WorkplaceBytes [May 2021]

Share article


Welcome to WorkplaceBytes, a monthly post for workplace & property professionals where we curate the best bits of data analysis, industry news and commentary.

May 2021

Big banks plot their return to the office

With vaccine rollouts underway and cases falling in major financial hubs, big banks around the world have announced their plans to get workers back into CBD offices.

The TL:DR?

  • Major US banks are pushing for workers to be back in the office (at least part of the time) by mid-year.

  • Europeans are taking a more flexible approach by region/country.

  • In both cases, hybrid is here to stay. In an emerging war for talent, almost every major bank has announced flexible working arrangements will continue.

  • Reductions to global office footprints will follow on all fronts. With various announcements that banks are planning to shed between 20 – 40% of their space.

We couldn’t talk about banks RTO without mentioning JP Morgan Chief Jamie Dimon’s latest gripe about working from home.

At various points during the last eighteen months, Dimon’s fretted about “alienation”, a lack of “creative combustion” and the disappearance of the “apprenticeship model”.

This week it was zoom.

“I’m about to cancel all my Zoom meetings,” Dimon said. “I’m done with it.”

We enjoyed Impec Group’s Simon Davis’ take on this one.

A take on Jamie Dimon and RTO

Almost half of workers are back at their desks…
in Australia and the UK.

The ‘office is back’ across the UK and Australia with reported occupancy levels almost back to half pre-pandemic levels.

  • UK office occupancy levels surpassed 45% in late April.

  • A similar story is playing out in major cities across Australia with Sydney reporting 59% occupancy and Melbourne 41%.

Has the post-pandemic workplace already arrived in Australia?

The Wall Street Journal seems to think so.

It’s a bit of a different story in the US…

Things are a little slower in the US. Where, as of the end of April, office occupancy in the 10 largest metros averaged only 26.5% of where it had been just before the Pandemic.

This Wolf Street article highlights the dynamics behind the ‘ugly amount’ of empty office space on the market right now and what it means for tenants and landlords alike.


We’re not JUST collaborating when we commute into the office.

Sensor data from XY Sense reveals that the average hourly workpoint utilization is rising to meet that of collaborative spaces (meeting rooms, project spaces, social zones) in open offices.

This year, we have seen consistently higher utilization of collaborative zones as people commute back to the office to spend time with team members after months apart.

But this data also dispels the myth that people are only going into the office to collaborate.

Desks are still used and needed in the hybrid workplace.

XY Sense - Utilization of Desks vs. Collaborative spaces h1 2021.png

Investments on the rise for workplace tech

Digital concierges.

  • Air purifiers.

  • VR headsets.

  • Sensors.

  • Retractable doors.

With the rise of flexible working, companies are rethinking the role of the office, its design and the accompanying technology.

Christian Beaudoin, a managing director of research at JLL, says;

“Many companies are spending an average of about $40 per square foot to upgrade the technology in their space”…

“We have several clients who are spending more than that, and others which are investing less. An aggregate number across the country is difficult to know for certain, but based on the rentable market across the U.S., it could total up to $160 billion over time.”

V2 of the Workplace Tech Ecosystem Map has landed

The landscape for property, facility and real estate tech got really big and really complicated last year.

To inform the roadmap for your workplace techstack, Impec Group have pulled together the latest workplace tech ecosystem map.

Check it out…

Tech ecosystem snapshot.png

Occupancy metrics 101 for hybrid workplaces

Trying to figure out how much space you need as you transition to a hybrid working style?

Join Data Scientist Aditya Vishwanathan (PHD) for our upcoming webinar on all things occupancy analytics and learn how you can use real time data to inform space planning in a hybrid workplace.

[May] Webinar promo (3).png

Liked this?

Find out more about
our product

Want to speak to
someone at XY Sense?

Free download

What % of office space is actually being used?

Download our new office utilization benchmarks for workplace teams and learn about trends in hybrid workplaces.