UK office occupancy levels reach post-pandemic peak

UK office occupancy levels reach post-pandemic peak

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New data from Remit Consulting suggests that UK office occupancy rates have risen to their highest level since the start of the pandemic. Although still below pre-pandemic levels, the data indicates a gradual return to more office-based work patterns.

Before the pandemic, the same report indicated that the typical occupancy rate for an office tended to vary between 60 percent and 80 percent.

The most recent report, to the week ending 8 March, showed average office occupancy hit 35.9 percent. While still significantly below pre-pandemic levels, this is a marked shift as part of a long-term upward trend.

The rise in occupancy is particularly notable in regional cities across the country. The report says that this development bodes well for the office market, benefiting investors, landlords, and businesses reliant on office workers, including retailers and food and beverage operators.

Markets beyond London, such as Bristol and Cardiff, are actively seeking higher occupancy rates. Leading Scottish cities, which had lagged behind the rest of the UK, are also showing increased interest in office spaces. In addition, public sector bodies in Scotland have shifted from mandating two days a week in the office to three days.

In London, more office occupiers are returning to physical space, leading to increased trade for food and beverage establishments, which the report says encourages office occupancy levels.

Workers cite the desire to meet people face-to-face as a key reason for returning to the office. However, the commute remains a significant factor influencing their decisions.

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