What caught my attention this week.
For anyone who owned US tech stocks that crashed in 2022 in part because the company hadn’t accelerated much after all. years in the digital futurethe UK offices look a bit Twilight Zone.
Supposedly, life is back to normal, so there’s less need for Zoom or Amazon, let alone ASOS or Peloton. The extra capacity these companies scaled up to provide during the lockdowns is therefore redundant. Cue sinking ratings, and mass layoffs of skilled workers in the technology sector.
That is the narrative we have heard for at least six months. However, I personally only know of one former office worker who has returned to work full time.
Most of my friends with office jobs only do it a few days a week. They say they hate losing the freedoms they discovered during the pandemic.
I was getting a haircut before an office meeting this week, and I had to admit to my hairdresser that he was wrong when he asked where I was. These guys don’t even have an office anymore.
Elsewhere, my daily walk to my gym takes me through one of those trendy campus business parks that’s a bit like a Tellytubbies adult activity center. It has a depopulated feel these days that reminds me of the kid-free playground in child of man.
There’s the coffee kiosk on the corner that now closes at noon on Friday. The once-crowded food truck event that has become a man in a van. The gym that has more student brothers than workers.
We have been discussing this in weekend reading every few months for a couple of years. A clear majority of readers who have commented have said they would never spend five days in office again, at least not without a fight.
I had chalked it up to hope over expectations or our special audience. But it has been shown to be both a common aspiration and demonstrated in broader statistics.
For example, a new report from property specialists Remit Consulting found that:
…while the number of people entering offices is slowly rising (the national office occupancy average of 34.3% in the week ending Jan. 27 was the highest since the group began tracking numbers in May 2021), there is little sign of an accelerated return to five days a week. week “presenteeism”.
Nearly three years into the pandemic, with all its disruptions fading into memory like a broken fever dream, and yet offices are still a third full.
Meanwhile, London evening standard this week asked all FTSE 100 companies about their current working arrangements. The responses suggest:
…that the old Monday-Friday work week that was once the default is far from back.
The research found that almost all respondents offer the option of flexible and hybrid work, although there are some companies that want people to work at least a certain number of days a week.
It suggests that for most private employers, the new normal is for workers to be in offices two to three days a week, often Tuesday through Thursday.
Great Britain seems to be at the forefront of this Monday-Friday rejection movement. I’ve heard it’s attributed to everything from our longest commutes, worst public transportation, worst weather, or more positively, our love of gardening.
However, one thing is clear: if this change in the pattern of work continues (and now who would bet against it?), then the ramifications will be enormous. Rezoned surplus offices, new-build homes designed with studio as standard, perhaps a change in how we support (or don’t support) child care.
But for my part, as someone who discovered and defended this way of life two decades ago, I wonder why it took them so long.
Have a great weekend!
Why a diversified portfolio needs more than just bonds – Monevator
A cheap portfolio of cheap assets – Monevator
From the File Cabinet: How I Fooled Myself Into Financial Independence – Monevator
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UK households will take a £4,000 hit to finances in 2023 guardian
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What three luxury houses reveal about who owns UK real estate: BBC
UK trade deficit with EU hits record as Brexit frictions cut exports Bloomberg
Homebuilders have five weeks to accept the Government’s siding deal: Which
Nicola Sturgeon’s Tax Hike “it will cause an exodus of wealthy Scots” –Bloomberg via YF
Getty Images Sues Stable Diffusion AI Art Generator in US for Copyright – the edge
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Dive into the past and possible future returns of the [US] portfolio 60/40 – FALL
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Kindle Book Deals
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The huge heat pumps that heat cities: BBC
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Invest in value – certainly
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Are we running towards an AI catastrophe? – vox
“The intelligent investor is a realist who sells the optimists and buys the pessimists.”
—Benjamin Graham, The smart investor
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