More U.S. workers returned to office in January 2023

Report: More U.S. workers returned to office in January 2023
February 20, 2023
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More U.S. workers returned to the office in January 2023 than in any other month since the pandemic. That, according to the utilization rates of dozens of Density customers. 

In January, Density customers saw an average utilization rate of 24.2%*, a 3% increase from November 2022. This time last year, the average utilization was 6%.

Office utilization rates in the U.S. are on a steady rise since the pandemic

RTO by 3 U.S. regions

Return to office utilization rates broken down by U.S. regions

Since October 2020, the Midwest has consistently averaged higher utilization rates than its coastal counterparts. However, that changed in November 2022, when midwest workplaces saw an 18.8% average utilization rate compared to 24.1% (East Coast) and 25% (West Coast).

Slow and steady incline

Pre-pandemic, the average utilization for U.S. offices was around 40%. Few, if any, offices are experiencing that today. However, it is clear from our data that with each passing month, more employees are coming to the office to work. 

Average office utilization rates in the U.S. since January 2022

Several factors could impact these numbers, including:

  • More RTO policies going into place
  • A volatile macro-economic climate inspiring employees to become more “visible”
  • The sheen of remote work is fading—employees yearn to reconnect in real life with colleagues.

Beyond the count

Knowing that more people are continuing to return to the office is just one part of understanding workplace utilization. 

How people use the office is just as important a question to answer, particularly given our evolving relationship with the office. How employees used your office in 2019 may not reflect how they use it today. 

One of our customers, for example, historically designed spaces that emphasized heads-down individual work. Density insights, however, showed that post-pandemic, when employees come to the office, they prefer collaborative spaces.

Our customer used these insights to redesign their spaces based on current demand—they brought in temporary pods. 

Knowing how and where employees prefer to work has always been important. As utilization rates continue to climb, this need will become even more essential.

“Arming teams with really great, clear data fundamentally changes the outcomes of what you invest in and what you don't.” — Andrew Farah, Density CEO

*Numbers are based on the average of the “hourly average utilization” at the floor level, between 8 am and 6 pm local time, Monday through Friday.