People still working from home in Mansfield, despite lifting of rules

Workplaces in Mansfield remain quiet, with many people still operating from home, data suggests.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 4:16 pm
Nikki Rolls, the outgoing chief executive of Mansfield BID, insisted overall footfall in the town centre was up after Covid restrictions were lifted.

Covid restrictions, including the government’s guidance to work from home if possible, were finally lifted on July 19.

But the average activity in Mansfield offices and other workplaces was 12 per cent below normal, pre-pandemic levels in the first week of so-called ‘freedom’ – exactly the same as the previous week. Across England as a whole, it was 26 per cent below.

The activity levels were collected by Google, which uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track footfall trends in people’s movement in their daily lives.

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Business leaders reckon the fall in activity could be down to the emergence of hybrid working, whereby companies encourage a mix of being on site and at home.

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A survey, conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), revealed that fewer than one in 20 businesses were considering returning to staff working entirely from the office.

Maxine Bligh, of the CBI, said: “The pandemic has taught employers that people can do large parts of their job from home without any negative impact on productivity. There have also been benefits in terms of health and wellbeing.”

The Google data from the week ending July 25 also showed that activity in Mansfield leisure venues, such as cinemas and gyms, was down 11 per cent, and on public transport, it was down 20 per cent

However, in the town’s supermarkets and grocery stores, it was was eight per cent above usual, while in parks and public spaces, it was up 13 per cent.

Nikki Rolls, the outgoing chief executive of Mansfield BID, insisted that Mansfield WAS much busier once the Covid restrictions had been eased, and disputed the Google figures.

She said: “We saw a marked increase in overall footfall in the town centre in the days after ‘Freedom Day’. It was up more than 40 per cent on the same week the previous year and only marginally down on the same time in 2019.

“We believe this indicates people DID return to the workplace, and that locals and visitors alike are confident that the BID, and its partners, including businesses, are working hard to keep the town centre a safe place to be.”

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