Return to the office has accelerated by 120% since the beginning of September, says smart buildings data

The return to school for millions of children in England and Wales has coincided with an acceleration in workers returning to the office, according to a new release of data by Metrikus, the smart buildings platform that gives landlords and employers real-time insight from data on their buildings.

While the first week of September failed to deliver a hoped-for surge in workers returning to the office, Metrikus’ data shows a marked transition from slow, linear growth, with more staff returning to workplaces in major town and city centres.

At the end of August, occupation of the offices within Metrikus’ sample was at 15% of the pre-lockdown peak. Since the beginning of September, however the rate of growth has risen considerably, with growth of 120%, taking occupancy to 33% of pre-lockdown levels.

Metrikus’ data are linked to time, revealing that that office workers are arriving to work later to avoid the rush-hour peak and eating lunch in the office more frequently. They also show that meeting room occupation has risen, demonstrating that workers value the opportunities for collaborative working provided by the office and are focusing the time they do spend in offices on in-person meetings with colleagues.

Michael Grant, Chief Operations Officer at Metrikus, commented:

“The information we’re getting back from our sensors provides a huge amount of insight to employers keen to support their staff back into a pattern of work that delivers the best outcomes for productivity. Whether that’s a full-time return to the office or a mix with some homeworking, knowledge is power, and our technology is able to place minute-by-minute data in the hands of companies to help them understand how they are using their buildings. Crucially it can also indicate where companies can make changes to save money by making offices healthier, more efficient and productive places for employees.”

Metrikus has sensors and software installed on behalf of a variety of owners and occupiers in large office buildings in major cities around the UK. The data for this study was collected from two sources: people counting sensors in the entrance lobbies of office buildings that give a baseline for the number of people in the building, and motion sensors within offices that give an indication activity by showing which spaces are used, for how long, and at what times of day. The sensors are not able to discern between individuals, preventing the tracking of employees. Metrikus saw daily entries across the buildings it monitors reach an aggregated peak of more than 41,000 in the months before the lockdown.

Metrikus customers have access to rich data visualisations that place a huge amount of built environment information on an easy to understand dashboard. The smart buildings platform uses secure software and sensors that building owners and occupiers can use to gain up-to-the minute information on everything from energy usage and air quality to fault prediction and detection on vital equipment. Metrikus is built on secure open standards that allow it to gather data from any sensor, meaning that if a quantity can be measured, it can be incorporated into a building’s personalised dashboard.