As people head out more, the return to offices continues to lag

Feb. 15, 2022
An average 33% of the U.S. workforce returned to offices in 10 major cities during the first week of February, down from a high of 41% in early December, but up from about 23% in the first week of January.

Thousands of companies that closed their offices in March 2020 have not yet provided plans to reopen. Despite plummeting COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, millions of office employees are continuing to work after the omicron variant surged in December. And remote work remains the prevalent option even as a growing number of states roll back mask mandates at indoor venues, businesses and schools.

According to Kastle Systems, which records building access card swipes, an average of 33% of the workforce returned to office during the first week of February in the 10 major cities it monitors. Eleven weeks ago, in early December, the occupancy rate was about 41%. 

Kastle has been studying keycard, fob and KastlePresence app access data from the 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses it secures in 47 states. The company analyzes anonymized data to identify trends in how Americans are returning to the office.

Austin currently has the highest occupancy in the country, Kastle reported. The city’s office population rose 4.2% in the first week of February, bringing its occupancy rate up to 47.7%.

The legal industry continues to see above-average occupancy, Kastle’s data show. In the cities monitored by Kastle, legal office occupancy increased 2.9% in  the past week, reaching 54.8%.

Kastle also examines occupancy other activities, and found Americans are returning to air travel and restaurants, among other areas. Attendance at NBA games, for example, is almost what it was in February 2020. TSA checkpoints and data from OpenTable show flying and reservation rates are 79.9% and 73.5%, respectively, of what they were in February 2020. Office attendance lags way behind these indicators.

“We’re confident occupancy rates will continue to rise in the months to come, and we’re ready to help the transition happen,” a Kastle Systems spokesperson said.


New York South Skyline Pixabay 4725115 1920

54% of Manhattan office workers remain fully remote, only 13% expected back for 5-day week by end of January: survey

Nov. 11, 2021
The New York Metro area is the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass, at 4,669 square miles ,and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world....
[Photo: Jason Goh/Pixabay
Skyscraper Jason Goh 3184798 1920

Kastle Systems introduces vaccination authentication for building access

March 26, 2021
Vaccination status and testing results layer on top of existing access control technology