Return to Work: The Things We Never Thought We’d Miss About Office Life But Secretly Do!
From overpriced coffees on the commute to memorable Friday hangovers at the office, we grilled Londoners to uncover the guilty pleasures they’re looking forward to as we return to work.
As restrictions keep easing and we get back to the activities missed the most during lockdown, London streets have really come alive again. You can feel it in the air… but it’s also in the data, which shows we’re becoming a more optimistic bunch than we’ve been in over a year!
With the city set to open up on June 21, the anticipation around summer socialising and the next new normal is at an all-time high. For 94% of the nation, this also includes getting back to work at the office at least once a week.
Not everyone’s confident about this bit, with just under half of people admitting they have anxiety around health and the return to work. There’s a few other things we’re grumpy about too.
Reasons Londoners don’t want to return to the office
Online searches for ‘back to the office’ are spiking higher than they have in the last 12 months. Over 2,700 people a month are already searching for things like ‘when do I go back to work after Covid’, ‘do I have to go back to work’ and ‘should I go back to work’ on Google. Here’s why:
- 2 in 5 don’t want to give up the extra time: Having become accustomed to sleeping in, casual wardrobes and meetings from the kitchen table, most are reluctant to get up earlier, get home later or waste time commuting. In short, we’re not keen on losing the time we’ve gained. Baby Boomers dread this the most, with 50% saying it’s their top reason to stay home.
- 2 in 5 are dreading the Tube at rush hour: Anxiety around public transport is high, with most eager to avoid peak hours on the Tube. 25% also admit they dread having to go into the office five days a week, which shows flexibility is a massive priority for London as we get back to work after Covid. Gen X is the most anxious about this aspect of the return to the office, at 36%.
- 1 in 5 can’t be bothered with work clothes: After more than a year in loungewear and pyjamas, spending ages getting ready is a bit of a nightmare. Gen Z feels most passionate about it, with 24% saying wearing work clothes is their least favourite thing about being in the office. Unsurprisingly, women are more anxious about it than men, at 22% compared to 18%.
Feeling a bit anxious about the return to work? We’re here to remind you why you just might love it!
We’ve been longing for loved ones, drinks at the pub and getting back to our favourite London spots, but to truly get back to the version of normal we all recognise and love, office life is crucial, even if it is just for one or two days a week.
Remember socialising with colleagues?
- 2 in 5 can’t wait to do it again!
Video call fatigue is so real even the founder of Zoom has it. We’re all so sick of seeing each other on screens that across every age group, socialising with colleagues ranks as the most exciting thing about getting back to the office.
Remember office lunches?
- 2 in 5 miss food missions with their coworkers
Whether ordering in or exploring some of London’s top cafés, bars, restaurants and food trucks, going for lunch with work mates is the second most exciting thing about office life after lockdown.
Remember having a hard stop on a Friday?
- 1 in 5 look forward to leaving work at the office
When you work from home, workdays and weekends can easily blur into each other, making it hard to switch off and truly relax. But as we get back to work, people admit they’re gassed about having a noticeable difference between the week and the weekend again.
Remember your favourite haunts near the office?
- 1 in 5 miss the bars, restaurants and shops near work
Having an office space in places like Clapham, Camden, Waterloo or Soho means you may as well get out and about to explore since you’re already in the city. That means bars, restaurants and all the shopping you need in your favourite local area.
All of this may seem a bit obvious, but there’s even more! We asked Londoners about some of the things they didn’t think they’d miss too much, but really, really have. Here’s what they said:
There’s also a few things we never thought we’d miss about office life, but actually do!
Overpriced coffee on the way to work – it’s tradition!
1 in 5 Londoners count their overpriced daily coffee as a treasured part of life on the move in the city. Millennials are most excited about their morning Starbucks or Costa, with 19% looking forward to throwing their cash at coffee as they commute.
After work drinks at dodgy bars – when you know the night’s going to be wild
Socialising with colleagues at the office ranks high on our list of priorities, but getting drinks after work is even more appealing, with 1 in 5 saying they’ve missed a good pub crawl.
The last ride home – how the best memories are created
Despite a bit of apprehension, Londoners miss the satisfying feeling of taking the last ride home after an epic night out. It all usually starts with after-work drinks at a dodgy bar!
Friday hangovers at work – totally worth it!
A few drinks on Thursday after work turned into an all-nighter and a kebab in a cab on the way home at 2 in the morning… 1 in 5 have missed hangovers and easy Fridays at the office during lockdown.
Whether you’re feeling a bit anxious about going back to the office, or you’re excited to get out and about in London again, we’ll make sure you get where you’re going safely. From business car hires to private car hires to get around the city, we’re on standby to assist London employees and businesses get back to the office with safe, fast and affordable corporate transportation.
Partnership will see Addison Lee partner drivers provided with access to over 20 charging networks …
In the latest of our series on what our colleagues love about a day (or night) out in London, Damian from our Marketing & Communications team talks London’s villages, the capital’s greatest al fresco drinking spot and South-Eastern Sunday strolls …