Capital’s offices only 27% full despite most buildings being open

A leading London landlord says only a quarter of office workers are back at their desks despite all its buildings being open.

Great Portland Estates, which owns a string of West End properties, said its offices were ‘open for business’ but only 27 per cent of their total capacity was being used.

It underlines the difficulty many firms face in getting staff back to workplaces in the capital, after the Government reversed guidance encouraging them to return.

Great Portland Estates, which owns a string of West End properties, including buildings on Oxford Street (pictured) said only 27 per cent of their total capacity was being used

Great Portland Estates, which owns a string of West End properties, including buildings on Oxford Street (pictured) said only 27 per cent of their total capacity was being used

Great Portland Estates, which owns a string of West End properties, including buildings on Oxford Street (pictured) said only 27 per cent of their total capacity was being used

Major businesses such of Natwest, Google, and Deutsche Bank have told employees not to come back until next year at the earliest, while others including insurance market Lloyd’s of London are considering plans to let staff work from home permanently.

Great Portland Estates boss Toby Courtauld yesterday said the firm – which owns £2.6billion of real estate in central London – still firmly believed ‘in the long term appeal of well designed and located offices’.

The FTSE 250 property investment and development company, meanwhile, revealed rent collection figures for the September quarter, which showed it has received less than one third of rents due from retailers, hospitality firms and leisure businesses.

Only 28 per cent of those monthly and quarterly rents have been paid to date, the company said, compared to 85 per cent from other sectors.

A Great Portland Estates spokesman added: ‘For those occupiers who have been unable to pay their rent, we are implementing measures to help support them through these unprecedented times.’

Shares rose 0.5 per cent, or 3.4p, to 646p, after the announcement.

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