As the pandemic winds down, life in some respects is almost back to normal—here is one exception—office space.

According to building security provider Kastle, which monitors the use of security and ID cards in office buildings, the “Kastle Barometer” of average weekly occupancy for offices is still just 40% of pre-pandemic levels. 

In contrast, the NBA is reporting attendance just 6% down from 2019 levels, and the TSA is reporting air traffic down 11%.  Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Resources, attributes the stagnation to multiple factors.

Not only did the pandemic show businesses that, in many cases, its office functions could be performed online, but the current labor market has given employees a strong upper hand in the job market.  “Many businesses want their workers back in the office but know that pushing the issue risks increasing labor force turnover. Many workers want – and can demand – flexible work schedules where they continue to work from home some or all of the time,” he said.

(Chart by Katle Systems)

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