The percentage of people traveling to work has returned to the same level as before Christmas, before the third nationwide lockdown began, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics.

Nearly 40 per cent of people surveyed said they were solely working from the office or job site at the end of February, matching the level seen before 22 December, despite rules ordering people to work from home when they can.

It’s also the first time since December that the share of employees leaving home to go to work exceeded those solely working remotely

The percentage of workers who are only working from home has also been gradually falling since mid-February and was 32 per cent at the end of the month.

Around 10 per cent of workers mixing some days remote working with others spent onsite.

It comes as twenty business leaders today wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to consider speeding up return to office plans.

The gradual rise in commuters mirrors a marked increase in optimism amongst the British public. Almost a third of survey respondents told the ONS that they believe that life will return to normal within the next six months, a significant jump from one in five a week earlier.

Major business leaders have recently emphasized the importance of working from within an office as opposed to working from home.

The chief executive of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, reportedly told analysts that productivity was particular affected on Mondays and Fridays and for its younger employees.

David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Barclay’s boss Jes Staley have also highlighted the importance of office working. Last month Staley said: “It is important to get people back together in physical concentrations. We want our people back together, to make sure we ensure the evolution of our culture and our controls, and I think that will happen over time.”