UK Office Occupancy Rebounds To New Post-Lockdown High
UNITED KINGDOM – Data from Remit Consulting showed that office occupancy rates across the country picked up over the past week, with the national average hitting 35.3 percent, a new high since the end of the lockdowns, reported commercial property data provider CoStar on Wednesday evening (15 February, SGT).
Excluding weekly fluctuations, Remit Consulting’s Real Estate Consultant Lorna Landells pointed out that there has been a steady gain in the number of office-based employees returning to their workplaces on a daily basis in the past 12 months.
The gradual improvement continued in 2023, albeit with lower figures witnessed on particular days due to industrial action, especially the train strikes. Still, the latest figures happened at what “could be considered as a regular week without any major disruptions”.
She revealed that as is now usual, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the busiest days, as the UK’s average office occupancy levels surpasses 40 percent during those days.
Among the London office submarkets, the Docklands once again outperformed the West End during the week ended 10 February 2023. Their weekly average office occupancy reached 53.9 percent and 43.9 percent respectively.
In addition, some market commentators think that office buildings were only ever 60 to 80 percent “full” prior to the COVID-19 pandemic because of holidays, employees being sick, meetings outside of the premises, and other operational problems.
They think the peak actual physical occupancy (not committed occupancy) is between 70 to 80 percent, but this could differ per individual office tower and company.
Notably, Remit Consulting compiles occupancy data per week. It’s based on buildings’ access statistics provided by real estate managers from office properties in major cities across the UK.
Meanwhile, a global study by CBRE that was published this week showed that the number of job ads for remote-only jobs by employers has declined.