Americans are finally returning to the office. For the millions of workers enjoying the remote life, it’s probably an unwelcome surprise. For office space investors, though? It’s anything but.
The pandemic hit office investors hard. Most companies switched to work-from-home arrangements, and some major employers (hello, Facebook) even vowed to stay that way for the long haul. To make matters worse, 20% of companies said they planned to reduce their office space -- and that was just back in April.
Fortunately, it seems the tables may be turning. According to a new report from workplace management platform Robin, workers are finally heading back to the office -- especially in certain industries.
Are you invested in office space? Want to know what recent data spells for your portfolio? Let’s dive in.
What industries are returning to work?
All in all, Robin shows that the percentage of employees returning to the office rose 50% in the U.S. in June. The country jumped 16 spots for the month from May and is now tied with India for the most returns-to-office worldwide.
“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,” Robin’s report read. “As the number of vaccinations around the world grows, we should see a more even playing field begin to emerge.”
In total, office capacity is now at 20% -- a jump of over 10% since just March. According to the report, recent data points “toward a steady climb as we near the fall, when many offices will resume in-person operations.”
Some industries are returning to the office at a much faster clip than others. In June, companies in the utility, hospitality, government, and manufacturing sectors had the most employees return to the office.
If you’re looking at which industries tend to work from the office most often, hospitality takes the cake, followed by workers in the construction industry and the government sector.
Keep in mind: This doesn’t mean these sectors are back in the office full-time -- but they are using their office spaces on a regular basis.
As Robin’s report put it: “While these gains are promising, our caveat from past months remains the same -- top industries still average less than two days a week in the office. We expect to see the data jump significantly higher as we approach the fall months.”
The bottom line
Things are definitely improving in the office sector, and when you throw in recent survey data, it points to continued improvements in occupancy levels and efforts to return to work. Nothing’s set in stone, of course, so stay tuned. Lagging vaccinations or a major COVID surge could throw things off and send workers home again.