Fewer working in offices after pandemic lockdowns

Fewer people in Sunderland are working from the office than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures suggest.
Home working trend.Home working trend.
Home working trend.

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in different areas of their daily lives, including where they work.

The most recent figures show activity in workplaces in the city in the week to April 1 was 23% lower than during a five-week baseline period recorded before the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Institute for the Future of Work (IFW) says Covid-19 rules led to a rise in homeworking.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that, between March 16 and 27, 12% of people were working exclusively from home, with 57% travelling to work every day and 14% doing a combination of both.

The IFoW, an independent research and development institute, said lockdown restrictions acted as a catalyst for more remote work, with some employers and employees keen to retain the benefits.

A spokeswoman for the group said: "Our research finds that individual preferences vary hugely, with some missing the everyday social interactions of a shared work space and experiencing an increased blurring of work-life boundaries.

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"Since people’s experiences vary so much, it is important employers meaningfully consult with employees on a regular basis about home working."

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which provides impartial workplace advice, said the Google figures match with their own research and that over half of employers expected to see an increase in remote working once the pandemic was over.