May in-office work jumped 40%, study says

Robin RTO tracker shows that "people aren't rushing back to every day in the office," its co-founder says.

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Image: Robin

Robin, the desk-booking software, conference room scheduling and data analytics company, said on Monday that the U.S. had a 40% increase in the total number of employees who worked from the office at least once compared with April 2021. According to the third iteration of Robin's Return-to-Office tracker series, the employee bounce, which measures the percentage of employees who visited their office once during the month and never returned, only climbed 2% to 12%, which the company said meant more people returned to the office and continued to do so. Thursday, a popular night for office happy hours, is the preferred day to work in-office in the U.S., according to 20.9% of employees.

The company's co-founder and VP of customer experience Zach Dunn said in an interview the report "confirms a trend we knew, people aren't rushing back to every day in the office." For employers, he added, "If that is your goal, you're going to be in for a disappointment."

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The tracker is "useful as a benchmark, to help understand what normal looks like," he said, and it shows evolution to the reopening and employees' confidence in the in-office experience and that the RTO is "not some weird experiment."

Each month, Robin said its data team analyzes millions of desk, conference room and office asset reservations from a global customer base of about 10,000 offices (60% from North America). U.S. companies' average office capacity increased to 17% in May, a 7% improvement over the previous month, Robin found.

The RTO tracker found that utilities dethroned hospitality and wholesale companies in the percentage increase in returning employees to the office, which they held since March 2021. The industry quintupled the number of people working from the office in May.

Also, global RTO rankings essentially held steady, but there was some shuffling at the top.

Countries with the Highest Number of Bookings (*previous month's rankings in parentheses):

  1. India (2) 

  2. Malta (3) 

  3. England (1) 

  4. Luxembourg (4) 


Additional Country Rankings:

  • China (6; was 7 last month) 

  • Mexico (9; was 10 last month) 

  • USA (17; was 15 last month) 

  • France (19; was 14 last month) 


Robin said its data team discovered that Australia and New Zealand's RTO figures are six to eight weeks ahead of the U.S.

Australia and New Zealand businesses average about 53% office capacity during the workweek up from 35%. Employees' preference for what days to come into the office is the same as the U.S.: Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday top the charts.

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