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Office Trends Report: H1 2023

Robin Office Trends Report H1 2023
Mark Pessinis
Published on

As we settle into hybrid work as a model, we are beginning to see patterns emerge. Primarily, the idea that flexible work is taking on a bit more structure. While that may sound like an oxymoron, employees have been looking for a more defined approach to hybrid work. 

In fact, according to Gallup, six in 10 employees want more structure around their company’s hybrid plans. Yet, research by Mercer found that only a third of organizations have formal rules in place for managing hybrid work. 

We gathered data from our customer pool to help get a better idea of what kind of activity workplaces are seeing and how they are managing this need for more structure. We found that: 

  • Between January 2023 and June we saw a 20% increase in total desk bookings.
  • In Q2 of 2023, 31% of employees came into the office the same days of the week every week.
  • The average employee booked 2.6 unique days of the week in May and June, indicating an upward trend. 
  • There’s been a 147% increase in guest visits since January.

Let’s dig in.

More Desks Booked, More Meetings Scheduled 

One surefire sign that offices are beginning to see more foot traffic is the uptick in desk and room bookings. Between January 2023 and June we saw a 20% increase in total desk bookings. Both March and May saw an increase of 20% or more over the previous month, while June saw a slight decrease of 4% likely due to the start of summer vacations.

Percent hange in desk bookings by month chart - H1 2023

Interestingly, the US has seen the largest increase in desk bookings in 2023 so far with an upward trend of 23% - all other countries have seen a 17% increase. Unsurprisingly with the increase of desk bookings, we have also seen an increase in meeting room bookings with a 25% increase in the US and a 30% increase elsewhere.

Hybrid Work Schedules Find Their Footing

The uptick in desk and room bookings makes a lot of sense when you consider the trend towards more structured hybrid work. If 2022 was the year of ad-hoc hybrid then 2023 is definitely the year of structure. In fact, our data shows that schedules are becoming more consistent for hybrid employees across the board.

Schedule consistency pie chart - H1 2023

In Q2 of 2023, 31% of employees came into the office the same days of the week every week, and 32% came in with a semi-consistent schedule (2-3 different schedules over a quarter). For comparison, in Q1 of 2023 23% users had a consistent schedule, 21% had a semi consistent schedule.

The average employee booked 2.5 unique days of the week in the office during April and 2.6 unique days of the week in May and June, indicating an upward trend. 

Of organizations that have enabled a formal hybrid work policy using Robin, 91% of them have a 2 or 3 day frequency.

Average unique weekdays chart - H1 2023

This reflects a lot of what we’ve been seeing in the news as of late. As more and more companies start putting policies around in-office work in place, office activity is on the rise. We predict we will only see these numbers grow as more teams find the right cadence of in-office and remote work.

What are the Most Popular In-Office Days?

What days do offices tend to see the most foot traffic? In 2022, Thursday was the breakout winner, closely followed by Wednesday. But in 2023, we’ve seen Tuesday move into the top spot with 25% of weekly bookings falling on this day.  Wednesday remains the second most popular day of the week which is now closely followed by Thursday.  This preference is reflected in space and desk bookings as well. 

Most popular office days of the week chart - H1 2023

As teams embrace a more regular cadence of in-office work, it seems that they are opting for the middle of the week as their dedicated collaboration days. One thing for sure: Mondays and Fridays are not popular. In fact, according to one of New York’s most prominent landlords, Friday office work might just be dead forever. 

More In-Person Time Means More Office Visitors 

This increase in in-person time also seems to be driving more office visitors. We’ve seen a 147% increase in guest visits since January. The most popular day for guest visits lines up closely with the most popular day of the week for desk bookings with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday being the most popular and each having >20% share.

Percent change in guest office visits - H1 2023

Looking at the different types of guest visits we can see that customer visits have held the highest percentage of visits through 2023 up until June where maintenance visits took over. 

Office guest visits by month - H1 2023

For many people, this increase in client visits in particular is a welcome shift. In-person client meetings give both parties a chance to better build relationships. In fact, MIT research shows that face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email, and that a physical handshake promotes cooperation and influences negotiation outcomes for the better.

Office Trends by Industry and Location

So what did all of these trends look like for different industries and cities?

Desk Bookings

Looking at which industries saw the largest increase in desk bookings since January, Real Estate saw the biggest jump with a 102% increase. Education (50%) and Financial Services (37%) held the second and third highest spots respectively.

Percent increase in desk bookings by industry - H1 2023

Of the major US cities, Sacramento saw the biggest increase in desk bookings since January at 31% followed by Washington (29%) and Los Angeles (27%).

In-Office Cadence

With most employees coming in at a regular pace of 2.1 days per week over the past two months, we can see that Real Estate and Education consistently fall short of that average. On the other hand, Professional Services and Healthcare either match up with or surpass the average.

Average office das per user, by city - H1 2023

For cities, when looking at average days in office per user by month, Boston and Sacramento hold the top spot with an average of 7.3 office days in June. Just behind that is New York with an average of 6.3 days per month. 

Preferred Day of the Week

The most popular day of the week across industries are Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays are the favorite for Professional Services, R/M&T/H, and Financial Services, with all other industries either favoring Wednesday or are tied with Tuesday.

Most popular office days of the week by industry - H1 2023

As for preferred days of week by city, the general narrative remains consistent. Los Angeles, New York, and Washington have the largest percent of their respective bookings on Tuesday while Boston and San Francisco favor Wednesdays.  

What’s Next for the Office? 

Companies are increasingly putting more structure in place and employees are following suit with more office visits, more desk bookings and more room reservations. 

We’ll keep you posted on what the data shows us. In the meantime, we know one thing’s for sure: The office is here to stay and so is hybrid work. 

Interested in learning more about workplace trends and how you can better manage your office space? Let’s chat.

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