Now that schools are heading back, it’s starting to feel like the begining of the end for the pandemic. Whilst we know that it isn’t over, things are definitely going back to normal, or at least a new normal. We take a look at the way life has changed for London due to the pandemic.


Being confined to your own four walls for over 100 days will really make you think about your living situation. London is notorious for high rents and small spaces, but this didn’t seem to matter before lockdown because the consensus was ‘how much time do you really spend in your room’. With this concept completely out of the window more Londoners are looking for larger spaces, access to outside space and a real bond with their housemates. Infact this trumps area when it comes to what renters want. The housing market has also seen a shift. London is known for career opportunities and a hotbed for commuters, but with the WFH revolution we may see more flexibility in where we live. It will come as no surprise that the pandemic has altered where we are looking to put roots down. With the rise of the local, and the need for outdoor space; 4 in 10 househunters are now looking at the countryside over the city; and with the lower prices, the reduced cost of commuting and the stamp duty holiday for properties up to £500,000 (until March 31st) it’s clear to see there has been a huge shift in how we view our homes post covid.


Whoever was in charge of PR for parks during lockdown seriously needs a raise. Our humble outdoor spaces saw an astronomical rise in popularity during lockdown. One weekend saw over 3,000 people flock to Brockwell Park on a Sunday alone. But the pandemic will have long lasting effects on our love of the outdoors. For starters, we’re all congregating in parks way more. We have always been partial for a picnic, but a park meet up has really become the preferred destination for all occasions. From businesses having meetings to people celebrating special occasions. The ease of social distancing and open air has been a draw for people long after we were allowed back in the pubs. We predict a rise in the multi use parks. Thing park markets, socially distanced festivals, outdoor gym classes, park birthdays and weddings. Our outdoor space is really seeing a flourish that will continue long after lockdown (as long as the weather holds)


Flexible working isn’t a new concept. In fact Anna Whitehouse (or @mother_pukka) has been championing flex appeal for YEARS. Companies have traditionally resisted due to a stagnant view that working from home means people are less productive, or because they simply didn’t think it was possible. What the pandemic has really shown is that it is not only possible for people to work from home, but also hugely beneficial for employers. On average an individual will be doing pure work for around three hours a day. Breaks, meetings, chatting with co-workers and simple concentration means that a lot of the time in the office is distraction. Working from home has not only given people a better work life balance, increasing the ability to spend time with family, exercise or cook brilliant meals; but it has also seen an increase in productivity. Lack of interruption from colleagues or events happening around the office mean that we’re actually working more from home, not less. At the height of lockdown, over 57% of workers in London were working from home, and of that over 91% have stated they want the flexibility in working to continue long after the offices are open.


With non – essential shops being shut from the end of March, the way we shop has seen a dramatic change. We all collectively reverted to a once a week supermarket shop and kept everything local. We saw an insurgance in butchers and fishmongers, with Notting Hill Fish Shop seeing a 400% increase in business in the first month of lockdown alone. Whilst we were confined to essential shopping only, people turned to the internet. A record 49% of people shopped online more during the pandemic than any other time, and a lot of our favourite D2C brands saw a spike in sales too. The outlook for the traditional high street may be bleak with over 12,000 job losses so far, but we are seeing a huge shift to local brands. Independent brands have actually seen their market share grow by around 40%. As people stay local they are definitely looking local. As we continue into the new normal, we predict that small, independent brands will become even more important. People want to know where their money is going, we have slowed our pace of life and fast fashion and fast consumption may be taking a back seat.


We have always been fans of collecting memories instead of things, but it seems that more people are coming around to our way of thinking. For a lot of younger people, the months of lockdown have left a longing to rebuild social ties. The focus coming out into the new normal will be on spending time together, often local to where you are, and appreciating the people that you have been cut off from for a while. The government’s ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme showed just how much we missed our beloved hospitality industry. The first two weeks of the scheme saw 32million meals purchased. The way we spend our free time will move away from Netflix and in house activities and towards spending time with those outside of our household, predominantly in areas that are easy to get to and offer a great hospitality experience.

The pandemic has definitely had an impact on London. It has brought loss to thousands of families and devestated our economy. As London rebuilds, we see this as an opportunity to rebuild better, to focus on the good that we’ve taken from extreme measures. Our flexibility of time, emphasis on the local economy and small brands and craving for authentic connection are all great things that we can benefit from as we all move forward together.

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