(Bloomberg) -- Nearly half of all office visits this year were once a week, a blow to bosses and civic leaders who want workers back at their desks more regularly.
In the four months before the pandemic hit, the share of once-a-week office visits was 21%, according to data from Basking.io, a workplace-occupancy analytics company. Globally, weekly visits of four to five days were about 20% with North America and the Asia-Pacific region the highest at 26% each.
Organizations are grappling with how to bring workers into the office when Covid variants continue to emerge and employees are reluctant to give up remote work. Apple Inc. delayed a plan to have staff in the office three days a week, while Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottstein doesn’t think banks like his will ever return to working full-time in the office. Mayor Eric Adams has been calling for workers to return to their desks, but the average New York City office worker plans to reduce time in the office by 49%, according to Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University.
Midweek is emerging as the popular choice to visit the office, according to the findings, with Tuesday the winner at 23% of the total office visits. Just 15% of visits came on Fridays.
And there’s more bad news for return-to-office diehards. It’s not just office visits that are on the decline, but also the time spent there. Some 37% of office visits lasted less than six hours in the first four months of 2022, compared with 20% from October of 2019 to February of 2020.
All told, the global average peak occupancy rate was lower than 40% from January to April 2022, with Latin America the lowest at just 11%, according to the research.
Companies have responded to these trends by trimming their rental footprint and redesigning their office spaces. Some smaller companies are looking to buy office space in hot markets, while others are optimizing their meeting spaces for hybrid meetings by experimenting with things like new shapes for conference tables.
“Pre-Covid, having a flexible workplace was was seen as innovation, right? But now it's an expectation," said Eldar Gizzatov, chief executive officer of Basking.io, which examined aggregated WiFi data from 100 offices of seven organizations across the world in industries including technology, professional services and life sciences.
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