Returning to work concept

Keeping up to speed with average occupancy rates in offices can go a long way toward accurately assessing supply needs, adjusting contracts with end users as a building service contractor (BSC), and getting a scope on appropriate staff sizes for frontline cleaning crews. When the pandemic induced-shutdowns when into full force, having a firm grasp on the aforementioned challenges became far more difficult as end users were scrambling to assess their own cleaning needs. As vaccines became more widely distributed and the overall threat of COVID-19 diminished, there has been a slow crawl back to normalcy in many businesses returning to the office — albeit nowhere close to pre-pandemic levels.

An industry study conducted by Kastle Systems, however, shows that office average occupancy rate across 10 major U.S. cities has exceeded 50 percent (50.4) for the first time since before COVID-19 pandemic in early March 2020. As reported by The Hill, the 10 cities participating in the study were Chicago, New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Texas, San Francisco, Austin, and San Jose.  

Key Takeaways from the Study Include: 

  • According to research from the week of Jan. 19-25, two cities in Texas — Austin and Houston — lead the way in office occupancy rate with 67.7 percent and 60.3 percent 
  • On the other hand, the bottom two from the same sample were San Jose (41.1 percent) and Philadelphia (42.7 percent)
  • Across the entire week, the highest average occupancy rates across the 10 cities was 58.6 percent, with the lowest being 34.9 percent 
  • Compared to the week of Jan 12-18, every city recorded higher occupancy rates overall from Jan. 19-25 except for Dallas and Houston 


While many companies have begun to embrace the hybrid approach having employees come into the office two or three times per week, other major corporations such as Tesla have fully reinstated full-time in office requirements in the wake of COVID-19 cases declining and the overall threat being diminished. The case-by-case basis of occupancy requires cleaning professionals to keep a consistent dialogue with facility managers or end users to ensure that cleaning demands are being met and changes aren’t required from month to month. 

With the rise in office occupancy again, cleaning-related complaints from occupants, staff and managers will inevitably be on the rise again. To get a good laugh or simply dive into some relatable gripes, check out our latest complaints study from Facility Cleaning Decisions.