New poll finds workers see offices as key for career enhancement and new business relationships

The prospects for the City of London’s office market have received a boost after one of the first post-Omicron polls on employee sentiment around returning to office found that an overwhelming majority of respondents value physical locations to collaborate, develop and socialise.

The results show that 72% of UK full-time workers believe work opportunities happen best when in the office environment, while 79% want a physical workplace for meeting colleagues when considering their next career move.

The poll also confirms that employees recognise the importance of face-to-face interaction, with 72% agreeing that building relationships is easier when based in the office, and 66% saying that a centralised office is key to forging stronger and new working relationships.

The poll, conducted for the City of London Corporation by FTI Consulting as part of a wider sentiment survey on post-COVID working trends, engaged with 892 UK adults who are employed full-time and was undertaken between 2-4 March 2022.

In a further sign of the City’s fundamental resilience, and long-term prospects as an employment destination, a majority of respondents (55%) indicated a clear desire to be back in the office more often, a figure which increased to 57% for Millennials and Generation Z. In addition, 68% recognised the clear career benefits of the office environment for professional advancement and growth.

The findings also reinforce the need for the City to broaden its offer even further, with 61% agreeing that the City should be better used for work and leisure. This is an area the City of London Corporation had been actively working on enhancing prior to the pandemic through its Transport Strategy, draft City Plan and Eastern City Cluster agenda, and which forms a fundamental part of the City’s future ambition for its place.

A City of London Corporation spokesperson said:

“This polling underlines that the Square Mile’s office market has a bright future ahead as developers adapt to post-pandemic trends. The fundamental strength, resilience and adaptability of the City’s commercial offer is further supported by the fact that staff not only want to return more regularly but also view the office as a crucial part of their own development and career progression.

“There is no denying that we have faced testing times, yet the views of workers are clear - despite all of the benefits of remote working, they miss the buzz of workplace and the human interaction that brings.”

“We also recognise the need to enhance the leisure and experience offer of the City and build upon our pre-pandemic agenda on the built environment, transport and digital connectivity to reflect the new economic and social reality. The opening of the Elizabeth Line later this year will bring unrivalled connectivity to the Square Mile, thus encouraging even more people to return to their City workplace.”

The City of London Corporation last month relaunched its ‘Square Smile’ campaign designed to raise awareness of the benefits of returning to the workplace and face-to-face interaction.

The campaign, which was temporarily paused due to the Government’s ‘Plan B’ restrictions, showcases the City’s vibrant offer ranging from world-class culture, heritage, cuisine, entertainment, retail, architecture and much more.

The City Corporation also recently revealed it had been successful in obtaining an Article 4 Direction, protecting offices from automatic residential conversion. The Article 4 Direction removes national permitted development rights for change of use and means any plans to convert office buildings into residential will still require planning permission.


For further information, contact:

Shani Annand-Baron, City of London Corporation: shani.annand-baron@cityoflondon.gov.uk, 07710 860885

Giles Barrie, FTI Consulting: giles.barrie@fticonsulting.com, 07798 926814


Notes to editors

1.     FTI Consulting Employment Sentiment polling

This research was conducted online with n=2001 UK residents from 2-4 March 2022. FTI used conventions for rounding, so not all sum totals might not add up to 100%. For more information on the research methodology, please contact dan.healy@fticonsulting.com

2.     About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk