More than one-third of desks in offices around the globe are unoccupied all week, according to a new report, raising questions about how well workplaces are currently designed as companies struggle to get employees back into them.
The report, from Australian workplace sensor provider XY Sense, found that 36% of so-called workpoints — cubicles and desks — are never occupied, "indicating a general oversupply.” Of those that are used, 29% were for three hours or less on a given day. Just 14% were occupied for five or more hours, according to the study that tracked 24,855 unique work areas in nine regions including the U.S., U.K., Hong Kong and Singapore. Among the spaces used the most are meeting rooms for two or three people, which are 90% full on average. Overall, office utilization is stuck at about 50% of pre-pandemic levels.
The findings illustrate the challenges faced by organizations as they assess office-space needs. Workers and managers both say they should be on site at least one-third of the time, according to research from Boston Consulting Group, but much of that in-person time is no longer spent tethered to a desk.