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65% Of Companies Now Requiring Some Office Attendance, CBRE Survey Finds

A graph from CBRE's report shows the expectations for office attendance from survey respondents.

Although hybrid work schedules seem to be here to stay, more companies are requiring office attendance for workers. 

Of the 207 corporate real estate executives who participated in CBRE's Spring 2023 U.S. Office Occupiers Sentiment Survey, 65% said their companies now require employees to return to the office at least some of the time.

That is a sharp increase from last year when 31% of respondents to CBRE's survey said their companies required in-office work. 

Financial services are leading the way with 71% of companies implementing a return-to-office requirement. Tech companies are lagging behind with 56% of companies requiring employees' return to the office.

Office sentiment remains divided: 45% of respondents want mostly in-person work, up from 37% in 2022, while 22% want a mostly remote work schedule, up from 15% last year.

"We believe we have not reached a new normal, and we think that organizations are taking more actions to train new norms and behaviors," Julie Whelan, head of global occupier thought leadership for CBRE, said on a webinar this week. 

Although office utilization is still relatively low, Whelan said she expects it to keep rising, and she isn't alone. Almost 40% of respondents expect office attendance to increase. Larger companies are still behind, with 94% of respondents from these firms reporting office utilization of less than 60%.

Over half of the respondents from these big companies also said they expect to further decrease their office footprints as leases expire and they begin negotiations in an effort to save money.

There has been a string of big companies bringing workers back into the office this spring. 

Earlier this week, AT&T announced that it would be mandating the return of 60,000 managers to the office, and asset manager BlackRock called workers back to offices four days a week. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley have pushed similar policies.