Executive summary:

COVID-19: a relatively predictable system to model compared to conventional insurance and reinsurance claims

The processes that drive many insurance and reinsurance claims – such as natural peril events, and man-made accidents – are uncertain, spontaneous and impossible to ‘predict’. The impact COVID-19 would have on humanity was, in some way, conceived in its genetic code when it infected the first human. Thereafter, the spread of the virus has followed mathematical principles. Although it may not be immediately clear how to parameterise the model, using the broadest worldview allows us to learn from other countries as to what our immediate future may hold.
James Robinson, PhD, COVID-19 Pandemic Modelling Analyst

COVID-19 has changed the working world beyond recognition, and the impact of the pandemic is still being realised. The interconnectivity of the risks COVID-19 presents is something that few were prepared for. Every organisation is working through the crisis, making decisions for their business and supporting their workforces. As the pandemic unfolded, Aon decided to look forward to a ‘New Better’ and define this in collaboration with our clients.

That is the reason Aon brought together some of London’s largest organisations to form a coalition – to join forces, share expertise, learn from each other and focus on the here and now: how do we tackle this crisis and shape the future world? And so the London Work, Travel, Convene Coalition was launched.

Our coalition insights to date include some of the best minds from pandemic modelling, mental health and leadership, and vaccine development. Whilst these areas of expertise feel poles apart in terms of subject matter, there is a key theme throughout – every firm is now a healthcare organisation.

Hopefully, by 2024, we will have a good rollout of COVID-19 vaccines globally

Only 24% of organisations are actively reshaping their future right now. Everyone else needs to make a start (Aon Human Capital Solutions Pulse Survey)

The number of adults suffering from depression has doubled, increasing from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5 since March 2020 (Office of National Statistics)

Even before COVID-19, the WHO predicted that depression would become the leading cause of the global burden of disease by 2030

All Paths Lead to Workforce Health in 2021: Foreword by Julie Page

When offices shut their doors in March 2020, it was a situation unlike any we had encountered before; there was a presumption that many, if not all of us, would have returned to the office by the end of 2020. This was not to be, and the landscape shifted once again, when the government announced restrictions for people, including many in organisations like Aon, to work from home if they could until March 2021. As we start 2021 and are buffeted by what we hope are the residual winds of COVID-19, the reality is that the UK is nowhere near as close to recovery as was widely anticipated.

We are still unlikely to return to the workplace in any significant capacity in London, and the wider UK, until the second half of 2021. News of the vaccine approval had been the hope that the UK was waiting for, but as Dr Rodriguez-Fernandez tells us – a rollout that enables what we have previously understood to be a ‘normal’ environment will probably take until 2024 globally, so we must make provisions to adjust to a new workplace culture when we do return.

In the longer term, there is every chance that the office, as we previously knew it, will change significantly. This possibility has huge commercial ramifications and forces us to truly think about the office of the future and our work lives reimagined. The objective of the London Work, Travel and Convene Coalition is to help facilitate those conversations and utilise expert insight to help guide our decision-making regarding a safe return to the workplace.

Thinking now and for the future

As we continue to learn more about the path of the pandemic and the implications for organisations, we are engaging with experts responsive to the ever-changing picture. To date, we have had authorities from the world of pandemic risk modelling, mental health and wellbeing, and vaccines, providing invaluable insight. What we have learnt in the London coalition applies across most towns and cities in the UK. Our journey is far from over, and our ongoing collaboration is crucial to shaping how London responds to the future world of work. Whilst we are unable to manage the virus directly, we can manage how we build resilience in our organisations and physically and mentally support and protect our colleagues.

Every organisation is now a healthcare organisation

The future may be far from clear, but one definitive trend has emerged from the coalition sessions. While the speakers derive their expertise from different sources, at the centre of a Venn diagram the same words can be found: workforce health is a strategic imperative for firms.

This insight report aims to showcase the coalition's work so far, underpinned by Aon's data and analytics, and considers what may influence the trajectory of the UK's recovery over the coming months. While no-one has all the answers, we share our own experience, alongside coalition members, to help shine a light on the future world of work and the ways in which we can build resilience in by design. This marks the beginning of the coalition's collaboration, rather than the end.

Julie Page

CEO, Aon UK Ltd & London Work, Travel, Convene Coalition Chair

What is the London, Work, Travel, Convene Coalition

The appetite to return has not wavered

There is still a genuine appetite from employers in the City and Canary Wharf to get people back to the workplace, recognising that they are part of a greater ecosystem that's critical for the overall health of the economy. Making decisions as part of the coalition will help accelerate that return with three key areas of focus: the first is around planning; the second looks at issues that businesses can't consider without some form of external validation; while the third explores how businesses will 'reshape' to thrive and prosper in the post-COVID world.
Richard Waterer, Managing Director EMEA, Global Risk Consulting Aon

The London Work, Travel, Convene Coalition launched in September 2020. It brings together large employers in the City and Canary Wharf to share key learnings and insights related to planning and operations, to assess impact and measurement of efforts and to evaluate the latest technologies. The coalition’s aim is to develop a set of guidelines to help navigate the challenges businesses face as society re-opens throughout the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founding members of the coalition include, Accenture, Ashurst, Aviva, Clyde & Co, JLL, Legal & General and others. Member roles range from Chief Operating Officer, Director of People Services, Director of Employee Experience, and Future Workplace Director.

London as an interconnected ecosystem

While all parts of London face challenges in acclimatising to the 'new better' following the government-mandated restrictions, the City and Canary Wharf face specific challenges in getting people back to the workplace, such as high-rise buildings, the density of buildings and people, and dependence on public transport.

These parts of London also form an interconnected ecosystem, and decisions made by the large employers that inhabit them will be a determinant in London's ability to move toward societal and economic recovery.
Julie Page, CEO of Aon UK Ltd & London Work, Travel, Convene Coalition Chair

Key dates

London WTC Coalition kick-off

Transport & Commuting

Preparedness & Communication, Pandemic Modelling

Mental Health & Leadership

Vaccines: Our corporate role

Case Studies