Thousands still working from at home in Northampton, Kettering, Daventry and Wellingborough despite Covid restrictions ending

Corby among UK highest for returning to workplace but a quarter prefer WFH in rest of county

By Patrick Jack, Data Reporter
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 9:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 10:11 am

One in five workers will NOT be heading back to Northamptonshire’s offices, shops and factories post-Easter on Tuesday (April 19) despite all Covid-19 restrictions ending, figures suggest.

The Institute for the Future of Work research unit says thousands of people are keen to carry on working flexibly after discovering many benefits during the pandemic.

Google location data which tracks trends in people's movement in different areas of their daily lives, including where they work, revealed activity in workplaces across Northamptonshire in the working week to April 1 was 22 percent lower than during a five-week baseline period before March 2020.

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More than one in five Northamptonshire workers are still working from home despite the end of Covid restrictions

Five times more people have gone back to work in Corby than in other parts of the county.

Figures showed activity in workplaces in Northampton in the week to April 1 was 29 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels.

In Wellingborough the figure was 27 percent lower than in 2020.

In South Northamptonshire it was 26 percent lower.

In Daventry it was, 24 percent lower.

in East Northamptonshire, 23 percent lower.

In Kettering, 19 percent lower.

And in Corby the figure was just five percent lower than before the pandemic — one of the highest levels of workplace activity across the UK.

Across Northamptonshire, activity in workplaces was 32 percent below the baseline than at a similar time last year, when the UK was just emerging from a series of lockdowns.

And in March 2020 – when the first UK lockdown began – it was 52 percent below normal levels.

In England, domestic legal restrictions ended on February 24 as part of the Government's 'Living with Covid' plan.

Activity in workplaces across the UK was 26 percent below normal in the most recent week's data, a figure which has hardly changed since early March.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show that between March 16 and 27, 12 percent of British adults worked exclusively from home, 57 percent travelled to work everyday and 14 percent did a combination of both.

The IFoW, an independent research and development institute, said lockdown restrictions acted as a catalyst for more remote work, with some employers and employees keen to retain the benefits.

A spokeswoman for the group said it provides the opportunity to work from anywhere, at anytime, and the ability to spend more time with families – but individual home working conditions matter significantly.

She added: "Our research finds that individual preferences vary hugely, with some missing the everyday social interactions of a shared work space and experiencing an increased blurring of work-life boundaries.

"Since experience varies enormously, it is important for employers to meaningfully consult with employees on a regular basis about home working in order to minimise risks."

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which provides impartial workplace advice, said the Google figures match with their own research that over half of employers expected an increase in remote working during at least part of the week once the pandemic was over.

Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, added: “Many employers and their staff have seen the benefits of flexible working during the pandemic and will wish to continue whilst others may be keen to get back to how they were working before Covid-19.”

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