Seeing the old familiar buzz returning to the streets of the City of London is a welcome sight and one which cannot help but bring a smile to one’s face. The sight of friends and colleagues greeting one another, restaurants and cafes thriving once more and a vibrant cultural scene underlines what we always knew: the Square Mile is not just a place where business is done. It is a place where people come together to work, socialise and to breathe in the history of its beautiful heritage.
There is nowhere on earth quite like it. Whatever London you are looking for, you will find it in the Square Mile.
Today, as of old, the City pulsates with energy and there has never been a better moment for workers to return and enjoy its vibrancy. TfL data shows that City stations are busier than they have been since before the pandemic. The Waterloo & City Line once again fired up earlier this year, and we hope to see it return fully to boost capacity for customers.
To build on this momentum, we have launched a new campaign – Square Smile – to support retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, as well as cultural attractions, by encouraging people back into the Square Mile for both work and play.
The small and medium sized enterprises which operate in these fields are the life blood of the City, but many have faced exceptionally challenging trading conditions.
The Square Smile campaign is the result of the final report of the City of London Corporation’s Recovery Taskforce published earlier this year.
At the heart of this plan are a series of detailed actions to be taken, in the course of the next five years, which will enhance the City’s competitiveness and attractiveness, focusing on three key dimensions of the Square Mile’s offer: its world class business ecosystem, its vibrant cultural offer and outstanding environments.
The vision underpinning this is ensuring that the City is the world’s most innovative, inclusive and sustainable centre by adapting to post-pandemic economic and social trends.
There is no denying that new ways of working are here to stay, with many firms adapting to hybrid models. At the same time, however, it also clear that most people want access to the variety and spontaneity on offer in the City which is just not possible when only working from home.
The best of what the City has to offer will be on show, from its world-class culture, to its incredible heritage, to its diverse cuisine, entertainment, retail, and architecture. It will help bring about our vision for a vibrant, 24/7 City.
Both hybrid workers and those who have returned fully will be the target of our campaign. We all missed these parts of our lives over the last year, and as we all navigate a new way of coming back to the City, there will be a host of cultural draws on offer.
Human beings are not wired to live in isolation. There are numerous benefits of face-to-face interaction in the workplace. A number of firms have given their staff more flexibility on where and how they work, in acknowledgement of this balance.
Whether it be collaborating with teammates, going for a spontaneous lunch or having the opportunity to go for after work drinks, the City can help to bring people together.