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The working-from-home revolution kickstarted by the COVID-19 pandemic remains highly politicised and fiercely debated, with disputes over what this shift means for productivity and the economy, and over who should have a say in where people work.

To explore these issues, the Policy Institute and King's Business School carried out a representative survey of 2,030 London workers aged 16+, between 23 June and 12 July 2022, as part of a joint programme of activities and research called Work/Place: London returning. The survey reveals the following key findings:

  • Employees in the capital disapprove of politicians telling people where they should be working – and they take even less kindly to politicians suggesting that people who work from home are less hardworking.
  • There are signs that the rising cost of living could lead to greater levels of home-working, as well as less spending in the capital – but older people are less likely to think this will have an impact on their behaviour.
  • Levelling up the country has been a key feature of political rhetoric in recent years, and large proportions of London workers think new ways of working could help rebalance the economy and have a positive impact on places outside of the capital.
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