Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In Office Index: Looking Back at 2023

Lila Margalit
February 6, 2024 Office Index: Looking Back at 2023

The Nationwide Office Building Index: The office building index analyzes foot traffic data from some 1,000 office buildings across the country. It only includes commercial office buildings, and commercial office buildings with retail offerings on the first floor (like an office building that might include a national coffee chain on the ground floor). It does NOT include mixed-use buildings that are both residential and commercial.

Remote work may not be bad for companies’ bottom lines – but it does appear to have drawbacks for employees. Fully remote workers were 35% more likely to be laid off in 2023 than those who came into the office at least part of the week. And full-time WFH personnel also got fewer promotions

Still, reaping the benefits of in-person office work doesn’t require a full-time return to office. (Five days a week? Seriously?) And for many participants in the remote work wars, 2023 was a year for compromise. But what did the hybrid model look like in 2023? And who were last year’s office visitors?

We dove into the data to find out. 

A Hybrid Sweet Spot? 

Analyzing office visit trends over the past several years suggests that some variation of the hybrid model is indeed here to stay – though the jury’s still out on whether we’ve found the sweet spot. Since Q2 2023, quarterly visits to office buildings have remained about 34.0%-38.0% below pre-COVID levels. But Q4 2023 office foot traffic was 12.9% higher than the equivalent period of 2022, suggesting that additional office recovery may still be in the cards. 

Regionally speaking, Miami and New York closed out 2023 at the head of the pack, with visits about 20% below the pre-pandemic baseline. Dallas and Chicago finished the year with respective quarterly visit gaps of 31.8% and 43.0%. And San Francisco continued to bring up the rear, with office foot traffic 53.8% below pre-COVID levels.

These general trends continued into January 2024. Nationwide, office buildings experienced a 42.1% year-over-four-year (Yo4Y) visit gap, potentially indicating stalling recovery. But at the same time, major markets across the country – most impressively San Francisco – saw sustained YoY visit growth, showing that the return to office (RTO) story is still being written.

Who Goes There?: 2023’s Office Visitors in Three Data Points

Whether office recovery has run its course, or whether 2024 promises a renewed upward trajectory – a more granular picture of the specific habits and characteristics of office-goers can help stakeholders adapt to evolving trends. 

Rebounding Affluence

And while foot traffic remains substantially below 2019 levels, the affluence of office buildings’ visitor base has very nearly rebounded to what it was before COVID. In Q1 2019, the median household income (HHI) of the Nationwide Office Index’s captured market stood at $91.9K, a metric which plummeted in early 2020 as more affluent employees rode out lockdowns from home. But since then, the median HHI has slowly risen – reaching $90.1K - $91.6K in 2023. 

Unsurprisingly, remote and hybrid work opportunities aren’t distributed equally – and wealthier, more-educated workers are better positioned than others to take advantage of them. But visitors to major office buildings tend to have significantly higher-than-average HHIs to begin with (STI’s PopStats puts the nationwide baseline at $69.5K). So even if the median HHI of office visitors is once again close to what it was before COVID, it is these relatively affluent employees that are coming in less frequently and helping to shape the new hybrid normal. 

Fewer Families With Children

At the same time, there has been a subtle but distinct decline in the share of parental households in offices’ captured markets – indicating that parents of children accounted for a smaller proportion of office visits in 2023 than in 2019. This change varied by region, with Chicago seeing the smallest shift and tech-heavy San Francisco seeing the largest one. 

For many working parents, flexibility is the name of the game – and employees juggling parental responsibilities along with their work loads may be particularly eager to embrace working from home. 

Thank Goodness it’s Fri-yay!

Another data point that’s particularly important for stakeholders to understand is the daily breakdown of office visits throughout the week. And foot traffic data for 2023 shows that the TGIF work week that we first observed in 2022 remains more firmly entrenched than ever. People continue to concentrate office visits mid-week and log on from home on Mondays and especially Fridays – an effect that is most pronounced in San Francisco, and least pronounced in Miami. And for municipalities, CRE companies, and local businesses that rely on office foot traffic, recognizing the persistence of this pattern can be key to making the most of those days when offices are abuzz with activity. 

Key Takeaways

The new hybrid model remains a work in progress – and it’s too soon to tell whether offices will indeed see further attendance increases in 2024. But either way, the behaviors and attributes of office-goers will continue to evolve, presenting stakeholders with opportunities and challenges alike. 

What does 2024 have in store for RTO? And how will the profile of visitors to America’s offices change in the new year?

Follow to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Return To Work
Text Link
Office Buildings
Text Link
Office Building Index
Limited Time Offers: Price Wars Boost Visits
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: June 2024 Recap Mall Index: June 2024 Recap Office Index: June 2024 Recap
Inside Out 2: The New Blockbuster Bringing Crowds Back to Theaters
Petco and PetSmart: A Head to Head
Frozen Delights: Exploring Ice Cream Chains Across America White Paper Recap – June 2024
Barnes & Noble: Writing a New Story
Small Format Stores - Sprouting, Blooming, and Expanding
Retail and Dining on Father’s Day
Thrift Store Visit Scores
Charting Value Grocery’s Visit Growth
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: Introduction and May 2024 Recap
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024 Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap