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News Release: UK office occupancy rates weather the January storm.

06 February 2024
  • National occupancy rates rebounded to over one-third capacity mid-January before weather disruptions caused a notable decline, particularly in London's West End.

After the expected New Year lull, UK office occupancy rates climbed to over one-third capacity by the second and third weeks of January, according to the latest data from Remit Consulting. Despite this promising rise, the final week witnessed a dip to 29.8%, attributed to the stormy weather and its impact on transportation.

Lorna Landells of Remit Consulting observes, "While the post-holiday recovery was expected and echoed patterns of previous years the monthly average for January, at 28.8% was slightly lower than that recorded twelve months previously.

“January's occupancy rates reveal the ongoing vulnerability to external factors such as adverse weather conditions,” she added.

The impact of the bad weather had the biggest impact on London’s West End market, where average office occupancy in the last week of January fell by 18.7 percentage points from 58.9% the previous week to 40.2%. This compares to weekly falls of 6.1 percentage points in the Square Mile and just 3.1 percentage points in Docklands.

Nationally, Mondays and Fridays continue to be the quietest days of the week in the office, with average occupancy rates, during January, of 20.1% on Mondays and 18.4% on Fridays, compared to averages of 33.8% on Tuesdays, 35.5% on Wednesdays and 36.3% on Thursdays.

The Return Report acts as a barometer for office occupancy trends and employee sentiment as the UK adapts to the post-pandemic ‘new normal’. Research carried out before the pandemic, suggested office occupancy rates ranged between 60% and 80%, influenced by elements such as holidays, employee absences, and external meetings.