London, Paris and Frankfurt: Five charts tracking the return to work

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced distancing would stay in place for another month, those itching to get back into the office would have felt the blow.

The government’s guidance for people to work from home wherever possible has been extended to 19 July, the new date to start the fourth stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The government had hoped to be in a position to lift all restrictions on social contact by 21 June, but a spike in Covid-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant forced a rethink.

Throughout the pandemic, the UK has consistently lagged behind other European countries when it comes to getting back to the office.

The country’s workers have spent the most days logging in from home when compared with Germany, Italy, France, Spain.

UK employees went from an average of 3 days in of remote working in July 2020 to 2.6 days in May 2021, compared to 1.7 and 1.9 days in France, according to Morgan Stanley research published on 14 June.

The investment bank’s research analysed 12,500 survey responses from online interviews carried out at the end of May.

That said, time spent in the office is increasing across most jurisdictions bar Germany. In the UK, workers were spending an average of 39% of their time in the office by November 2020, a figure which increased to 46% in May this year, according to Morgan Stanley’s data.

At a city-level, London remains behind Paris and Frankfurt. Workers in the capital of England are the least likely to be working at the office all time and the most likely to not be working at the office at all.

Despite the differences between Europe’s financial hubs, the reasons for workers not coming into the office are largely the same in those cities. These range from employers rolling out a work-from-home policy, to personal choice, the office being closed or commuting concerns.

READ KPMG delays hybrid working plans after ‘Freedom Day’ postponement

London’s catch up on office use is likely to continue despite the delayed lifting of lockdown. According to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics on 14 June, the trend of workers exclusively working at home continues to decrease. From 19 to 23 May 2021, 50% of those surveyed said they only travelled to work, compared to 26% who only worked from home. A further 11% said they did both.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Bérengère Sim

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