In a week without any national rail strike or industrial action taken by public sector workers, office occupancy rates in the UK improved once again, with a national average of 35.3% being recorded according to research published by Remit Consulting; the highest level yet seen since the end of the national lockdowns.
Lorna Landells of Remit Consulting said: "Excluding weekly fluctuations, there has been a steady increase in the number of office-based staff returning to the workplace on a daily basis over the past 12 months. So far this year, this gradual increase has continued, albeit with lower figures on certain days caused by the impact of industrial action and these strong figures were from what could be considered to be a regular week without any major disruptions."
As is now usual, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were the busiest days, with a national average of over 40% occupancy on all three days.
In London, the Docklands submarket, with a weekly average of 53.9%, once again outperformed the West End which experienced a weekly average occupancy rate of 43.9% last week.
There are diverse views in the property sector regarding what constitutes maximum occupancy for offices, with some industry commentators suggesting that, due to holidays, external meetings, staff sickness and other operational issues, offices were only ever 60-80% ‘full’ before the pandemic.
Previous research from the BCO suggested a figure of 60%, while other market practitioners suggest a figure of between 70% and 80% at peak times in the calendar, although this will have varied widely according to individual buildings and businesses.
The graph shows the current average figures (Monday-Friday) and the average for the busiest days of the week (Tuesdays-Thursdays).