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News Release: Three years on from the easing of lockdown restrictions and UK office occupancy rates remain stable at around a third of capacity.

30 May 2024
  • Most recent figures for last week reveal an average national office occupancy of 31.8%
  • Bank Holidays and industrial action can have a significant impact on office occupancy

Three years on from the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK the volume of office staff returning to the workplace each day is still significantly lower than before the pandemic, according to Remit Consulting.

The management consultant’s ongoing research reveals that, over the past twelve months, the average office occupancy rate in the UK has consistently reached around 33%, although it is clear that public holidays and strike action can result in much lower numbers.

The latest figures, (W/E 17th May) show a national office occupancy rate of 31.8%, a slight decline compared with April, which also felt the impact of strikes and holidays. The weekly average for the UK peaked at 35.9% in the second week of March 2024, with a similar spike also recorded in April 2023.

The second week of May saw significant disruptions due to the Bank Holiday and industrial action by train drivers, resulting in a sharp drop in occupancy to 26.3%. London experienced a pronounced decrease during this period, while the occupancy rates in regional cities have generally remained more robust. Outside these disruptions, occupancy rates have been relatively firm, as more businesses have introduced greater clarity around hybrid working policies – which often include a mandatory minimum number of days in the office. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays continue to be the most popular days for office attendance, with Fridays remaining the quietest day of the week for office occupation.

Lorna Landells of Remit Consulting commented on the changes that the pandemic has brought to the office landscape: “Three years since the easing of lockdown restrictions, the return to the office has been a gradual and steady process. The data indicates that, while there has been no sudden surge, there is a commitment to office attendance, but on a flexible basis strong. This steady trend suggests that many businesses have accepted and adopted hybrid working patterns. As a result, the traditional office environment is evolving to meet the flexible needs of businesses and the workforce.”

In a survey of office workers conducted by Remit Consulting last year, nearly 60% of respondents said they would consider leaving their jobs if required to return to full-time office work.

“Our findings underline that while in-person interaction remains a significant draw, the demand for flexibility is paramount. Younger workers, in particular, benefit from the collaborative and learning environment the office provides. This underscores the need for offices to be adaptable, offering both quiet areas for focused work and communal spaces for collaboration and underscoring the demand for flexible work arrangements, with a three-day office week becoming the new norm,” said Landells.

“The future of the office lies in creating spaces that are not only functional but also inspirational. Offices must evolve beyond mere workspaces to become environments that foster engagement, productivity, and well-being,” she concluded.


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 an adjusted figure (60%) to compare current figures Monday - Friday.