4 Early Lessons from the Hybrid Workplace

Eric Lani
Eric Lani
Published on 
3.31.2022

Spring is in the air, which means daylight savings time has ended, March Madness upsets are destroying brackets, and the weather is getting warmer at Robin’s HQ in Boston. It also means it’s time to look back at the winter and see what we’ve learned about hybrid work. 

We’ve poured through millions of employee-made desk and space reservations from February 2022 and have some exciting insights to share into the current state of the hybrid workplace. 

#1: Office Capacity Follows COVID-19 Trends

Comparing our office capacity data to covid rate data from the New York Times shows a clear correlation between COVID-19 rates and office attendance. The Omicron variant surge caused office reservations to plummet at the beginning of January, with the US, Australia and EMEA regions reaching less than 5% office capacity. We started to see those numbers climb in February as the average US office capacity increased to just under 15% and EMEA hit 20%. 

It’s important to note that people are working from the office more. The average employee came into the office 4.4 days in February, up from 4.1 days in January. Not bad for the shortest month of the year. This data marks two consecutive months of growth in average office days for employees, a positive sign for businesses eager to optimize their office space. 

One of the bigger surprises of our most recent data is that the tech industry’s momentum in office work has stalled. While tech companies did see a ~10% increase in desk bookings in February, they lag significantly behind media, telecom and professional services organizations. 

This trend is mainly because many tech workers use the office sparingly, roughly twice every three weeks. Quite simply, remote work is more efficient for tech workers, so they’re staying home. Businesses must begin to communicate the value of their office experience better if they want their team to go through the time and costs (i.e., gas and childcare) associated with commuting. 

#2: Employee Bounce Rate: Red Flag or New Normal?

The employee bounce rate is still relatively high for most businesses. Nearly 1 in 5 employees (18%) only use the office once per month. Robin’s data team will monitor the stat closely over the next few months. 

Initially, it was a good indicator of how comfortable people felt working from the office. As the COVID-19 danger dissipates, however, we might be seeing the beginning of a new workflow for employees that is less reliant on face time 

#3: Communications Linked to Office Capacity Growth

Robin’s workplace management platform is loaded with tools that help workplace leaders implement and manage a hybrid work environment. We’ve found a direct correlation between companies sending frequent communications through our platform and higher office usage rates.

In February, organizations using Robin’s announcements feature had a 20% higher growth rate for desk booking. Employees are reluctant to work from the office without a compelling reason to do so. 

Google employees are the most recent workforce to revolt against company-mandated office workdays. Transparency and clear communications are critical at this juncture.

#4: Stickers Increase check-in rates for users

Robin’s interactive “snap or tap” stickers empower employees to check into their workspace with their mobile devices. We’re finding that people like to interact with them when they’re in the office, help office admins better understand their office usage rates, and improve workplace analytics. Desks with Robin stickers see a 20%+ increase in check-in rates compared to those without. 

We’ll continue to dig through our vastly growing proprietary dataset to unearth more insights. We’re here to help workplace leaders implement and manage hybrid work within their organizations. Have a question or specific area you’d like us to explore next? Reach out and let us know.