Visits to UK offices and co-working locations are up by 17 per cent year-on-year, as workers flock back to their desks following the summer break.
Data from IWG, the world’s largest operator of office and flexible workspace, shows that the average number of visits to its 300+ UK centres are up by almost a fifth (17 per cent) in the first two weeks of September compared to the same period last year.
The return to the office was well underway in September 2021, with no working from home restrictions in place but this year’s data suggests that workers and employers alike are eager to spend more time in the office as part of the new hybrid working model.
The data shows that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have embedded themselves as the most popular days to work from the office. Visits on a Tuesday grew by 22 per cent, the largest increase, while Friday remains the most popular day for home working, although office visits still grew by 9 per cent.
These figures, recorded by the number of Wi-Fi logins per IWG centre per day, found that Bristol Spaces (+424 per cent) saw the biggest year-on-year increase. Liverpool Street Spaces was most the visited location, recording a 25 per cent increase on last year.
In London, there was no noticeable drop in office attendance in the second week of September, which coincided with the period of national mourning to mark the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Despite thousands of well-wishers travelling to London from around the UK, office attendance in the capital remained consistent, perhaps suggesting that office workers wanted to take in the historic and poignant moment, or pay their respects, before or after work.
Suburban and rural locations across IWG’s network continue to see a rapidly rising number of visits as employees choose to work close to home. Areas that have seen large increases in visits, include the likes of Salisbury (+ 55 per cent), Warrington (+ 51 per cent), High Wycombe (+43 per cent) and Guildford (+41 per cent).
This trend is reflected in IWG’s expansion strategy. It plans to add 1,000 new locations globally in 2022, the vast majority of which will be in rural and suburban areas. In the UK, smaller towns with populations between 10,000 and 30,000 such as Chippenham, High Wycombe, Redhill and Evesham are among those with new and recent coworking centres, allowing workers to cut lengthy commutes and work closer to home.
Mark Dixon, Founder and CEO of IWG said, “This data demonstrates that hybrid working is now the de facto working model among companies of all sizes. Businesses are placing increasing emphasis on ensuring there is sufficient time for employees to collaborate and ideate in person as part of the hybrid model.
We have seen significant increases in people using our offices and co-working locations across the UK, as people chose to work closer to home. It is not only better for businesses bottom line – which is crucial given the financial pressures many are facing – it also gives workers more time and freedom and a greatly enhanced work-life balance.
“Employees want to continue spending more time with their family and friends and less time commuting on a busy train or stuck in traffic. Businesses know that flexible working means happier staff and substantial cost savings.”
“The appetite for hybrid working is showing no sign of diminishing, and is at the core of our plan to add 1,000 new centres across the network over the course of the next year”.