Utilization of Corporate Space Post-Labor Day Hasn't Reached Expectations

Dallas, TX, October 6, 2022-An anticipated post-Labor Day uptick in employee utilization of office space may not be enough to satisfy many companies’ expectations, according to a recent survey of 176 corporate end users by CBRE and CoreNet Global. 

“As employers search for ways to increase office usage, they are focusing on making their space design compelling enough to attract employees back to the office.

“Most companies believe that the office is a fundamental tool for business success and want employees in the office more often.

“Although 84% of survey respondents want their employees in the office at least 2.5 days per week, 60% indicated that pre-Labor Day usage levels were more than two days below the pre-pandemic average of 4.4 per week in 2018. While 43% of survey respondents believe that current office utilization levels constitute a “new normal,” 51% expect the level will continue to increase after Labor Day.

“Companies that expect an increase in office usage face a unique challenge in getting employees to change behaviors. Only 25% of respondents believe that their employees would voluntarily come into the office more often than they do today. By contrast, 58% say that executive leadership would like employees in the office more.

“This sentiment has grown since CBRE’s Spring 2022 U.S. Occupier Sentiment Survey.

"Respondents were evenly split on whether an economic recession would lead to increased office utilization rates. Reasons that it would include employees’ fear of job loss and employers’ belief that more office usage would improve the company’s overall business performance.

“While occupiers remain cautious and leasing activity is still below pre-pandemic levels, there is some evidence that more companies are prepared to make long-term commitments. Thirty-one percent of respondents said they anticipate adding to their office portfolio over the next three years, 19% foresee it remaining the same and 46% see it getting smaller. That’s a change in some cases from the past 20 months: Only 20% of respondents said their office portfolios had expanded since January 2021, while 31% were unchanged and 44% had shrunk. In each timeframe, 4% of respondents were unsure if change had taken place. Clearly not all occupier decisions are being driven by cost reduction or a desire to shrink their overall footprint.”