Monday to Friday in the office appears to be, for many British workers, a thing of the past and a study of mobile phone data suggests that Tuesday to Thursday are now the typical days for office working.

Analysts from and Visitor Insights examined anonymised phone data from more than 500 UK high streets from 2019 to 2022, a period spanning the coronavirus pandemic and multiple national lockdowns.

The study found increased activity in many suburban and small towns; a finding linked to the greater scope for remote working that has become one of the legacies of the pandemic. Seaside towns were also significantly busier post-pandemic.

Many towns and suburbs have, unlike city centres, seen an increase in high street footfall with Marlow, Glossop and Matlock among the town centres recording the greatest boost in activity.

The mid-week office trend is also supported by figures from Transport for London which point to a redistribution of travel during the working week away from the weekdays adjacent to weekends, most likely motivated to make the most of now well-established homeworking practices.

Post-pandemic working arrangements have undoubtedly changed the traditional working week and most companies accept that a blend of working from home and the office each week is here to stay in the UK.

As we continue, however, to move away from the once habitual 9-5 office routine and settle into new ways of working, these new arrangements bring with them a number of challenges.

Employers will need to carefully manage staff working patterns to ensure they have adequate resourcing and, where employers have reduced their offices spaces, to avoid overcapacity on popular days.

Much has changed since the onset of the pandemic so it is important to consult with staff when developing working patterns and office schedules and to not make decisions based on outdated assumptions of their wants and needs.

Consultation can highlight the small and perhaps inexpensive changes an employer can make to the workplace environment to entice staff in on less popular days. For example, recalibrating the office to make it easier to collaborate, offering office-based perks or allowing flexible working hours. Equally, consultation can bring to light any larger issues which might be stopping staff from coming in on certain days or at certain times.

However, there will be instances where employees will simply be required to attend the office on particular days or at particular times, which may prove unpopular. In these instances, employers should ensure they clearly set out their policy, ensure staff are aware of what is expected of them and what their responsibilities are. It may also help to set out why staff may be required to come in on less popular days. Employers may need to consider appropriate action where employees fail to follow policy.