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What do Londoners think about the Future of the Workplace?

Flexible working gets the thumbs up!

BEE Midtown – enhancing business practice and connecting people in Midtown – has conducted research, in association with the Evening Standard, into Londoners’ attitude towards their working practices.

This is ahead of BEE Midtown’s second event in its series, The Big Ideas Exchange, looking at the future of the workplace in London, especially the Midtown areas of Holborn, St. Giles, Bloomsbury, Farringdon and Clerkenwell – exploring factors such as flexible working, AI and achieving that elusive work/life balance.

Clearly, the city’s desire for flexible working is strong with 78% of Londoners wanting to have such arrangements, such as working from home. Regardless of this, almost 3 in 10 Londoners check emails every weekday evening, and 22% work through lunch each day, despite external evidence consistently showing that taking regular breaks is critical for productivity.

The city’s working environments are changing too, as over a third of Londoners work from home and 27% work flexitime at least a few times a month. The discussion continues as to how remote working can help achieve work/life balance. In fact, 17% of Midtowners measure how well they are doing in life by their work/life balance, second only to the experiences they have in life.

However, despite the attraction to work remotely/flexibly, 60% of Londoners (64% of Midtowners) feel it is important for the company they work for to have a centralised place of work.

The future of the workplace will undoubtedly be shaped by the rapid uptake of technology. Over a third of Londoners think their line of business is being disrupted by new technologies. While technology for some businesses might merely include mini-laptops and mobile devices, a trend for more sophisticated technology – such as AI and robotics – is developing.

However, this trend is at times met with trepidation by the public, with 61% acknowledging that AI is coming, but express fear of the unknown. Only a third (33%) embrace the fact that it could change how their company operates for the better.

Tass Mavrogordato, CEO of Bee Midtown, says of the research, “There is no question that the traditional workplace has to evolve to meet the changing expectations of employees, businesses and advancements in technology. Bee Midtown challenges the physical parameters of the workplace by improving the economic development, sustainability and philanthropy of the Midtown district.”

“Recent examples of this include supporting TfL with the upgrade of Holborn tube station; working with property developers and owners to enhance inward investment and growth; enabling joined up procurement services that improve air quality by reducing emissions; and, supporting a hyper local community through networking and destination marketing. It’s our aim to create a futureproof environment in which businesses will thrive.”

The revered panellists at the event include key figures within the industry including Alex Hirst, co-founder of The Hoxby Collective – a global community of freelancers working via an innovative, virtual model – as well as Patrick Nelson, Executive Vice President, WeWork Europe and GroupM’s Director of Talent, Emy Rumble-Mettle.

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