London: Before the Covid 19 crisis kicked in, over 80% of all workers in London’s financial district used public transportation to get to work. Many of them work from home these days, while others have been furloughed. The crisis brought London to a standstill. Plus, the capacity today comes with a series of restrictions and new rules for those who need to use public transportation.
The lockdown to curb the outbreak was imposed in March. Lots of people have been working from home, including bank or insurance workers. However, while it looks like a good idea in the first place, some believe that the long-term effects of this trend will not be too positive. Obviously, it represents a good way to prevent the virus from spreading, but it may have some dangers.
People working from their living rooms or kitchens are more difficult to supervise. While they do follow certain rules and some aspects of the business can be checked, this is not a general rule. For example, some of them could be using their private emails or phones to get in touch with customers, which is often against internal rules.
As restrictions were eased and the lockdown was lifted, people have started returning to work. But even so, the skyscrapers in London’s business district still look deserted. They used to host some of the biggest players on the market. Just like everyone was expecting it, no one was in a rush to get back to normal.
Chief executive of Canary Wharf Group, Shobi Khan, said that “people are not worried about the office.” Instead, they seem to be more worried about getting there. The general idea is to avoid public transportation. Instead, working from home is an official option for many of the companies housed in the financial district.
According to the political leader of London, Catherine McGuinness, it seems the advice coming from officials is not clear enough. There is not enough confidence in the system. She expects more people to return to work in September. By the end of the year, the number of workers reaching the city center will gradually increase.
The government has relaxed the social distancing rules. People no longer need two meters between them, but one. In other words, public transportation can take more people, yet the capacity is still relatively limited. Catherine McGuinness agreed that it would not be how it was before, both in the long and the short term. The virus is expected to hang around for a while – maybe even become a seasonal issue. In other words, social distancing could become a lifestyle these days.