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New study reveals economic impact of hybrid working on city centre businesses

26th April 2022

The latest data from Remit Consulting on UK office occupancy would seem to indicate that any “en masse” return to the office would seem to have stalled with the UK average office occupancy having shown a slight decline in recent weeks, currently at just below 25%.

Meanwhile, data from Transport for London, would also seem to suggest a stalling in the return to the office as the number of weekday tube journeys has also seen a slight fall in the last couple of weeks with the number of weekday tube journeys currently approximately at 50% of its pre-pandemic level. With the number of tube journeys on Mondays and Fridays, to and from City of London stations,  significantly down on their pre-pandemic levels.

These latest figures come after a recent study, conducted by economists from the universities of Sheffield, Nottingham and Birmingham, predicts that on average office workers will work one more day a week from home than they did before the pandemic going forwards.

The same report discusses how this shift in working patterns post the pandemic, as more people adopt a hybrid working style and go into the office less, could have a significant impact on retail and hospitality businesses located in UK city and town centres.

The report estimates that, as result of people going into the office less regularly than they did prior to the pandemic, in total across the UK retail and hospitality businesses in city and town centre locations could miss out on £3bn in potential revenue this year.

Those businesses in areas and cities with a significant number of office buildings such as the City of London are likely to face the most significant shock. According to the report, spending in the City in bars, cafes, restaurants and shops could fall by as much as 33%.

Kate Nicholls of UK Hospitality described how hospitality businesses in city centre locations have adapted their operating hours as a result of  these new working patterns, focusing their operations on those days which see the highest level of commuting during the week and, on weekends when demand is highest.

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