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Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap

by 
Lila Margalit
 on 
November 13, 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap

The Placer.ai 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 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.

Depending on who you ask, remote work is either good or bad for productivity – and either a boon or a liability for employees seeking to grow their careers while maintaining a reasonable work-life balance. But though work-from-home (WFH) undoubtedly has its costs, it also offers a panoply of benefits, from less time on the road to reduced office expenses.

Against this backdrop, it may come as no surprise that workers and companies alike have continued to embrace a hybrid model that offers the best of both worlds. But what does this mean in practice? Did the accelerated office recovery seen this summer reassert itself after the September slump? Or is a more muted RTO here to stay? 

We dove into the data to find out. 

October Stays the Course?

October 2023 saw a 40.3% year-over-four-year (Yo4Y) visit gap – very similar to the 40.7% visit gap observed in September. The persistence of this trend may indicate that the summer’s slow but steady increase in office attendance has run its course. But while September 2023 had the same number of business days as September 2019, October 2023 had one fewer business day than October 2019 – which may have contributed to a decrease in visits. Either way, the office recovery isn’t a linear process, and it remains to be seen whether RTO will begin to pick up steam again – or whether monthly fluctuations merely reflect minor adjustments in an overall pattern that’s here to stay.

New York Continues to Lead Business Hubs

The contours of the hybrid workweek also appear to be solidifying – with remote-capable employees concentrating visits in the middle of week, and working from home on Mondays and Fridays. In Q3 2019, weekday office visits nationwide were pretty evenly distributed throughout the workweek, with a slight dip on Fridays. But in Q3 2023, Wednesday drew the highest share of weekday visits, while the  Monday and Friday visit shares dropped to 17.2% and 16.9%, respectively.

The TGIF Workweek is Also Here to Stay

The contours of the hybrid workweek also appear to be solidifying – with remote-capable employees concentrating visits in the middle of week, and working from home on Mondays and Fridays. In Q3 2019, weekday office visits nationwide were pretty evenly distributed throughout the workweek, with a slight dip on Fridays. But in Q3 2023, Wednesday drew the highest share of weekday visits, while the  Monday and Friday visit shares dropped to 17.2% and 16.9%, respectively.

The Tuesday through Thursday in-office workweek remains prevalent in different regions of the country, albeit to varying degrees. Perhaps unsurprisingly given San Francisco’s tech-heavy workforce, the hybrid pattern was most pronounced in the Golden Gate City, which saw the biggest weekday office visit dip on Fridays, as well as a significant dip on Mondays. In New York, offices were somewhat busier on Mondays than on Fridays, while in Chicago, it was the other way around. But in all four cities, offices drew more visits mid-week than on Mondays/Fridays. 

Key Takeaways

Three years into the grand remote-work experiment jump started by COVID, the new hybrid normal appears to be more firmly entrenched than ever. How will the work week continue to evolve as the year draws to a close? 

Follow Placer.ai’s data-driven office analyses to find out. 

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