JPMorgan and Linklaters signal end of the daily commute for City workers

Linda J. Dodson

Meanwhile Linklaters has told employees worldwide that they will be allowed to spend between 20pc and 50pc of their time working remotely once all Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, as long as they tell their bosses in advance and are able to get the job done. 

Employees who come to the office may also get more control over their hours. The firm is considering the introduction of more flexible start and finish times. 

Staff at Linklaters, where lawyers often work punishing hours into the night and over weekends, may also be able to adapt their schedules to allow for commitments outside of work. 

The changes will apply to Linklaters’ offices worldwide, including its Silk Street headquarters in central London. 

Andrea Arosio, a member of Linklaters’ global people committee, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and our enforced remote working experiment has given us an opportunity to take stock and revisit how we approach agile and remote working.”   

It is the latest blow to the long-term prospects of pubs, restaurants and other businesses which rely on passing trade from office workers.

In total 522,000 people work in the City of London, 70pc of them in high-skilled jobs, and along with Canary Wharf it is home to the vast majority of Britain’s powerhouse financial services industry – a source of £75.5bn in tax last year. Firms have spent years and billions of pounds building up the capital with hundreds of square miles of world-class office space.

Linklaters’ main rivals are yet to outline their long term plans for remote working but some have hinted that they are likely to allow staff to work from home more often.   

A spokesman for Allen & Overy said: “Over recent weeks and months we have proven the ability for the whole firm to work successfully from home and we are keen for our employees to retain that flexibility on an ongoing basis.”  

Freshfields, which is about to begin a move from Fleet Street to a new office in Bishopsgate, is also reviewing its working policy due to the pandemic.    

Many of London’s major law practices already allowed staff to work from home part of the time before coronavirus hit, but the popularity of working from home among some employees means it is likely to become more common.   

Clifford Chance and Slaughter and May – the other two Magic Circle firms – plan to bring more staff back to the office next month but so far have not changed their long-term policies on working from home. 

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