No big return to the office for Sunderland workers
Workplaces in Sunderland were quieter during the first week without Covid restrictions than in the previous seven days, new data suggests.
Government work from home guidance came to an end on July 19 – “Freedom Day” – but business leaders say an overall drop in workplace activity nationally could be down to the emergence of hybrid working – a mix of home and office working.
Google uses location data – from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement – shows that, in Sunderland average activity in workplaces was 31% below normal levels in the week, down from 27% below the previous week.
Google data for the week in Sunderland shows:
*Activity in retail and recreation was 17% below normal levels.
*Supermarkets and grocery store activity was four per cent above usual levels.
*Activity was 52% above pre-pandemic measurements in parks and public spaces.
*Public Transport use 23% below the baseline.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says a national average workplace activity fall of 26% was unsurprising.
Maxine Bligh, director at the CBI, said: “The pandemic has taught employers that, in general, people can do large parts of their job from home without any impact on productivity.”
She added that many people are also having to self-isolate due to potentially coming into contact with someone who has coronavirus, which could also be impacting workplace activity levels.
Nationally, retail and recreation saw the biggest boost in activity following Freedom Day – just five per cent below baseline levels.