Office occupancy hits 25% in the US with NYC and Boston offices filling up the fastest

Robin's Return to Office Report finds office capacity is at 25% which is the highest since the pandemic started.

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There were more people working in person at offices than at any point since the pandemic started in October, although the rate of return has slowed in the US compared to the rate of return in September.

Image: Robin

Foot traffic in American workplaces jumped 19% in October, according to Robin's latest Return to Office report for October. There were more people in the office last month than at any time since the pandemic started. Companies in New York City and Boston are bringing people back the fastest with a 22% increase and 34% increase respectively.

Conference rooms were busier as well with a 6% increase in bookings, according to the report. The return rate has slowed slightly since September which was 26% in the US. The report also found that Monday was the least popular day to work in the office. 

Robin predicts a drop in foot traffic in November and December in the U.S., due to the upcoming holidays. There were fewer people in the office in August, which Robin attributes to end-of-summer vacation plans. 

SEE: Wellness at work: How to support your team's mental health (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Industry RTO trends continued to fluctuate with media and telecom companies more than doubling the number of employees in the office in October. In the real estate companies, there was a drop of 15% in the average number of people returning. Healthcare also saw a drop with 50% of employees spending only one day per month in the office. Robin suggests this may be due to the expansion of vaccine mandates and increasing burnout among healthcare workers.

The report also found that employees in Europe spent an average of 5.5 days in the office per month, which is higher than the global average. More workers in Australia and New Zealand were back in person with their colleagues with a 12% increase in capacity. 

Despite this increase in foot traffic, the Great Resignation is still a force in the marketplace, according to a new Qualtrics survey. The third annual Employee Experience Trends Report for 2022 found that women in middle management jobs are three times more likely to find a new job.

Among middle managers, 69% intend to stick with their current job over the next few years, down from 83% in 2021. There is also still a significant group of people (35%) who will find a new job if they have to work full-time in the office. 

Another recent survey found that 83% of IT leaders believe the hybrid workforce is a permanent part of the workforce. According to a survey of 1,500 IT and business leaders from Riverbed and Aternity, 83% believe that at least 25% of their workplace will remain hybrid post-pandemic, up from only 30% in 2020. Forty-two percent think that the majority of the workplace will be hybrid after COVID-19.

IT leaders see the hybrid model as an important tool to attract talent and remain competitive. A large majority of survey respondents think this work model will have a positive impact on society.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...