Report shows under 50% of DC-area office workers on-site compared to pre-pandemic levels

Despite back-to-the-office requirements and mandates, the share of office workers on-site in the D.C. area remains among the lowest among the 10 largest metros. Additionally, since 2020, the weekly average has rarely topped 50% of pre-pandemic occupancy, according to building security firm Kastle Systems’ weekly reports.

Kastle began tracking worker occupancy at the beginning of the pandemic by measuring entry access with employee ID cards and fobs in hundreds of D.C.-area buildings and thousands of individual offices.

During the week of March 20, the Kastle Back to Work Barometer pegged on-site workers in the D.C. area at 49.5% relative to pre-pandemic occupancy, slightly lower than the 49.8% measured the previous week.

There was no holiday that may have affected on-site attendance that week, but the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments started at the same time, which caused some employees to skip work. Families may have also taken time off for spring break.

In the D.C. area, on-site office worker attendance is the lowest on Fridays, at 32.1% during the week of March 20. It is highest on Tuesdays, at 58.9%.

The share of on-site workers is highest in the Austin-metro area and the lowest in San Jose. During the first two years of the pandemic, office worker occupancy tended to be lowest in metros more dependent on public transportation, though that factor is no longer as significant.

These are all weekly averages, not daily averages, and the weekly numbers are likely also affected by hybrid-schedules that have some workers in the office only part time.

Below are occupancies in the 10 metros tracked by Kastle Systems during the week of March 20:

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE. (Courtesy Kastle Systems)

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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