he legacy of the pandemic casts a long shadow over us, but something which affords us hope is the remarkable resilience that London has demonstrated. Buoyed by a bumper summer of world-class cultural events and an exponential rise in visitors to the capital, London’s economic recovery is defying all expectations.
It has meant leisure travel has not just returned to but exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Tube passenger numbers on Saturdays have surpassed equivalent 2019 dates on several occasions this year while ridership figures across our public transport network have recovered strongly.
However, the pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the move to more flexible and remote working. And with many Londoners enjoying the benefits of an improved work-life balance, and some businesses reporting productivity gains and efficiencies, it is a trend that some experts predict is unlikely to be reversed in the near future, if at all.
Despite some advantages of home working, spending time in the workplace and engaging face to face with colleagues is essential for personal development and effective teamwork. It is also helps us achieve our best. London is busy, entrepreneurial and creative. We are a city of great diversity, a home to a global talent pool and a forum for ideas, enterprise and art. Much of our success relies on personal connection and collaboration that only really happens when people are together in the office, studio or shop floor.
Nor can the social and cultural benefits be overlooked. We can buy food from all around the world a short stroll from the office at lunchtime and the best pubs, bars and cafes for an after-work social in the evening. And many of these small businesses and the staff they employ depend on commuter-driven trade.
My message to Londoners is this — the capital is the greatest place in the world in which to work and play. You can’t get the best out of it from your desk at home, being here is the only way to make the most of everything London has to offer.
Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London