MEDIA RELEASE
BIG JUMP IN WORKERS HEADING BACK TO THE OFFICE IN MAY

[2 June 2022]

There was a consistent and sizeable lift in the number of workers heading to CBD offices across the country in May, according to the latest Office Occupancy survey by the Property Council of Australia.

The Property Council of Australia's latest Office Occupancy survey found Adelaide’s occupancy increased from 59 to 71 per cent in May, Canberra jumped from 39 per cent to 60 per cent and Perth and Brisbane both jumped 13 per cent to 63 and 64 per cent respectively.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said pleasingly, Sydney and Melbourne’s occupancy levels also leapt, lifting 13 and 12 per cent respectively to 48 per cent for Melbourne and 55 per cent in Sydney.

“What we’ve seen this month is a consistent and sizeable lift in the numbers of people returning to the office across all CBDs,” Mr Morrison said.

“More individuals and workplaces are embracing the benefits of face to face connection and that CBDs are regaining much of their vibrancy. “This positive lift has occurred at a time when COVID and now the flu are circulating widely, forcing many people and families to stay home or isolate, on top of some extremely wet weather on the east coast.

“Despite the challenging environment, it’s very pleasing to see plenty of people returning to their workplaces, with occupancy on peak days reaching 80 per cent in Adelaide, 73 per cent in Brisbane and 66 per cent in Sydney,” he said.

Mr Morrison said he expected this trend to continue to grow, notwithstanding that flexible working would clearly be a stronger feature in the future than it was pre-pandemic. “While flexible working is here to stay, there is a value in face-to-face connection that can’t be replicated over a screen,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our latest Office Market Report shows that this jump in occupancy is matched by strong demand for office space from tenants, despite the impacts of the pandemic. “Strongly growing white collar employment also paints a positive picture for the future of our CBDs,” he said.

The latest office occupancy survey found the preference for greater flexibility including working from home was the major driver of occupancy levels, and more than 50 per cent of respondents believed it would take 3 months or more for occupancy levels to materially increase.

“Many businesses and building owners are embracing change and evolving the role of the workplace for their teams,” Mr Morrison said.

“It is clear is that CBDs will continue have a very strong role to play in a post COVID world, even as businesses and their employees evolve to new ways of working,” Mr Morrison said. The survey was conducted in the field between 23 and 30 May 2022.

Office Occupancy rates:

What is the level of occupancy in office buildings as a percentage of the pre-COVID rate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market

Melb CBD

Syd CBD

Can

Perth CBD

Bris CBD

Adel CBD

Jul-20

20%

36%

49%

67%

48%

62%

Aug-20

8%

33%

53%

61%

50%

68%

Sep-20

11%

39%

51%

70%

58%

74%

Oct-20

8%

44%

70%

85%

68%

81%

Nov-20

14%

50%

72%

85%

68%

76%

Jan-21

34%

50%

76%

74%

70%

77%

Feb-21

27%

54%

72%

72%

72%

77%

Mar-21

39%

56%

72%

79%

69%

79%

Apr-21

45%

65%

70%

78%

70%

78%

May-21

45%

68%

71%

77%

71%

78%

Jun-21

26%

67%

72%

76%

71%

80%

Jul-21

12%

7%

73%

78%

67%

15%

Aug-21

7%

4%

8%

77%

60%

65%

Sep-21

6%

4%

8%

76%

51%

64%

Oct-21

4%

8%

7%

79%

57%

64%

Nov-21

12%

23%

17%

77%

63%

73%

Jan-22

4%

7%

7%

66%

13%

11%

Feb-22

15%

18%

21%

55%

41%

47%

Mar-22

32%

41%

45%

45%

48%

61%

Apr-22

36%

42%

39%

50%

51%

59%

May-22

48%

55%

60%

63%

64%

71%


ENDS

Media contact: Rhys Prka | 0425 113 273 | [email protected]