A check-in on the pulse of the global workplace, by Locatee.
Data source: anonymized Locatee customer data in the given time periods.
Global trends for office utilization since January:
- Office average: the average utilization of the office space over each full week
- City center peak: the peak utilization registered in office locations situated in major urban centers
- All peak: is the peak utilization registered in all office locations
After reaching high peaks during the month of May, we are seeing at the end of May/early June a slight decrease followed by an immediate “correction”. Do various holidays across the Western world have something to do with it? As well as the arrival of summer and with that, the start of vacation for a number of employees? This seasonality is to be expected and had been perceived in the data last year as well, even though numbers were extremely low due to COVID-19.
We can see a reduction in the difference between city-center offices and the overall peak utilization. For now, there isn’t much of an interpretation we can easily provide. Have companies started to roll-out return-to-office measures and initiatives beyond their headquarters for instance? Or is it seasonal, and we may see the gap widening after the summer?
Also, are these levels we are seeing – around 15% average utilization, 30% or more peaks – the new norms? If so, and again, we will understand this better after the summer and if no new COVID-19 wave disrupts things, we are headed towards a quite significant transformation of office space for large companies across the globe. Whether it means reduction of said space, or re-thinking and re-allocation of space (see further), remains to be seen.
Office density performance report
- High Density Average is the average utilization of the office space in high density office spaces (12 sqm/desk or less)
- High Density Peak is the peak utilization of the office space in high density office spaces (12 sqm/desk or less)
- Medium Density Average is the average utilization of the office space in medium density office spaces (between 12 and 25 sqm/desk)
- Medium Density Peak is the peak utilization of the office space in medium density office spaces (between 12 and 25 sqm/desk)
- Low Density Average is the average utilization of the office space in low density office spaces (25 sqm/desk or more)
- Low Density Peak is the peak utilization of the office space in low density office spaces (25 sqm/desk or more)
On the notion of the impact of density on office utilization, there are here some relatively straightforward conclusions we can make:
- In today’s hybrid world of work, and in relatively (new) “normal” circumstances, there isn’t much of an impact of density on office utilization.
- However, during COVID-19 waves, we can probably conclude that low density office spaces have a much better utilization record than high and medium density offices.
What does it mean for companies today? When planning space, density doesn’t seem to factor in the functionality of the office space; however, it may factor in the health and safety requirements and comfort levels. Lower density offices, since we are taking the desk as a denominator, might indicate a more innovative work setting (flexible seating, unassigned desks/zones) and thus be more attractive in the future – something we will keep an eye on in the coming months.
Space types utilization
Last May, we looked at the data to find out if we could already verify some predictive trends post-COVID-19 and the advent of hybrid working. And indeed, we saw that “we-spaces” (meeting rooms, collaboration spaces) were increasingly being used, at higher rates than “me-spaces” (desks). Let’s see if anything has evolved with two more months of data for 2022:
Global space types utilization
USA space types utilization
Europe space types utilization
- Meeting rooms avg: average monthly occupancy of meeting rooms
- Meeting rooms peak: peak occupancy of meeting rooms reached during the month
- Collaboration spaces avg: average monthly occupancy of collaboration spaces
- Collaboration spaces peak: peak occupancy of collaboration spaces reached during the month
- Desk avg: average monthly occupancy of desks (excl. individual offices)
- Desk peak: peak occupancy of desks reached during the month (excl. individual offices)
- Meeting rooms vs collaboration spaces: as defined per each customer setup. Generally speaking, meeting rooms are bookable as opposed to collaboration spaces which are open/first come first serve spaces.
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If anything, our conclusions from May are being validated and confirmed by the additional data. As we have seen, overall utilization is slightly lower from May to June. And this is clearly visible as well when we look at desks utilization peaks. However, this doesn’t seem to affect the utilization of meeting rooms and collaboration spaces – on the contrary, despite lower occupancy numbers, these spaces keep being increasingly utilized!
The factors behind these opposite trends are unclear. Could it be that companies have started to focus on orchestrating “punctuated collaboration” intently, thus ensuring that employees are indeed more systematically using the office for collaborative events?
Or could it be that with averaged peaks close or superior to 70% for meeting rooms across a large number of sites, there is already, in many of these sites, a saturation phenomenon – and hence even with less people in the office, the demand was actually higher than the supply and thus, still high enough to increasingly fill out the spaces?
If that is the case – something that obviously is analyzed in a much more granular manner, floor by floor, by our customers in Locatee – this points to a far more urgent need to transform and reallocate space. Are you already transforming your office? What are your “big bets” to create a great workplace experience?
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