News release: Over a fifth of office workers at their desks for the first time since easing of lockdown restrictions

13 October 2021
  • Remit Consulting’s ReTurn Report reveals the highest volume of staff returning to the office since the start of the pandemic

The latest research from Remit Consulting into the number of office-based staff working from their desks shows that the national average exceeded 20% for the first time since the UK’s lockdown restrictions were lifted.

According to the firm's research, the national average for the volume of staff returning to their desks, on a daily basis, last week rose to 20.2%, a rise of 1.5 percentage points compared to the previous week (18.7%).

Remit Consulting’s research is based on data collected from automatic turnstiles in over 150 major office buildings around the UK. The data is provided by building managers, and the study assesses the number of people entering offices as a percentage of the capacity for each property.

The data suggests that London seems to be leading the way, with the average for the whole of the capital closely matching the national figure. The West End was last week’s best performing submarket, with a weekly average of 25%. However, on Tuesday (5th) the daily figure reached 30.5%. London’s other submarkets also saw improvements, with Midtown notably improving, with a weekly average of 15.2%.

In Scotland, both Edinburgh and Glasgow saw the volume of staff in the office reach new highs of 17.5% and 9.4% respectively. The ‘Work from Home’ guidance remains in place in Scotland.

Commenting on the research, Lorna Landells of Remit Consulting said: "Even though there continue to be fluctuations from week to week, the trajectory is upward and points to a slow but sustained recovery. While it is possible that the ongoing fuel shortages at petrol stations could be a headwind that is hindering the return to the office, the figures for London, where commuters have a greater reliance on public transport than other cities, remain buoyant. This indicates that there are other factors at play."

At a national level, while Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were again the busiest days of the week, the figures for both Monday and Friday showed some increase from the previous week. However, there is still a sharp drop off between the figures for Thursday and Friday of 9 percentage points.
Remit Consulting’s research is supported by the British Property Federation and the Property Advisors Forum.

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