Despite calls from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, business leaders and Efficiency Minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to end remote working to ‘drive up productivity’ and boost city centres, the UK has fewer commuters going to work than the other ‘big five’ European nations (Spain, France, Italy and Germany).

Returning to the office

Although all countries have seen a decline in commuters compared with January 2020, Google mobility data shows that UK commuting is still 35% lower than pre-pandemic levels, compared to levels in Italy being down just 19%. Germany dropped by 22%, Spain decreased by 24% and France fell by 27%.

The UK also favours working from home, compared to the US and Ireland, where commuting in both countries has dropped by 29%.

In contrast, Australia has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels of commuting, with only 7% fewer workers travelling to work now than in 2020.  

Why British workers are further behind

Jane Parry, associate professor in work and employment from the University of Southampton, said “long commutes and a poor transport network could explain why the UK is lagging behind.

“The UK has relatively lengthy commuting patterns, around 46 minutes a day – the longest in Europe according to a recent survey.

“The geographies of many UK cities, served by poorly-ventilated public transport, also might have caused a lag in employers compelling people to return to the office.”

How LeavePlanner can help

British companies and employees are continuing to favour working from home. For many, there hasn’t been a drop off in productivity as technology has meant communicating and sharing information is straightforward.

LeavePlanner supports businesses to manage hybrid working and working from home schedules. Administrators can specify employee working hours, working patterns and rotas, making managing schedules simple.

For a free no obligation 30 day trial, call us on 01252 636 070 or email

For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email