First, they wanted to ‘save our NHS’ and demanded that we all stay at home, I did not speak out—because I believed the science led, government advice
Then they came for the big businesses to furlough staff as well as getting those not on furlough working from home. I did not speak out— because my business was only a small one and I believed the science led, government advice and wanted to keep the NHS safe.
Then they came for the travel industry, and I did not speak out—because I was not about to go on holiday as mine was cancelled weeks ago and I still believed the science led government advice and wanted to keep the NHS safe.
Then they came for my business. I no longer believed the science led, government advice or that the NHS needs keeping safe any longer as it is running at only 50% capacity and coping very well indeed. By not making those ‘big businesses’ and civil servants get back to their offices, there was no one left to speak for me as all my customers who worked in those offices will never come back.*
By the time the country awakens from the post Covid19 stupor, the big city centres as we know them, will not ever be the same.
Let’s spin some thoughts and consequences out here with this scenario.
Big firms and the civil service keep staff from a wholesale return to those huge offices, even today only 10% have returned to London
Employers will now want to reclaim London weighting paid while home working yet no longer relevent, company cars to be returned as they no longer are needed- nobody goes to meetings any more, expense accounts removed etc
No commuting means that you can live anywhere while working from home, just as long as you have an internet connection that is reliable
As you can now live anywhere, your very expensive ‘commuter belt’ home will collapse in value as the commuter belt could now extend to Sydney, NSW.
If that thinking is taken to its extreme, why employ staff living in a commuter belt at all when the staffing costs could be much less using home workers? And of course, we all know where that ends up if you look at the growth of the call centre!
No commuting or business travel means no aircraft, airports or trains are needed as they were, no Crossrail, no tube, no remora support businesses are needed in cities like, for example, London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh. That means service sector job losses- no customers for airlines, hotels, restaurants, theatres, coffee shops, sandwiches, shoe repairs, tailors, chemists, doctors, dentists, even Deliveroo…..the support list is endless. Not one will be left because big business is in no hurry to get staff back!
Sometimes, by believing they are keeping their staff safe working from home when the chances of most of the population getting Covid19 are less than being hit by a bus, employers have lost sight of the social responsibility they owe to the areas they have chosen to invest and locate their office workplace.
Please big brands, and of course ALL government departments, get your staff back in the office now before it is just too late!
And for those big distribution firms in the financal services world, your customers pretty much all come from financial advisers large and small, they are their clients. So many of these businesses that will die if workers do not return to their desks now are IFA clients. They were the source of your inflows- investment, pension funds, life assurance, mortgages.
No SMEs equals a big reduction in new business opportunity and a major threat to fund outflows in hard times for the unemployed who will be unable to afford investments, pensions, life assurances, their mortgages or when most needed, financial advice.
All because of the failure to see a call from Government and the business world to the many thousands of their staff to return to their offices.
Only today I understand that the UK working population that is back at work is some 34%. France it is 83%. As of August 2, 2020, approximately 9.6 million jobs, from 1.2 million different employers were furloughed in the United Kingdom
Let’s just get back to work!
An adaptation of the famous verse by Martin Niemoller