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City firms consider axing office space as remote work continues

Majority of office workers don't want to return, but many feel more vulnerable to cyber attacks

Demand for remote working is forcing City firms to review how much office space they really need, according to new research.

A financial services survey from the CBI and PwC has found that 74% of London-based banks and insurance firms have been assessing their office needs, according to The Guardian

The companies are thought to be looking at how they can either use office space differently or reduce it. Of the 133 financial firms that took part in the survey, 88% said that COVID-19 had resulted in a greater shift towards working from home with more than 90% of their workers able to do their jobs without being tied to a physical office.

While the pandemic is still lurking, office work remains in limbo. The UK's government has U-turned in recent weeks, reversing its call to get back to the office - mainly to aid the retail sector - and reverting back to guidance that calls for employees to work from home where possible. 

In a separate study of 1,200 workers across the US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, security platform MobileIron found that more than 80% of global employees don't want to return to the office, at least not full time. 

Despite this, more than one in five workers feel more vulnerable working from home due to stress and isolation. Some 21% are worried about cyber crime, according to a new cyber security survey from PwC.

Of those, 35% cited stress or fatigue, while 17% suggested working in isolation as a reason that they felt more vulnerable. The survey of over 1,200 people currently in work in the UK was conducted in September of this year. 

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"Cyber criminals are above all opportunistic and we are seeing them use the fear, uncertainty and stress around COVID-19 to target their victims and play on their emotions," said Daisy McCartney, PwC's cyber security culture and behaviour lead. "As COVID-19 continues to dominate the news agenda, messaging related to vaccines, cures and financial relief will likely be used to target people.

"It is therefore understandable that people are feeling vulnerable to cyber crime, and according to our survey, 19% of people working from home during the pandemic do not feel that they have the necessary skills and training to keep safe from a cyber attack."

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