Getting America
Back to Work

Americans have been living through a period of intense uncertainty since March 2020 — struggling with an unprecedented pandemic and the economic distress it has caused.

 

To provide some clarity on the issues facing American businesses, Kastle is tracking access activity data from KastlePresence app, keycard, and fob usage in the 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses we secure across 47 states. We’re analyzing the anonymized data to identify trends in how Americans are returning to the office.
2 year post covid barometer
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Get Weekly UpdatesYou can now track the Return to Work Barometer on the Bloomberg Terminal, available under {ALLX KASL<GO>}

Weekly Trend in Occupancy Levels

Office Occupancy Reaches Highest Point Since Pandemic Began

In line with our predictions, office occupancy has continued increasing steadily since Labor Day. Last week, occupancy rose more than four points to 47.5%, the highest level since before the pandemic, according to Kastle’s 10-city Back to Work Barometer. All cities tracked saw significant increases last week, with New York City experiencing the biggest jump, rising 8.7 percentage points to 46.6% occupancy. Despite that, Austin, Texas still surpassed New York City with office occupancy reaching 60.5%. We expect these rates to continue rising.

Law firms saw similar increases after the Labor Day holiday. The 7-city law firm average rose nearly five points to 59.8% office occupancy, just shy of its July high of 60.6% — the highest level since the pandemic began.

Workers in New York City law firms returned to work in droves after Labor Day, raising office occupancy by nine points to 51.4%. This is the highest occupancy has been in New York City law firms since before the pandemic, and only the second time they’ve surpassed 50% occupancy.

To provide some clarity on the issues facing American businesses, Kastle has been studying keycard, fob and KastlePresence app access data from the 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses we secure across 47 states. We’re analyzing the anonymized data to identify trends in how Americans are returning to the office.

12 Week Trend in Occupancy Levels

We’re confident occupancy rates will continue to rise in the months to come, and we’re ready to help the transition happen. For American workers to return safely back into office buildings, there must be a comprehensive system in place that integrates technology and new safety protocols – both for the building and for tenant spaces. We’re keeping a close eye on this data as part of our KastleSafeSpaces framework, which we designed to help office buildings safely reopen.

METHODOLOGY

Kastle’s reach of buildings, businesses and cardholders secured generates millions of access events daily as users enter office complexes, and individual company workspaces. Charted percentages reflect unique authorized user entries in each market relative to a pre-COVID baseline, averaged weekly*.

*On March 22, 2021, Kastle moved from daily to weekly data reporting to provide a more robust and comprehensive picture of office occupancy. We have also recalculated data back to the start of the time series for consistency. This has only a marginal impact on most cities and the national average.

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