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XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index

Explore the latest global office utilization benchmarks and research  from XY Sense. 

Find out how busy offices really are in the hybrid era and learn how office design needs to evolve to reduce waste and improve employee experience.

Q1 2024 DATA COMING SOON!

How hybrid workplace policies are transforming the world's offices

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

Each quarter, the XY Sense Workplace Utilization Index summarizes anonymous space utilization data from XY Sense’s vast global network of enterprise workplace sensors that capture 100 billion+ data points across 34,000+ workspaces annually. We publish this data to help workplace leaders understand global trends so they can be better informed and formulate strategies for their own companies. 

As we enter a new calendar year, we’re putting the data for Q4 and all of 2023 into context, summarizing the key findings, and providing a series of predictions on what’s ahead for workplace leaders in 2024. 

So, what’s the state of the workplace, and what’s ahead? 

Download the latest report to find out.

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EXPLORE Q4 2023 DATA

How busy are offices globally?

In Q4 2023, the average global workplace utilization was 26%, relatively unchanged compared to Q3. Utilization was highest in November and October and dropped in December because of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. 

Despite widely reported corporate crackdowns on workers who don’t come to work, global workplace utilization has been fairly stable since the second quarter, reflecting a “new workplace normal.” This utilization level is about half what it was typically pre-pandemic.  

Key findings from last quarter’s data:

  • Global workplace utilization average of 26% across 2024. 
  • Despite mandates, office utilization remains in a steady state at 50% pre-pandemic levels.

Which country has the highest
office utilization?

Utilization was highest in the UK, where offices were just over half utilized. In Asia/Pacific, utilization was at 27%. These rates are similar to those recorded in Q2 and Q3 of this year. 

US utilization continues to lag the rest of the world. US offices were just 19% utilized in Q4. Many analysts have sought to explain the reasons for this lag, with the most common causes believed to be that the US was already moving toward hybrid work before the pandemic, that Americans tend to bristle more over mandates, that US commutes tend to be the longest, and that US households are larger, affording more space for home offices. 

In specified regions, office utilization peaked in November before dropping off again in December (potentially due to holidays).

Key findings from last quarter’s data: 

  • UK offices continue to lead the world with the highest reported utilization in Q4 – averaging 53%.(Up 10% on Q3,23)
  • The APAC region came in second, at 27%.
  • US office utilization trails the other tracked regions at 19%. 

Desk utilization trends

When we picture offices, most of us imagine large numbers of occupied desks. But XY Sense data shows that most offices still have far more individual workstations than are needed to support current day-to-day attendance levels.

When we analyzed how many hours per day desks were in use, we found that 28% of decks are never used, and 51% are occupied for less than one hour per day. Just 12% are used for more than 5 hours per day. 

Key findings from last quarter:

  • Half of the desks in offices (51%) are utilized for less than one hour per day.
  • Just 12% of desks are used for more than 5 hours per day.

Desks vs. Meeting Rooms

Across all regions, utilization rates of collaboration spaces were consistently higher than that of workpoints (aka desks). 

While meeting space figures may also appear low (at 31% average utilization), that is misleading. It’s important to note that hybrid work schedules have created uneven demand for those resources throughout the week. Most companies now operate under hybrid work rules, where employees split their time between home and work.

Key findings from last quarter:

  • Desk utilization was 25%, 6 points lower than combined collaboration space utilization, which was 31%.
  • Desks were also used for fewer hours on average than meeting spaces, 2.2 versus 2.6 hours.

Popular Spaces

When we dig further into which spaces are the most popular to work from in today’s offices, we see that the demand for enclosed meeting spaces like conference rooms is highest, while utilization of open collaboration areas like breakout and project spaces is lowest.

Average hours per day of usage follow the same pattern. This is an important insight as companies work to define ways to mitigate meeting space shortages on midweek in-office days — clearly, the demand for privacy, focus, and ability to utilize videoconferencing technology in enclosed spaces is far higher than connecting with colleagues in open collaboration areas. 

Key findings from last quarter:

  • The most popular meeting spaces are enclosed meeting rooms. Both utilization rates and average hours of utilization are much higher for enclosed meeting spaces than open collaboration areas. Our data show 47% utilization for enclosed meeting rooms versus 14% for project areas and 16% breakout spaces. 
  • Enclosed spaces are preferred because of a desire for greater privacy, information security, and access to conferencing and video meeting capabilities.
  • Data show that meeting rooms often have far higher capacity than the actual number of people meeting in those spaces. This is prompting some companies to subdivide existing meeting rooms to create more available meeting spaces.

Explore the latest report!

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When it comes to our real-time accuracy, seeing is believing!

We’re proud to be the market leader when it comes to both the coverage range and real-time precision of our occupancy sensor solution. See how XY Sense can detect human occupancy in a space and position 100% anonymous ‘X and Y’ coordinates of people to within one foot of accuracy, in real-time. XY Sense also tracks entry and exit counts for spaces like meeting rooms, providing you with real-time people counting insights for each space.

All of this highly accurate real-time data feeds into our workplace insights platform, which aggregates across time and gives teams powerful insights into how much space and what types of space their employees need.

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Explore all editions of the Workplace Utilization Index

Q1' 2023

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Q2' 2023

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Q3' 2023

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Q4' 2023

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Q1 2024 Edition coming in April 2024!

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