Tuesday 21 July 2020 5:24 am

DEBATE: With one in three of us wanting to keep working from home, is it too soon to urge Londoners back to the office?

and Benedict Spence
Benedict Spence is a freelance writer. He is on Twitter @BenedictSpence

With one in three of us wanting to keep working from home, is it too soon to urge Londoners back to the office?

Ben Kelly, a commentator for Reaction, says YES.

For months we were told to stay at home and hide from the deadly virus. Unfortunately — for the government and our economy — getting people to behave as they did before isn’t as simple as flicking a switch. 

Many of us everyday heroes have plucked up the courage to have a pint or a slap-up meal for the good of the country, but our undoubted bravery doesn’t yet stretch to rushing into our “Covid-ready” workplaces 

We’ve discovered the joy of a real work life balance. The commute from my living room to my office is way easier than my drive to work, never mind a miserable journey on public transport. 

I’ve gained back an average of 70 minutes a day. That’s more time with my beloved TV and Xbox, and also with my wife and children. I’m supposed to give this up to support my local Esso garage and Subway? 

No wonder a third of office workers want to continue to work from home. The times they are a-changing.

Read more: Welcome to the blended office

Benedict Spence, a freelance writer, says NO.

I’m looking forward to returning to an office. 

Mine isn’t standard, being a freelance journalist, but I do miss the routine of getting up and out of the house, wearing actual clothes and with a purpose. Sitting on the sofa in your boxers eating cornflakes for eight hours may be easier, but it isn’t exactly dignified, regardless of increased productivity.

Apparently a third of UK workers want to keep the option to work at home. There have been suggestions that these, though, are a privileged third — the cohort with nice homes to work in to begin with. But even the most privileged must miss human contact after a while.

As The Simpsons most privileged character, Mr Burns, said of boxing matches: “It’s one of those rare occasions that I savour the sights, sounds and smells of other men.” Title fight it ain’t, but the end of lockdown is the year’s headline event. Who wants to spend it working from home? 

Read more: Lockdown London: A tale of two cities

Main image credit: Getty

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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