We’re back with another installment of the Hybrid Workplace Report series. We’ve switched this up to come out every three months to offer workplace insights into more significant trends. If you’re interested in that information, we’ve captured it in our new Hybrid Workplace Index, available 24x7x365.
Hybrid Workplace Trends
Office usage is slowly climbing, primarily because employee COVID-19 fears are easing and global companies’ installation of mandated office attendance. Here are the basics:
- US employees worked from the office an average of 4.9 days per month. This number sat at 3.7 as recently as December 2021, so it’s good to see a slow and steady build, even as the Omicron variant slowed growth in this category in January.
- Both the US and Europe experienced an 18% increase in the total number of employees working from the office in Q1 ‘22 compared to the previous quarter.
- These numbers don’t tell the whole story. Despite consistent growth rates, the average daily occupancy rates for the two regions are very different. US businesses experience 25% office capacity while Europe sits at 35%, which indicates EU team members work from the office more frequently.
- Bounce rate - the percentage of people coming into the office only once during a 30-day period - dropped to 18% in Q1 ‘22, the lowest since Spring of ‘21, indicating that people come back to the office more consistently.
- Office traffic isn’t just limited to employees. The average company welcomes roughly five guests per month. The most common guest types are corporate event attendees (20%) and customers (15%).
Employees Enjoy The Office Again
While office usage is steadily making gains, we see a growing chasm between management teams and employees. Major financial firms are tracking employee badge swipes to monitor office attendance. Global tech companies aren’t too far behind as they prepare for a mass return to corporate HQ.
To some, these office mandates feel like a slap in the face. When businesses needed their people to go home and work their butts amid a pandemic, they did precisely that. Remote work’s stigma was proven false. Employees could be trusted to be productive without direct oversight from their managers and could point to historic corporate earnings and profits as proof.
That’s why Robin’s data team will be layering on employee sentiment for future installments of the Hybrid Workplace Report. We recently launched workplace experience reporting in Robin’s award-winning hybrid workplace platform, and our clients launched over 37,000 surveys directly to their users to ask employees to rate their office experience, build trust with employees and create a two-way feedback loop that will empower them to make data-driven workplace changes.
Interestingly, our data paints a much different picture of the workplace than the popular narrative portrayed in news outlets. 95% of employees that completed surveys reviewed their office experience positively.
Employees who had a positive experience during their first office visit came in 10% more often than those that had a negative experience. We will continue to monitor these numbers moving forward and highlight specific areas of the office experience that workers love and hate.
Early Hybrid Work Takeaways
We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: we’re on the cusp of an office evolution that will change the way people work forever. Every business is forced to tackle this challenge head-on and make the best decisions under challenging circumstances.
It’s under these auspices that we flag a handful of troubling trends the Robin data team is seeing emerge that workplace leaders must address quickly:
- Tech has the highest bounce rate of any sector at 25%. Other industries, hospitality and transportation, are as low as 5-6%. What’s interesting is that many large tech companies will require office attendance. Given that tech workers have been the most vocal in their fight against office mandates, workplace leaders must create an open dialogue with their people to refine their office experience based on real-world feedback. Employee surveys and workplace analytics are vital for tech companies.
- Businesses saw a slight decrease in collaboration space usage in Q1 ‘22 compared to the previous quarter. On average, companies had 428 space bookings per month in Q4 ‘21, which dropped to 421. The good news, however, is that March ‘22 peaked with an average of 588 collaboration space reservations so it looks like the metamorphosis of the office into one giant collaborative space is happening.
Workplace leaders should watch this as collaborative space bookings may become more competitive as more people work from the office. One solution is for businesses to reconfigure their offices and implement more collaborative spaces to facilitate more spontaneous interactions among co-workers.
- Roughly 20% of all desk bookings are canceled. Of these cancellations, 2 in 5 people don’t claim their desk. We don’t view this as “land grabs” amongst employees at this time. It’s indicative of a workforce that’s getting used to operating within a hybrid work environment. Businesses, particularly those using an office hoteling system, must educate their people on how to book and check into spaces to reduce office experience friction.
If the problem persists, there are some methods our clients are successfully executing to bring people into the office. Corporate events, including happy hours and manager-led brainstorms, provide a clear reason for employees to return. However, if an organization is looking to organically build their office capacity, providing transparency into who is working from the office and when can be helpful.
For instance, employees can tag their “favorite” co-workers using Robin’s hybrid workplace platform and receive notifications when those people make a desk reservation. We found that employees who use the favorites feature book nearly 60% more often than users who don’t. The reasoning is simple: people like to work from the office when their favorite co-workers or most common collaborators are also present.
Do you have the tools to ensure a successful transition to flexible work? Schedule a free Robin demo today to find out.