Guest post by Anjali Grover, Head of Data Analytics at Basking.io

How is “The Great Return to Office” playing out around the globe? To find out, our team at Basking.io looked at aggregated data from 100 offices (7 organizations, primarily in professional services and technology sectors) across the world with 39% of offices located in EMEA, 40% in North America, 10% in LATAM, and 11% in the APAC region.

By analyzing the occupancy data from Q1 2022, we found that employees are now using offices very differently from how they have been used in the past. With companies worldwide implementing remote and hybrid work policies, it has never been more important than now to measure workplace occupancy and space usage. Keep reading to find out how the occupancy stacks up in your region.

KEY FINDINGS

  • The average peak occupancy rate was lower than 40% in Q1 2022 globally and was the lowest (9%) in LATAM.
  • People are now using offices in a non-traditional way. Globally, ~44% of weekly visits to the offices were for “once a week” with LATAM leading the category with 56% visits. Moreover, on average, ~37% of the global visits lasted for less than 6 hours.
  • Offices are facing a midweek occupancy peak. Mondays and Fridays are less popular than other weekdays.
  • Megacities (17%) observed the lowest average peak occupancy rate in Q1 2022 compared to other city groups indicating that space utilization for an office is dependent on its city’s size.

THE GLOBAL AVERAGE PEAK OCCUPANCY RATE WAS BELOW 40%

On average, the peak occupancy rate in Q1 2022 was highest in EMEA (31%), followed by North America (24%), APAC (18%), and LATAM (9%). 80% of the offices globally had an average peak occupancy rate below 37% in Q1 2022. The average peak occupancy rate in LATAM offices increased by 204% from the first week (5%) of Q1 2022 to the last one (16%).

ONLY ~21% OF WEEKLY OFFICE VISITS GLOBALLY ARE FOR IN THE “4-5 DAYS PER WEEK” CATEGORY

Globally, ~44% of weekly visits to the offices were for just “once a week”. LATAM (56%) stands out with the highest % of weekly visits in this category.

APAC (29%) observed the highest number of weekly visits for “4-5 days”, followed by North America (25%), EMEA (18%), and LATAM (14%) With more firms implementing a “3 days in the office hybrid policy”, we’re expecting the “2-3 days per week” category to grow in coming months.

“8 HOURS PER DAY” NORM IS GONE

On average, 37% of the global visits lasted for less than 6 hours. In LATAM (37%) and North America (34%), most office visits lasted between 2 and 5 hours, whereas in APAC (49%) and EMEA (45%), most office visits lasted between 9 and 12 hours.

The shift from long to short office visits indicates hybrid work culture and flexible work hours are the need of the hour.

OFFICES ARE FACING A MIDWEEK OCCUPANCY PEAK

A midweek peak was observed globally with most visits observed on Tuesdays (22%), Wednesdays (21%) and Thursdays (21%). On average, Mondays (18%) and Fridays (16%) observed less number of visits compared to other weekdays across all regions.

OFFICE LOCATION MATTERS: AVERAGE PEAK OCCUPANCY WAS LOWEST IN MEGA CITIES

We also investigated whether there’s a difference in occupancy rates based on the size of the cities where the offices are located. Turns out that in Q1 2022, on average, peak occupancy rate was lowest (17%) in mega cities and it was highest (34%) in medium sized cities. In mega cities, the average peak occupancy rate increased by 90% from the first week (12%) of Q1 2022 to the last one (24%).

“5 DAYS PER WEEK” ATTENDANCE WAS LOWEST IN MEGA CITIES

In mega cities, the offices experienced half of the weekly office visits for “once a week” and only 14% of the weekly visits for “4 to 5 days per week”. In micro (44%) and small cities (45%), similar to mega cities, most weekly visits were for “once a week” leading to 20% and 18% of weekly visits, respectively, for ”4-5 days per week”.

MEDIUM AND LARGE CITY OFFICES EXPERIENCED LONGER VISITS

Offices located in medium (57%) and large (51%) cities experienced longer visits compared to other categories. Surprisingly, in mega cities, the distribution of duration of visits was similar to small and micro cities.

OFFICE MIDWEEK PEAK EXISTS IRRESPECTIVE OF A CITY’S SIZE

Similar to occupancy trends at region level, we observed the midweek peak across all offices segmented by their city’s population size as well. This is an interesting finding as the midweek peak can create unnecessary overcrowding and additional pressure of facility management services.

The occupancy data from Q1 2022 makes it clear that employees are now using offices very differently from how they have been used in the past. With companies worldwide implementing remote and hybrid work policies, it has never been more important than now to measure the workplace occupancy and space usage.

You can find the report in full here. If you have any feedback or ideas on what we should look into next, reach out to us on Linkedin, Twitter, or email benchmark@basking.io directly. Get in touch if you have any questions!

Author: Anjali Grover, Head of Data Analytics at Basking.io