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Return To Office Plateaus At About 50% Even As Employers Crack Down


U.S. office workers are back at their offices roughly 50% of the time, according to data by Kastle, and that has been the case since the beginning of 2023, suggesting an emerging plateau for office occupancy.

Kastle's Back to Work Barometer came in at a national average of 49.8% for June 21, up slightly from the week before, but down slightly from the week before that. Kastle calculates office usage in 10 major metros nationwide.

After the seasonal drop in usage in late 2022, the national average has hewed fairly close to 50%, which is more than last year, when it slowly rose from about 40% to 50% over the course of the year. Houston and Austin have long been at the top of occupancies, while San Francisco and San Jose have been at the bottom.

The plateau in office usage comes despite years of effort among employers to encourage, or force, workers to be at their offices more. Early last fall, for example, companies made it clear they wanted workers to return after Labor Day. But Kastle data from early September shows a modest uptick in office usage at that time.

Employers are reportedly still cracking down on workers they don't believe are coming into the office enough, however. Citigroup, for example, has started telling managers to let staff know they will “face consequences” for not adhering to bank policy on hybrid schedules, which is generally three days at the office, Bloomberg reports.

Google warned that attendance will be included as part of its employees performance reviews in an effort to force them to return to the office. Meta, Apple and Amazon have likewise reportedly upped their game in forcing workers back, in the name of in-person collaboration and the purported productivity benefits of the office.

Related Topics: Google, Return to office, Kastle