Approximately 40% of all global office workers have returned to the office as of September, according to Cushman & Wakefield‘s latest report.
The research predicts the majority of office workers will return in early 2022.
The new report, “Predicting the Return to the Office,” conducted by Cushman & Wakefield’s global research team analyzes office return data from across the globe, as well as the trajectory of the virus and vaccination rates to predict when a large-scale return to office may occur.
The latest research finds that return to the office is directly correlated with high vaccination rates and low infection rates. Researchers also examined additional data, including government restrictions, school openings and public opinion regarding mass transit to project realistic return dates for industries operating in the Americas (U.S. and Canada), APAC (Asia-Pacific), and EMEA (Europe) regions.
“It’s important to remember that pre-pandemic, office buildings were never 100% occupied on any given day; 60% was generally the norm,” said Kevin Thorpe, Chief Economist at Cushman & Wakefield. “Today, we are at 40% globally, but of course that varies greatly from city to city. In this study, we attempt to connect all the dots, all the factors that would lead to a stronger return to the office. Assuming no virus setbacks at this point, we see office buildings and cities reenergizing in early 2022.”
China is leading the return with over 90% back. All other regions of the world examined in this study fall in a range between 27% and 40% of employees in the office on any given day.
”In our study, if our assumptions hold true, we conclude that most office workers globally will be able to return to the office in the first quarter of 2022. Regionally, the return will be led by Greater China, followed by Europe, then the U.S., Canada and finally the Asia Pacific region. Again, timing will vary within countries,” said in the report.
Most businesses are hoping to get back as soon as possible,” said David Smith, Global Head of Occupier Insights and co-author of the study. “This isn’t a conversation about never going back, it’s a conversation about when can we safely get back to the office because almost all employees and employers have indicated they want to go back – more flexibility, yes, but they want to go back. And based on surging tour activity, we know demand is there – so it’s not a matter of if office buildings will re-populate, but when. The leading data is pointing to Q1 2022.”