City workers reluctant to return to the office after joys of home working

Canary Wharf

Almost two thirds of bankers and traders think that they will work from home for at least one day a week after the pandemic, according to a survey by Deutsche Bank that suggests a dramatic shift in City working patterns.

The German group, which has a significant presence in the Square Mile, has found that the longer they stay away from their offices, the more comfortable financial services workers are to be working from home.

Its latest monthly survey of about 450 financial market professionals around the world found that 57 per cent thought they would work from home between one and three days a week once the coronavirus crisis had receded, up from 39 per cent in April.

A smaller proportion believed that they would spend four days or the whole week away from the office. Those respondents who believed that they would work from home only when they needed to in future fell to 31 per cent from 47 per cent last month.

The spread of the virus has forced a shift to remote working in the City, on Wall Street and in Asian financial hubs. Fund managers and traders are now navigating the markets from trading screens set up in home offices, kitchens and even bedrooms.

Jim Reid, one of the market strategists behind the survey, said: “Necessity is the mother of invention. Before the crisis, there was less incentive for people to be set up to work at home. The first few weeks were a bit challenging for a lot of people, but the teething problems now seem to have been ironed out.”

There were signs even before the pandemic that the City culture of long office hours was starting to change. Last year the Association for Financial Markets in Europe and the Investment Banking Association started to push for trading hours in Europe, including Britain, to be shortened to improve traders’ work-life balance.