NatWest, which employs 34,000 office-based staff, said a very small number were currently coming in and that it was pushing for a gradual return from September 13.
The prospect of returning to the old way of working has inevitably led to a rise in anxiety, with therapist Holly Thurnstone saying: “After a year-and-a-half of lockdowns, working from home and self-isolation, it is natural for us to take a while in getting back to normal day-to-day living again.
“It’s OK to have worries and anxieties about going back to the office.” It is hoped the mass return will help spark a much-needed economic recovery.
Combined with the start of a new school term for most children, it created the perfect storm of rush-hour chaos not seen since coronavirus hit Britain.
Inevitably, it meant snarl-ups on roads while trains and buses creaked under the weight of demand.
In London, rush-hour traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels as commuters struggled with gridlocked roads like the M25, A2 and A20. Congestion at 9am was put at 61 percent capacity – almost the 63 percent it was in 2019.