No big return to the office for Northumberland workers

Workplaces in Nortumberland were quieter during the first week without Covid restrictions than in the previous seven days, new data suggests.

Back to work figures
Back to work figures

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 Northumberland, average activity in workplaces was 24% below normal levels in the week, down from 20% the previous week.

Google data for the week in Northumberland shows:

*Activity in retail and recreation was eight per cent above normal levels – up from 20% ​above the week before.

*Supermarkets and grocery store activity was 25% above usual – unchanged from the previous week.

*Activity was 215% above pre-pandemic measurements in parks and public spaces – a rise from 193% above during the previous seven days.

*Public transport use was two per cent below the baseline – up from five per cent below the week before.

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.