US & UK Workers Among Least Eager to Return to the Office

Office workers in the US and UK have been among the most reluctant of nations to return to working from their offices, as Huq’s geo-data reveals office attendance across these two countries has yet to surpass 20% of what it was prior to the pandemic.

This slow progress in office attendance stands in contrast to other countries in Europe, where both France and Spain for example have seen significantly more office attendance over the last month.

With presence across office environments dropping to near-zero at the height of lockdown, Spain has seen some of the highest levels of recovery versus pre-lockdown levels in recent weeks achieving around 50%, followed by France with 45%.

While the UK and US has seen office attendance start to resume its regular weekly cadence, peaking Monday-to-Friday, the return to the office in these two countries has been far from enthusiastic.

Interestingly, countries that appear to have resumed office attendance at a faster pace have also reported less damage to their economic growth – with Spain and France’s economy shrinking by less than the UK and US. There is much speculation as to the reasons why UK and US GDP is down more than in other countries but the relationship is clear.

Country Office Index 2020 Q2 GDP
ES 56.2 -18.90%
FR 47.4 -13.80%
GB 11.1 -20.40%
NL 10.0 -9.20%
US 13.5 -32.90%

However, with Spain and France both seeing concerning increases in new infection rates, reflected by recent geo-data showing a decrease in office attendance for these countries, could a less cautious approach in the last few months risk a greater economic headache in the longer term?


Huq’s Indicators help analysts better understand what the recovery from Covid-19 looks like. If you would like to measure activity on a particular location, industry or subject that is not already contained within Huq’s Indicator catalogue, please get in touch with our new business team to discuss your requirements.