Workers are demanding “pop star” treatment and four-day weekends, the chief executive of property giant JLL has said.
Christian Ulbrich also warned that working from home is poisoning workplace relations because conflicts are much easier to resolve in person.
The real estate chief said: “What’s happening is the labour market is so competitive that employees are being treated like pop stars so they feel like they can do whatever they want.”
He added that this attitude means that fewer people feel under pressure to get back to their desks.
His comments came as the return to the office has stalled in recent months despite Covid restrictions being lifted.
Home-working habits are persisting more in London than any other major capital as City professionals and civil servants stay away from the office, Google mobility data shows.
The low office attendance comes despite Boris Johnson urging workers to get back to the workplace on a more permanent basis, with fears that London’s recovery is lagging behind other cities due to workers shunning the office.
Mr Ulbrich told Bloomberg: “The idea of flexibility is not to offer people a four-day weekend and three-day work week, it’s to tie that flexibility to your private life.”
He said that the main advantage of the office environment was that “it is much more productive when you need others” to do your job, adding: “You get a better outcome if you are in a room together.”
City chiefs have been reluctant to demand that employees return to their pre-pandemic working habits of being in the office five days a week for fear of staff revolts.
Wall Street giants such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have been among only a handful of major employers to mandate that staff are back at their desks full-time.
However, amid a red hot labour market, even banks with a reputation for having a gruelling long-hours culture are introducing new perks in a bid to keep workers on side.
Last week, The Telegraph revealed that Goldman will allow its senior bankers to take as many holidays as they want as part of a new vacation scheme.