By Naveen Athrappully
Foot traffic in American workplaces reached the highest levels since the pandemic and related lockdowns began, with back-to-office trends strongest in metros like New York, Boston, and Austin.
Based on data from Robin’s Return to Office report, employees going back to offices increased at a rate of 19 percent in October. New York and Boston registered 22 and 34 percent increase in office-goers respectively.
Building on September’s post-summer increase in office usage, conference room bookings have gone up six percent while office occupancy across the country currently stand at 25 percent.
According to Robin, tech companies along with media and telecom outperformed other industries in office desk bookings last month. However, real estate companies saw 15 percent fewer employees return back to work, and a staggering 50 percent of health care workers chose not to return. Vaccine mandates could be a reason for this absence.
The survey also revealed an interesting detail as people return from the pandemic—Monday has now surpassed Friday as the least popular day to work in the office.
According to data collected by Kastle Systems from 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses across 47 states and 10 major cities, the weekly average occupancy rate currently stands at 39 percent and climbing.
As of Nov. 10, Austin led the roost with 55.3 percent occupancy, with Houston and Dallas following at 52.3 and 49.8 percentages respectively. Outside of Texas, Philadelphia was at 37.3 percent, followed by Los Angeles and New York hovering around the 35 percent mark.
Kastle data shows the legal sector leading all other industries in occupancy rate at 65.4 percent, with 31,582 legal office spaces surveyed for the analysis. Houston law firms registered a 73.3 percent occupancy rate, while Chicago carried 61.6 percent, with Washington and New York at around 54 percent.
There will be a decline in office traffic during this month and the next due to the holidays. The Great Resignation, however, is still considered a force as markets are grappling with employees leaving en masse, looking for more favorable policies and higher wages.
For tech-based industries, a portion of employees are expected to remain working remotely.
Besides the United States, Australia and New Zealand saw a 12 percent increase in employees returning back to the office. Workers in Europe are also returning back to offices and foot traffic is steadily on the rise.
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