Top companies are laying on the perks to convince staff to return to offices in London.
Early figures show a 19% jump in tube passengers and 43% more on buses up to 9am today, compared with last week, as tens of thousands go back to pre-pandemic life.
Some of the UK’s biggest employers have ordered employees to get back to their desks – but many West End and banking firms have sweetened the deal by giving out extra benefits, the Evening Standard reports.
Estate agent Knight Frank is offering rooftop barbecues, while media company VCCP has hired a barista to hand out free breakfasts every day for the next fortnight.
Banking company Goldman Sachs is also providing free breakfasts, while workers can head up to the roof garden to enjoy complimentary lunches.
Meanwhile, property company British Land has collaborated with the National Theatre to provide free cultural events.
Many businesses are allowing workers to split their time working from home so they can still enjoy the ‘diverse and thriving culture’ of the big city.
People employed at law firm Linklaters will be able to work remotely for between 20% and 50% of their time, if pre-planned.
Bosses at consultants EY said they expect most staff to ‘normally spend at least two days a week working remotely with the remainder of their time spent working together in person’.
The Government’s official work from home guidance was removed on ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19.
However, it was recommended that companies provide a ‘gradual return over the summer’.
It comes after Rishi Sunak warned young people that working from home could hurt their careers.
The Chancellor – who once worked for Goldman Sachs himself – said he doubted he would have had so much success if he’d been working virtually.
He told LinkedIn News: ‘I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom.
‘That’s why I think for young people in particular, being able to physically be in an office is valuable.’
Despite Mr Sunak’s remarks, insiders have told the Daily Mail that Whitehall hasn’t seen many workers back at desks.
Ministers are waiting to assess the impact of children returning to classes on Covid infection numbers, it’s suggested.
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