Return to the office slows as fewer people come in even once a week

Robin's August report finds even workers in government, hospitality and construction spent less time in the office.

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Image: GettyImages/filadendron

The employee bounce rate went up slightly in August and the number of people coming into the office three or four times a week dropped to under 10%, according to data collected by Robin.

The software company analyzed data from its office reservation system to see what the return to office looks like around the world. Numbers went up in May and June but summer vacations and the delta variant seem to have stopped that upward trend. 

Robin defines the bounce rate at the percentage of employees coming into the office once and not returning for the rest of the month. That number was 19% in August, up 1.5% from July. Even in industries that led the way back to working in person, including construction, hospitality and government, lost ground, going from about seven days of in-office work per month to less than six in August, according to the analysis.

The report also found that global conference room bookings dropped 1% in August, the first decline since March. The blog post announcing the findings noted that this matches with historical trends for the month of August. 

RTO trends in the US

In July, Robin's analysis found that companies in five major US cities were bringing more people back to in-person work. The August analysis showed that the trend is rolling out differently. Los Angeles is seeing an increase in workers returning to the office but San Francisco and New York did not. Numbers remained the same in Boston from July to August. 

The data analysis also looked at the RTO trend within industries. Retail, media and telecom, and government offices continued to see more people back in the office. However, education and construction both had a big dip in the number of in-person workers. Both construction and education were leading the return-to-office charge in July, which shows how quickly the landscape can change, according to Robin.

The other factor for employers and employees is the new vaccine requirement that applies to companies with more than 100 employees. Organizations now need systems to verify vaccination status. Vendors are stepping in with software solutions to manage this task. Hot desking is another scheduling challenge. Envoy and Robin are two companies taking on this challenge.

As part of the RTO report, Robin also announced new features for its Office Pass software, including:

  • Office check-ins via push notification, Slack/Teams, or QR code. 
  • Abandoned Desk Protection that releases any workspace that has been booked but not claimed.
  • A favorites view so users can see which colleagues are in the office at a given time.
  • Group reservations for teams.
  • The ability to adjust occupancy rates and individual employee office access to reflect updated health and safety requirements.

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