Social distance measures at work after the lock is released will mean that many people continue to work from home with significant changes required on their daily commute.
The hospitality industry will be a special challenge, as many employees cannot work from home and relatively often use public transport, according to an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
A survey found that while less than one in six people use public transport to get to work in the UK, it rises to one in two among London workers – although jobs in the capital are often more suitable for working from home than those elsewhere in the country.
Public transport is concentrated at certain times compared to other forms of commuting, especially in London and the Southeast, the report said.
Encouraging people to work in different shifts or use other modes of transport will be particularly important in London and other urban areas.
Younger workers are most dependent on public transport to get to work: nearly a fifth of 16-24 year-olds use it compared to just nine percent of workers aged 55 and older.
Employees in sectors such as the financial sector are better able to work from home and have more often taken public transport to work.
Alex Davenport, a research economist at the IFS, said, “Going back to work while maintaining social distance will clearly be difficult for those commuting by public transport.
“To achieve social distance from public transport, it is very important to keep these workers working from home.
“On the other hand, the re-opening of the hospitality sector will pose a particular challenge, as many workers in this sector cannot work from home and relatively heavy public transport users have to go to work.”
Tan Dhesi, shadow rail minister said: “This analysis shows that we need a comprehensive transport plan to get our country moving again when we get out of the lockdown, not the confusing and contradictory advice we are currently getting from the government . “