XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index

Explore new global research from XY Sense that shows how hybrid workplace policies are transforming office utilization. 


How hybrid workplace policies are transforming the world's offices

Welcome to The XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index, a new quarterly report providing office utilization benchmarks and workplace occupancy trends for real estate and workplace teams. 

To create this index, our team has aggregated and analyzed anonymous space utilization data from XY Sense’s global network of enterprise workplace sensors to provide new insights into how hybrid workplace policies are revolutionizing where and how we work. 

In this report, we compare the rate at which workers are returning to offices in different geographies and explore the very real impact that hybrid (a.k.a. flexible) workplace policies are having on commercial real estate utilization, workplace design and strategy.

So, what does XY Sense data reveal about office life and commercial real estate strategy in 2023?

Download the report to find out.



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How busy are offices globally?

The global return of workers to offices is gaining pace, with office utilization currently at three-year highs.

However, even with recent gains, office utilization is currently sitting at half of pre-pandemic levels, signaling a fundamental shift in where and how the world works.

Key findings from Q1 2023:

  • Office space was utilized an average of 29% of the time across the first quarter of 2023.
  • Office utilization was 70% higher in Jan 2023 vs. Jan 2022. 
  • Even with recent gains, office utilization is currently sitting at 50% pre-pandemic levels.

Which country has the highest
office utilization?

Countries have returned to offices at different rates around the world. 

Across the 9 tracked countries in the study, UK office occupancy and utilization rates are highest, at 62%, while US rates were lowest at 21%. Rates in APAC averaged 33%.  

Key findings from Q1 2023:

  • The UK led the world in office space utilization in Q1 23 (62% average weekly space utilization.)
  • The return to office accelerated for APAC in Q1 this year and has remained relatively high since, averaging 32% compared to 14% in 2022.
  • Corporate America has the lowest office utilization of all regions, indicating ongoing ‘remote first’ work policies and employee reluctance to return to offices.

How much less are we using offices in a hybrid world?

Significant occupancy and office utilization variances across the working week demonstrate the impact of new hybrid work policies, where employees split work time between the office and home.

Globally, Tuesdays showed the highest average office utilization, at 36%, while Fridays showed just over half that rate, at 19%. In the US, Tuesday’s utilization of 27% was almost three times Friday’s 10% rate.

Key findings from Q1 2023:

  • Tuesdays are the most popular day to work from the office (everywhere in the world.)
  • Popular in-office days do vary by region. However, on a global basis, offices are 65% busier mid-week compared to Mondays and Fridays. 
  • Greater scrutiny of office operating costs and emissions is required now that office spaces are empty for the majority of the week (a new paradigm in CRE.) Up to 70% wastage for every dollar paid down in operating costs. 

What can space utilization tell us about how offices need to adapt?

The Index also shows that office design was adapting to meet the demands of new hybrid working styles, with an increase in the portion of office space dedicated to collaboration spaces and meeting rooms. 24% of total office space is now devoted to collaboration space types, up a third from pre-pandemic levels.

Even with this expansion, collaboration spaces had 64% higher utilization than individual workstations or desks across the first quarter of 2023. This clearly indicates that employees are now using much of their in-office time meeting with their coworkers.

Key findings from Q1 2023

  • Global utilization data backs the anecdotal view that the primary reason to return to offices is to collaborate with team members!
  • Company workplace designs and fitouts have evolved with almost a quarter (~24%) of available floorplan space now dedicated to Collaboration Spaces / meeting rooms – compared to 18% pre-pandemic.
  • In Q1 23, Collaboration Spaces were utilized +64% more than desks and for more time throughout the day.
  • Enclosed meeting spaces are the most in-demand workspace type in Q1 23, reflecting the desire for private/ team conversations and mixed mode attendance (virtual calls. 
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Download the Q1 2023
Workplace Utilization Index

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