US rockets ahead in return-to-the-Office as Australia falls back

Eric Lani
Eric Lani

In June, the U.S. gained major traction in return-to-the-office (RTO) efforts, tying for first place with India for the highest number of desk bookings, while Australia and other parts of the world grappled with a wave of variants that stalled recovery

These and other trends are outlined in the latest volume of our Return-to-the-Office (RTO) Tracker Series. We analyze millions of real-life desk, conference room and office asset reservations from our global customer base to identify significant trends. Download the full infographic here.

It’s our hope this data helps inform those responsible for managing the workplace as they navigate this ever-evolving transition. 

For June 2021, our data science team identified the following notable office return trends: 

  • The percentage of employees returning to the office increased 50% in the U.S., while in ANZ the number of returning employees dipped to 16%.
  •  The U.S. reached 20% average office capacity - up more than 10% since March - pointing towards a steady climb as we near the Fall when many offices will resume in-person operations. 
  • Bounce rate in the U.S. - that’s employees going into the office once and not returning - was 16% in June, up 4% from May but still 3% lower than the global average of 19%.
  • Utilities, hospitality, government, and manufacturing are the industries that lead in office returns for June. 

In-Office Employees Left Unsatisfied 

Regardless of whether an office sees 10 or 100 employees back each day, office-goers are looking for a workplace that feels familiar and comfortable.  Yet many aren’t finding it. The Washington Post reports that many employees who return are met with a “˚strange office environment bearing little resemblance to the one they left behind.” Robin’s data showed a much higher bounce rate of 16% in June, up 4% from May. In order for a successful return to the office to happen, employers need to ensure full transparency and  regular communication of these plans with employees. 

Workplace experience will need to be top of mind for leaders. We will see more companies looking to expand their workplace tech stack to facilitate increased office engagement and more equitable experiences for hybrid workers.  

Pick a Day, Any Day, to Return to the Office 

We’ve been tracking the most popular* days to be back in the office and, for the first time, Tuesday and Wednesday have tied for the most popular day:

  • Tuesday  21.9%
  • Wednesday 21.9%
  • Thursday  21.5%
  • Monday  19.1%
  • Friday 16%

*Regardless of when your employees choose to work from the office, removing friction points so they have a productive and enjoyable visit is key. 

RTO By Industry 

While hospitality employees saw the most days in the office in June, utilities, healthcare and manufacturing saw the biggest jump in average employees returning to the office. Here’s our look at RTO by industry for June 2021: 

Industries Returning the Most Employees to the Office

  1. Utilities  
  2. Healthcare 
  3. Manufacturing 

Industries with Employees Who Work from the Office Most Frequently

  1. Hospitality (3rd in May) 
  2. Construction (1st in May) 
  3. Government (2nd in May)  

While these gains are promising, our caveat from past months remains the same – top industries still average less than 2 days a week in the office. We expect to see the data jump significantly higher as we approach the fall months.

ANZ Retreats Amid Renewed COVID-19 Outbreaks 

Up until June, Australia and New Zealand had an RTO that rivaled the U.S., tracking at least 6-8 weeks ahead of us with their progress. The impact of the Delta Variant completely derailed these advances, closing major cities as stay-at-home orders were reintroduced.  

RTO Around the World 

This month the U.S. tied with India for the highest number of bookings in June, rising 16 places since May.

  1. India (1st in May) & USA (17th in May) 
  2. Poland (5th in May) 
  3. China (6th in May) 

While it’s exciting to see new countries take the lead, it’s also important to note that these changes are likely due to restrictions put in place in the wake of the Delta Covid variant. As the number of vaccinations around the world grows, we should see a more even playing field begin to emerge.  

If you’re ready to make your RTO frictionless for employees, sign up for a demo to see how Robin can help your business get back to work.

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