Charlotte Street Partners



Out of office

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate
Edited by Harriet Moll, creative director
28 September 2020

Good morning,

My enthusiasm for homeworking was, until recently, driven by the underlying belief that I was part of a one-off global experiment that would soon come to an end.
Companies across the UK seemed to share my view, with a recent LinkedIn survey of Britain’s chief executives finding that half were actively looking for safe ways to get workers back into the office.
But then last week the prime minister encouraged office workers to work from home again, “if possible”. Boris Johnson’s U-turn on getting back to work made one thing abundantly clear to me: remote working will shape my career whether I like it or not. 
So what do we know so far about the long-term implications for generation Zoom? 
First, there are the economic implications. Not all businesses will be able to sustain remote working for a further six months. More jobs will be lost. According to PwC calculations, a long-term shift to home working could result in knocking about £15.3bn a year off GDP in the UK in part due to workers moving from big city centres towards more peripheral, cheaper, greener locations. 
And it’s the more subtle losses from remote working that are beginning to be felt most keenly, especially by young people like me. Throughout the last six months of lockdown, it has been the businesses and individuals who were able to draw from a well of social capital built over years of long meetings and longer lunches that successfully managed to adapt to the new reality of remote working. For those of us beginning our careers today, the path to building social capital on Zoom is yet to be discovered.
And then, there are employees, again, like me, who have joined new companies remotely and faced the challenge of building relationships and understanding culture through Zoom and Teams. The technology makes it possible to do the work, but it doesn’t make it possible to do the rest. As Oliver Shah argues in The Sunday Times, no Zoom meeting can ever substitute the invaluable aura of trust and connection that day to day, face-to-face shared space and time create.  
And so, with the office off the table for the long run, it falls to us to meet the challenge of finding new, authentic ways to nurture the experience of getting to know people in remote work settings and build social capital of our own, all without ever really making eye contact.


The New York Times obtained tax records for Mr Trump and his companies over two decades, claiming that the US president paid only $750 in federal income taxes in the year he was elected US president and $750 more in his first year in the White House. The newspaper has also said that he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years. At a White House briefing on Sunday, the president has called the report “fake news”.

A new poll by Ipsos Mori Confidence has found that confidence in Britain’s role as a global player has plunged in the last 18 months, with under half of the UK now convinced of the country’s positive impact. According to the poll’s findings, 49% of Britons believe that Britain is a force for good in the world while 41% say the UK should punch above its weight in world affair.
A territorial dispute has erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan, leading to the heaviest clashes in years. At least 23 people were reported to have been killed on Sunday as the two republics battled over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Labour has called for government to delay the start of university term amid growing fears that students across the UK will be “locked in their rooms”. This comes after thousands of students in Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh were ordered to self-isolate after coronavirus outbreaks linked to freshers’ week.

Business and economy

There is evidence that negative interest rates could help the British economy during the economic downturntriggered by the health crisis, a Bank of England policymaker has said. Silvana Tenreyro, who sits on the Bank’s monetary policy committee has said that “the evidence has been encouraging” and shared her scepticism about the possibility of a V-shaped economic recovery.
Restaurant industry is at risk of losing a generation of talent and will “suffer enormously” without further government support. This comes after the government announced fresh coronavirus restrictions last week, including a 22:00 curfew which has been deemed “devastating” by industry figures.  
The UK government is working on a new document on industrial strategy which focuses on science and technology, green energy and the need to help the UK’s underperforming regions. The new document will also include a roadmap specifying which sectors and regions should be the focus of future government investment, the FT reports. (£)
SSP, the owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza coffee, used a government letter to gain an advantage in negotiations with railway station owners. The move will enable the travel retailer to cut rents owed to train operators that run most of the UK’s stations, at a cost of millions of pounds to taxpayers. (£)

Columns of note

Elaborating further on the government’s U-turn on office working, Catherine McGuinness writes in City AM that extraordinary government action would be needed to foster innovation, support mental health and deliver the footfall desperately needed for the hospitality and retail sectors. 
Writing in The GuardianWilliam Hanage revisits some of the hard-learned lessons from the first wave of Covid-19 across the UK. While the best-known way to fight the virus is through testing, tracing and isolating, Hanage argues that England’s contact-tracing system is still in disarray and offers other possible solutions. 

Cartoon source: The Times


What happened yesterday?

As the fourth quarter begins this week, hopes of a global recovery have stalled as countries face the need for more economic measures to fight the pandemic.
The ninth round of Brexit negotiations will begin today in Brussels. This comes after last week’s meeting between the prime minister’s EU adviser David Frost, and chief negotiator Michel Barnier in London.
On Friday, there are two key announcements to watch out for – the labour market data in the US and the inflation reading for September in Europe. Crucially, the latter will give the European Central Bank and investors a better idea of how the Covid-19 pandemic is weighing on the prices of consumer goods.
Meanwhile, Uber’s appeal case will conclude on Monday, revealing if the company can keep its London operating licence and Boohoo is due to publish its latest earnings update and reacts to the results of an independent inquiry into its supply chain.

What’s happening today?

Ceres Power
Morses Club

Ceres Power    
Reach Plc

Galileo Resoure
Mulberry Group
Time Out
Van Elle

UK economic announcements
(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)

Int. economic announcements
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Services Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

“E” is the most common letter and appears in 11% of all English words.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Home Office (including Topical Questions)

General debate
Proposals for fracking in Rother Valley constituency
– Alexander Stafford

House of Lords 

Baroness Fullbrook of Dogmersfield and Lord Sarfraz
Oral questions
Economy Update – Lord Agnew of Oulton

Scottish Parliament 

No business scheduled.

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