39% of metro D.C. workers are back in the office
Average in 10 cities is 43%, up 15 points since January
During the week of April 6, offices around the country had the highest number of workers back at their desks since March 2020, according to Falls Church-based Kastle Systems, which is tracking office occupancy data for 10 major cities, including the metro Washington, D.C., region.
During the first week in April, an average of 43.1% of the workforce returned to the office in the 10 major cities monitored by Kastle. It’s a rise of 1.1 percentage points over the previous week and up 15 points since the beginning of the year. Kastle estimates 70% of the nation’s lawyers are back at the office, a new record since the start of the pandemic.
“We hit a new post-pandemic high this week across the nation,” Kastle Chairman Mark Ein said in an interview with Virginia Business. “It’s been steadily rising and that’s consistent with our conversations with business leaders who are asking their teams to get back in the office if not all the time, at least part of the time, and so we think that this is just going to continue to rise.”
Kastle Systems, a tech company providing monitored security systems and managed access control for office buildings, tracks data for 2,600 buildings and more than 41,000 businesses across 47 states. Each week, it releases occupancy data for 10 markets nationwide.
The office occupancy rate for the Washington metro region was 38.9% for the first week in April, a rise of about half a percentage point from the week before, and a rise of about 13 points compared to the end of January.
Ein said the office occupancy rate in the D.C. region is indicative of where the rest of the country is, but there’s still a long way to go.
The number of workers back in their offices in the Washington region is just below the average of the 10 cities Kastle tracks, which includes the metro regions of Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Jose, California. Of those, Austin has the highest office occupancy rate at 63%, and San Jose, California, the lowest at 33%, according to Kastle’s data.
“You’ve had two years of people developing new rhythms and habits about how they work, and it’s going to be hard to break that inertia,” Ein said. “People have built their lives around pandemic work habits, and now people need to readjust and get back to schedules that include being in the office.”