(WOLF STREET) – The second wave of the Pandemic is scrambling whatever efforts had been under way to bring workers back to the office. Companies are back-tracking, and cities are once again trying to keep office workers – those that were still or again going to the office – from going to the office.
Office occupancy fell broadly in the week through November 25, compared to the prior week, but the steepest deterioration was in the metros of Dallas, Houston, and Austin, where office occupancy had previously recovered the most. In the 10 largest metros, office occupancy plunged by 8.1 percentage points from the prior week, to just 17.6% of pre-Pandemic occupancy levels, the lowest since May 6, according to Kastle Systems, whose electronic access systems are installed in thousands of office buildings around the country.
These data are not primarily a measure of employment – though it also captures layoffs – but a measure of the impact of work-from-home on office occupancy. For example, instead of 1,000 people working in a particular office building as they did before the Pandemic, fewer than 200 people might be working in that building now, with the remainder working remotely and a few having gotten laid off.
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