firms that have furloughed or plan to furlough employees, 23% of this group said that unless their business’s conditions improve by the end of the scheme* they will have to lay off all furloughed staff.
  • 39% of those have furloughed or plan to furlough employees said that unless conditions improve by the end of the scheme they will have to lay off some furloughed staff, and pay the wages of those who are retained themselves.

Mr Burge added: “The Government’s economic support package has been unprecedented and business is grateful for the support during this difficult time.

“Our research shows close to a third of London businesses using the furlough scheme, but also the ongoing risk of redundancies amongst those firms if economic conditions haven’t significantly improved as the scheme is scaled back.

“It is clear already that sectors like aviation, tourism, hospitality and leisure are going to see a delayed recovery. We urge the Government to stay open to the need of targeted sector support.

“And one measure that the Government could implement now is to raise the rateable value cap from £51,000 to £150,000. This will allow over 19,000 additional retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in London to access business rates grant support in order to help them to survive and play a key part in the capital’s recovery.”

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