WORKPLACES in Dorset were quieter immediately after Covid restrictions were lifted than they were before, data suggests.

The level of activity in local workplaces fell slightly after ‘Freedom Day’ on July 19 compared with the previous week.

Google uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people’s movement in different parts of their daily lives.

It compares footfall in five areas outside of the home – retail and recreation, supermarkets and pharmacies, parks, public transport and workplaces – to a five week-baseline period recorded before the Covid-19 crisis.

In Dorset, average activity in workplaces was 23 per cent below normal levels in the week commencing July 19.

This was down from 22 per cent below during the previous week, when the government’s instruction to work from home where possible was in place.

Across England, average workplace activity also fell slightly from 24 per cent below normal levels to 26 per cent under.

The lack of change nationally is unsurprising, said the Confederation of British Industry, which conducted a recent survey revealing fewer than one in 20 business leaders were considering returning staff to work entirely from the office.

The majority were thinking of bringing in hybrid models where employees would work from home and in the office, the survey commissioned by the University of Leeds found.

Maxine Bligh, director at the Confederation of British Industry, said: “The pandemic has taught employers that, in general, people can do large parts of their job from home without any impact on productivity. There have also been benefits felt for employees in terms of health and wellbeing.”

The final lifting of restrictions on July 19 saw the end of social distancing and limits on how many people can meet up indoors and outdoors.

Nightclubs were allowed to reopen and large music and sports events can now take place.