Welcome back to another edition of Robin's Hybrid Workplace Report where we'll be diving into the trends from Q3 2022. Just a friendly reminder, if you're looking for real-time data, you can find that in our Hybrid Workplace Index, available 24x7x365.
Q3 Hybrid Workplace Trends
Hybrid workers are finding their stride this quarter as organizations attempt to right-size office footprints in preparation for potential economic uncertainty. With compelling year-over-year trends taking shape, companies are moving beyond basic hybrid workplace rollouts and assessing how they can better shape their strategies to match employee needs.
The trends we see in the data suggest that hybrid work is becoming a routine for employees, with more predictable office utilization rates than the early days of return-to-office. Here are the highlights:
- Of the companies that reduced office space, the most significant change came from companies with 50-499 employees, dropping a whopping 27% of their office footprint over the quarter.
- Even with reductions in space, on average, 10% more employees are coming into the office compared to the previous quarter.
- September marked a bump for workers back in the office. Global office utilization peaked in mid-September at 29.6%. That compares to 24% over the summer.
- Europeans are using the office more than most, with a 30% peak in utilization in Q3. They are also in the office slightly more often than their US counterparts, averaging 5.5 days a month in the office compared to 4.9 days.
- Looking toward the future, expect office utilization to dip to peak values of 27-28% in October before rebounding to 31-32% in November ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
- In late November and December, office usage will dip due to holidays and vacations, reaching near 0 values around Christmas and New Year's. Then in Q1 of 2023, projections suggest office usage will peak at 33%.
Hybrid Workers Find Their Stride
While the debate for in-office mandates, remote employees, and hybrid blends continue to dominate headlines in the media, global workers are quietly settling into hybrid work and developing compelling routines.
In September, US companies saw an 8% bump in the number of workers in the office, along with an average office capacity of 25%. Similarly, in Europe, 13% more workers were in the office in September compared to August.
If trends continue, office utilization will increase with seasonal dips during winter holidays, in early summer, and again in late summer to support vacation time and major holidays. Late winter, early spring, and fall will remain the highest office usage periods when kids are in school, and parents are in the office. No major surprises here.
Yet, in an interesting development, nearly one-third of global organizations reported changing workplace policies for the summer, according to a recent Robin user poll. This begs the question – will workplaces start to change policies and benefits by the season?
Preparing for Hybrid Work 2.0
The slower office seasons associated with the holidays provide a good opportunity for leaders to review their workplace strategies and determine what changes need to be made. It’s clear now that hybrid work is more than a static-one-time change to where we work. The next evolution of hybrid work is dynamic, prioritizing employee needs and workforce objectives over locations.
In partnership with Wainhouse, Robin interviewed 200 business leaders about their workplace plans. The data revealed several best practices for improving the next generation of hybrid work:
- Accept that experiences matter: Focus on using the office as a tool that pushes collaboration, socialization and connections. Consider changing spaces to suit activity-based layouts.
- Never stop learning: Take an agile approach to hybrid work. Different workers have different needs for how, when and where they work. As you receive feedback, don’t be afraid to add new features that support better experiences.
- Prioritize data-driven insights: When leaders have accurate, real-time information at their fingertips, they can make better, more informed decisions about the future of work. It’s that simple.
- Unify hybrid tools into one platform: The key to successful hybrid strategies is connection, and that goes for your tools too. Fusing management, communication and other investments together creates a one-stop shop for hybrid work success.
Need Help Charting the Future of Work?
It bears repeating: the global economy was thrust into an environment where working remotely was mandatory for most. As office openings are now the norm, hybrid work is starting to find its stride. While flexibility is crucial, the in-office experience is an important part of any good employee experience.
The data shows that companies that prioritize connection, consider in-person experiences and make data-driven decisions are the same companies seeing better business outcomes, more engaged employees and vibrant workplace communities.
Do you have the tools to ensure a successful transition to flexible work? Schedule a free Robin demo today to find out.