IWG reports rise in UK workplace visits as hybrid working takes hold

The return to the office after the pandemic is set to peak in 2022, according to data from workspace provider IWG, as workers moving to desks in British businesses and suburban locations turn to hybrid working.

The average number of visits to IWG’s more than 300 UK workplaces increased by 54% from January to November, as more workers split their time between home and office.

The number of people in the company’s flexible workspaces has increased by 25% since June as office-based workers gather together more often during the work week.

The IWG found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays remained the most popular weekdays for employees to work from the office, and visits doubled on these two days from January to November. Employees are most likely to finish their work week at home and not report to the office on Friday.

The IWG found that the cost of living crisis had caused employees to opt to work from office buildings closer to their homes to save on commuting costs.

Suburban locations are among the company’s fastest-growing locations, and it said demand for workspaces away from busy city centers was set to increase by more than a third (36%) in 2022.

According to the IWG, Bolton and Cardiff (both 190%), Hemel Hempstead (140%) and Chelmsford (112%) were among the places where the number of people increased the most. Smaller towns and cities in the south-east of England also performed well, including Guildford, High Wycombe and Slough.

Most UK businesses have started some level of hybrid working since the pandemic, and earlier this year official data showed most workers wanted to continue splitting their time between home and office post-Covid .

IWG founder and chief executive, Mark Dixon, said: “Business leaders are confident that hybrid working offers a substantially lower cost base as well as the ability to attract and retain the best talent.”

Forecasting hybrid working to accelerate further in 2023, Dixon said hybrid working “allows colleagues to collaborate in person to drive innovation and new ideas”.

IWG said it plans to add 1,000 new locations globally in the coming year, most of which will be in rural and suburban areas. In the UK, it has recently opened co-working centers in towns with populations between 10,000 and 30,000, including Chippenham in Wiltshire, Redhill in Surrey and Evesham in Worcestershire.

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