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Paris vs London: Which city offers the most WFH flexibility?

Tan KW
Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 03:08 PM
Tan KW
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Paris and London are often compared to each other, as both are seen as global cities. Bloomberg Intelligence has looking into how they compare when it comes to working from home (WFH). The research reveals that the British capital is far more conducive to remote working than its French counterpart.

The organisation surveyed 500 office workers in the UK and 250 in France on their work-from-home habits. The results show that Londoners are more likely to be able to work from home than Parisians. Indeed, 20% of working people living in the French capital are not allowed to do so, compared with just 4% of their British counterparts.

A number of factors explain why so many Londoners have adopted hybrid work, an organisational mode combining in-person and remote working. The first is financial. Indeed, workers in the UK city have to contend with the very high cost of public transport. The majority of them (57%) explain that this prevents them from visiting their company’s offices more regularly.

By comparison, only a quarter of respondents in France said that the cost of public transport discouraged them from going to the office. This is hardly surprising, given that French law obliges all employers to cover part of the cost of their employees’ commutes to and from work.

Childcare costs are another area of expenditure that drives Londoners towards remote working. Bloomberg Intelligence points out that childcare costs are twice as high in the British capital as in France. This leads many London workers to adopt an organisational mode that enables them to look after their children while working.

Working from home is well established in London

The same report shows that Londoners won’t give up their work-from-home privileges easily. Most of those surveyed by Bloomberg Intelligence say they would ask for a substantial pay rise if their current job did not allow them to work from home. Only 28% of French respondents would do the same.

These disparities attest to the fact that Londoners believe they are in a strong position in the job market, unlike their counterparts across the Channel. Indeed, the UK has been facing significant labour shortages since the end of the pandemic.

The number of vacancies remains at a historically high level, even though the cost-of-living crisis is prompting more and more Britons to review their career expectations. In any case, employees in the private sector can be demanding, not only in terms of pay, but also in terms of remote work flexibility.

There’s every reason to believe that this type of work organization still has a bright future ahead in London. Companies are having to come to terms with this situation, even as they step up their calls for employees to return to the office. Some are taking a gentle approach, encouraging workers to return to the office with bonuses and benefits. But there’s no guarantee that this will work.

The American firm Meta is well aware of this. In September, it reversed its decision to rent two office buildings in the heart of London for its employees, according to the Guardian. As a result, it had to pay a penalty of £149mil to the owner, British Land.

 - AFP Relaxnews

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