Home working could cost the UK economy up to £15.3bn a year due to the knock-on effect on office cleaners and security guards as well as nearby cafes and coffee shops.
The latest research by accountancy firm PwC showed that the one per cent drop in GDP would be caused by a cut in spending by workers who are at home rather than in city centres.
There could also be a knock-on impact of lower spending by workers that rely on an influx of office staff for work.
Suburbs and smaller towns could benefit from the shift to home working, however the economy as a whole will be negatively affected as bigger cities such as London and Manchester take a hit, the Sunday Times reported.
“The fall in value of a worker no longer collaborating in a city may also be greater than the gain to a suburban or rural area of that worker sharing ideas there,” the PwC report said.
Pret a Manger, which relies on a stream of office workers, has already announced it will cut 2,800 jobs due to the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
More store closures and retail job losses are expected unless office workers return and consumers are encouraged to visit city centres, the British Retail Consortium has warned.
The capital has been particularly damaged by slow footfall recovery, with mayor of London Sadiq Khan saying last month that “empty offices are a big problem for central London”.