Knowledge Quarter Publishes new research about changing patterns of work

In March 2021, the Knowledge Quarter surveyed over 500 staff members who work in and commute to the Knowledge Quarter area. The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of over 100 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations located within a one-mile radius comprising King’s Cross, Bloomsbury and Euston.

The research aims were to uncover whether people had moved during the pandemic, how the pandemic had affected working patterns and productivity, and to explore how future working patterns will affect the attendance of local events.

Some of the key research findings were:

  • Over 7% of respondents had moved permanently due to the pandemic. Out of those that had not moved 16% were considering a move in the future and 75% of these individuals were thinking about moving outside of London.
  • Young people aged 25-34 were disproportionately more likely to have moved or have a desire to move. Almost one in four young staff members are considering moving out of the capital, and more than one in ten already have.
  • Hybrid working patterns were popular amongst respondents, as 40% reported wanting to work from home 1-2 days a week and 39% of respondents said they wanted to work from home 3-4 days a week. Younger people aged 25-34 were more likely to want to spend more time working remotely, and older people aged 55-64 were more likely to report that they want to spend more time in the office.
  • The majority of respondents want some flexibility in how they attend events. There is a preference for private views, tours and networking events to be held in person, and a preference for conferences, masterclasses, talks and lectures to be attended through a hybrid approach, in which the event can be attended in person or virtually.
  • In open-ended questions, respondents expressed a desire to make the time spent in the office more valuable.

Major implications of the findings include:

  • The Knowledge Quarter will likely see a significant drop in footfall due to the prevalence of remote working policies. The decline in footfall will have an impact on local hospitality, leisure, retail as well as on entertainment and cultural facilities. It will be more important than ever for local organisations to engage with the inclusive growth agenda given the impact this may have on the local economy.
  • For London, the decline in footfall will mean a shift towards the experiential economy. Local authorities, cultural organisations, asset managers, BIDs and other business networks should work together to consider what the visitor offer of the surrounding area is and how they can collaborate on destination marketing projects and initiatives in the future.

Chief Executive of the Knowledge Quarter, Jodie Eastwood says: 

“We are likely to see a significant drop in visitation to the Knowledge Quarter area due to the working patterns that are likely to be adopted by those who work within it. The Knowledge Quarter’s experience with building connections between organizations and local people will prove to be of continued importance as we find new ways to make the shorter time that is spent in our offices more valuable. Local authorities and cultural organizations need to work together to ensure that we can adapt to this new change.”

You can download the full report here.