Monthly figures show national office occupancy hit highest levels in March.

Monthly figures show national office occupancy hit highest levels in March.

March 2024 recorded the strongest month for office occupancy since May 2021, with a daily average office occupancy rate of 34.1%, according to the latest report from Remit Consulting. The previous highest monthly average of 33.8% was recorded in November (2023). Since the end of January, the UK’s weekly average occupancy rate is 33.2%.

The surge has seen national occupancy rates solidify at 34-35% over the last three weeks, with the week ending 8th March witnessing a national average 35.9% occupancy rate, equalling the highest weekly figure recorded since the start of the survey.

“The sustained increase in occupancy levels may be attributed to concerted efforts by both public and private sectors to enhance office attendance,” said Lorna Landells of Remit Consulting.

“Cities across the country have observed upticks in occupancy levels, and this increase underscores a ‘firming up’ in the commitment of businesses and their workforces to return to physical office spaces. The data points to the adaptive strategies businesses are employing to encourage and manage office attendance effectively, signalling a positive outlook for the office market,” she added.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays remain the busiest days of the week for staff to be at their desks, with Friday remaining the quietest day.

During the week ending 22nd March, London’s West End saw one of its busiest weeks on record with an average office occupancy rate of 58.3%.

There are diverse views in the property sector regarding what constitutes maximum occupancy for offices, with some industry commentators suggesting that, due to holidays, external meetings, staff sickness and other operational issues, offices were only ever 60-80% ‘full’ before the pandemic.

Previous research from the BCO suggested a figure of 60%, while other market practitioners suggest a figure of between 70% and 80% at peak times in the calendar, although this will have varied widely according to individual buildings and businesses.