BOE Says Work After Covid Will Be Both in Home and Offices

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Many of Britain’s workers will remain at home at least part of the time after the coronavirus pandemic passes, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in comments that put him at odds with one of his fellow policy makers.

The U.K. central bank’s chief expects a “hybrid” model to prevail where employees spend some time in the office, but not as much as before Covid-19. His remarks have huge implications for real estate investors and city-center restaurants built up on the assumption that offices would only grow.

About a third of working adults are currently operating full-time from home, according to Office for National Statistics data. Some of those habits and practices will stick, Bailey said Monday in an interview on British Broadcasting Corp. “Today” program.

BOE Says Work After Covid Will Be Both in Home and Offices

“There will be, for many people, more of a hybrid model of working at home and working in a place of work,” Bailey said. Asked about the negative impact of such a shift on the businesses surrounding the bank’s Threadneedle Street headquarters, he added “I look forward to that it will to a degree return, but I think things will be different. I would be very surprised if we went back to exactly as we were before Covid.”

His comments contrast with the view of fellow BOE policy maker Jonathan Haskel. Earlier this month he said most companies will ask employees to return to the office after the pandemic because working from home hurts productivity, resulting in less of a structural shift. The central bank’s Chief Economist Andy Haldane said in October that working from home was damaging Britain’s creative potential and that a hybrid was best for productivity.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to slowly loosen current restrictions through the middle of the year after reopening schools on March 8. Under his current road-map to remove restrictions, Britons have been told to work from home where possible until at least June 21.

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