JUST eight per cent of businesses in the region plan to move premises due to the Covid pandemic – and the vast majority are happy with their current location.

But a new report into post-pandemic plans by local businesses does show that one in five companies in West Yorkshire say staff will likely work from home for at least another year – or permanently.

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership discussed the report into the area’s economy.

For much of the past year there have been questions about how the pandemic might impact working habits.

With employees of many businesses successfully able to work from home, some experts have questioned whether there would ever be a return to offices on the scale of pre-pandemic levels.

Such a shift to home working would have knock-on effects on other businesses, such as town-centre coffee shops and convenience stores that rely on office workers for their business.

However the Economic Insight report shows that many businesses have either already returned to their original premises or plan to in the near future.

And the downsizing of physical work space needed by businesses, predicted by some, does not seem to be likely.

The report involved a sample of 1,579 businesses, and was carried out in February and March.

The report says: “Nearly 1 in 10 (9 per cent) of businesses said their current premises didn’t meet their needs, little change from the 8 per cent reported immediately prior to the pandemic. The majority of businesses (75 per cent) do not anticipate any need for more or less physical space over the next year, but if they do it is more likely to be about ‘more’ than ‘less’ space (16 per cent, compared with 8 per cent).

“Just 8 per cent of businesses are planning to move premises as a response to Covid-19. However, this increases to 19 per cent of medium/large businesses.

“Of the 46 per cent of businesses which have enabled home working, two thirds (64 per cent) say staff are already back in the office or will be within 6 months of the survey date. But 1 in 5 (21 per cent) say staff will work from home for either 12 more months or permanently.” The report also reveals that 76 per cent of West Yorkshire businesses “experienced a negative financial impact” due to Covid.