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The workforce is flowing back into the offices of a range of top companies, while others are trying to lure employees back

Staff are streaming back to offices of a range of top companies, while others say they are considering plans to lure employees out of their homes

  • Many companies registered an increase in the number of employees returning to their desks
  • The store chain Boots was one of those who registered a steady increase in the number of visitors
  • Alistair Cox said full-time remote work is unlikely to become permanent

A string of top firms revealed last night that their staff were pouring back into the office, while others said they are considering plans to lure workers out of their homes.

As a major boost to the campaign to attract more office workers to city centers, many companies said the number of employees returning to their desks had increased.

The news comes in a new Daily Mail audit of 30 FTSE 100 and top firms, representing more than 150,000 employees.

The Boots retail chain was among those registering a steady rise in visitors, with about a third of office workers now sitting at their desks at least a few days a week. No cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in this cohort.

The news comes in a new Daily Mail audit of 30 FTSE 100 and top firms, representing more than 150,000 employees

The news comes in a new Daily Mail audit of 30 FTSE 100 and top firms, representing more than 150,000 employees

As an extra incentive, the boss of recruiting giant Hays swore that the office would not turn its back.

Alistair Cox said last night that working full-time remotely was unlikely to become “a permanent thing.”

But he also predicted that offices will be closed as companies assess whether they should switch permanently to a ‘hybrid’ model, in which home and office work are balanced.

It was revealed yesterday that Capita, one of the UK’s largest employers, will become the first major UK company to withdraw from city centers by closing nearly 100 offices. The government contractor – who collects the BBC license fee and administers the London congestion charge – is expected to close more than a third of its 250 offices in the UK; its 45,000 UK employees will continue to work from home.

The news will be a major blow to Boris Johnson’s back to work campaign, which launches this week.

It also emerged yesterday that BP plans to sell its central London headquarters as part of an ongoing shift in work patterns.

People hanging around Cabot Square in Canary Wharf with the One Canada Square building in the background. The city's financial district is still quiet

People hanging around Cabot Square in Canary Wharf with the One Canada Square building in the background. The city's financial district is still quiet

People hanging around Cabot Square in Canary Wharf with the One Canada Square building in the background. The city’s financial district is still quiet

The developments will heighten fears for businesses in the city center, from sandwich shops and pubs to dry cleaners and hairdressers, which depend on visitor numbers from offices.

Last week, CBI boss Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said that working from home had turned some commercial centers into “ ghost towns. ” But in a ray of hope, several companies surveyed by the Mail said that either the employees were starting to drip or plans were being made for bigger increases.

Many said the recurring numbers will be based on the government’s success in getting the children back to school this week.

Auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers said that about one-third of the 24,700 office workers now spent at least some time behind their desks and this was increasing. And insurance giant Aviva expects the number of agencies to double in the coming weeks.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said, “The government needs to take the lead and tell officials and businesses to” get back to work. “

Derek Ray-Hill, of Cities Restart – a venture launching next month to get people back to work, said: “Business leaders should put on masks, wash their hands and go back to work. They can’t wait for someone else to take the lead. ‘

It comes after figures from last week revealed that only 17 percent of the workforce is back at work in the 63 largest cities.

Capita and BP did not respond to requests for comment.

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