Physical Office Occupancy Nears Pandemic High

Physical Office Occupancy Nears Pandemic High In New York

USA – As companies implement new hybrid-work arrangements and COVID-19 infections decline, more employees are returning to their offices in New York, reported the New York Business Journal on Thursday evening (17 March, SGT).

On average, less than 37 percent of staff who went to their workplace before the virus outbreak returned to their office each day over the course of the prior week. That is the second highest percentage since the pandemic hit New York City.

The data comes from Kastle Systems International, which provides security for commercial properties. Since early 2020, the security firm has been analysing keycard and its KastlePresence app access data it derives from 2,600 commercial buildings and 41,000 businesses to whom it provides security services across the US to determine physical office occupancy levels in different metro areas.

In New York City, Kastle’s clients include well-known developments like the Seagram Building and 9 W. 57th Street, as well as buildings managed by commercial property owners, like Marx Realty and Fisher Brothers.

According to Kastle Chairman Mark Ein, the latest statistics follow a broader trend he has witnessed across the United States in the last 2 years.

“When COVID is less prevalent in the population, people start to come back to work, but when there’s a surge, people retreat,” Ein told the Journal.

New York City’s office occupancy level had hit a pandemic-era high of 37 percent during the week of 1 December 2021, just as the Omicron variant hit the city and more people began working remotely again.

In the week of 29 December 2021, the occupancy rate fell to 10.6 percent. Since then, the percentage has been slowly but steadily increased back to where it was before the Christmas holidays.

With infection rates back down again both across the country and in New York City, Ein said it is apparent that more people are getting out of their homes again.

“People are basically returning back to normal life and all their activities. Restaurants are at close to pre-pandemic levels. Sports stadiums are packed. Airplanes are full. Even ‘Spider-Man’ the movie had the 3rd biggest movie opening weekend in history in December,” he noted.

“While the office has lagged behind, it’s catching up, and we think that you’re going to see large increases in people returning to the office in the weeks ahead.”

Last week, the average office occupancy levels across the United States climbed to 40.5 percent – shy of the 40.6 percent recorded in the week of 1 December 2021.

From this point forward, Ein projects that more and more employees will return to their offices.

“We expect it to continue, barring another (COVID) surge,” added Ein.

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