UK settling into three-day office week, footfall data shows

British workers have settled into a three-day office working week, according to the latest office footfall data from flexible office and workspace operator IWG - with hybrid working beginning to gain parity with salary, pension and holiday as the key factors considered when job hunting.

According to the data - recorded by the number of Wi-Fi logins per IWG centre per day - employees are favouring coming into the office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with 23% more visits per day than on Monday and Friday.

IWG’s data shows Tuesday has been the most popular day to be in the office this year, closely followed by Wednesday and then Thursday. The trend is reinforced by the hospitality industry, whose leaders have said that Wednesday and Thursday evenings have become the new Thursdays and Fridays for drinking and dining out, IWG noted in a statement.

Further data from IWG’s national network of 300 workspaces revealed that footfall grew by 15% month-on-month in May, a 36% rise since January.

IWG said that its biggest focus on expansion has been on suburban and rural areas across the UK. It saw demand for suburban office space increase by 29% in 2021 as more workers aim to avoid long daily commutes and work closer to where they live - essentially splitting their time between working from home, a local flexible working space, and occasional visits to a corporate HQ.

The fastest growing city locations across IWG’s network included Birmingham (+ 39%), Aberdeen (+28%), Exeter (+ 26%), London Fleet Street (+26%) and Liverpool (+25%). Meanwhile, suburban and rural offices with the largest growth included Slough (+158%), Welwyn Garden City (+ 37%) Northampton (+ 31%), Croydon (+ 31%) and Ashford (+29%).

Recent IWG research (among 2,000 office workers in February 2022) shows that hybrid working is beginning to gain parity with salary, pension and holiday as the key factors to consider when job hunting. Nine in 10 workers said hybrid working was an important factor when looking for a new job this year, placing it alongside health insurance and group income protection (both on 88%) and ahead of life insurance (84%), unlimited holiday (76%) and extended parental leave (71%).

IWG said this is supported by data from job site Indeed, which shows that year-on-year searches for the term ‘hybrid’ have increased by 6,531% in the 12 months up to the end of April, making it one of the fastest growing search terms on their UK website.