Adaptive Spaces

2023–2024 CBRE Global Workplace & Occupancy Insights

The Workplace Evolution: The path from efficiency to effectiveness

December 12, 2023 15 Minute Read


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The 2023-2024 Global Workplace & Occupancy Insights report summarizes three years of office benchmarking and client sentiment surveys to identify how CBRE clients are creating efficient portfolios and effective work experiences in the wake of the pandemic. The report examines global data from select CBRE clients representing 350 million sq. ft./32 million sq. m. and breaks down insights by portfolio size and geography. The report explores trends across major office occupiers and offers insights for any organization considering how the workplace can support the business’ needs and cultural objectives.

  1. Over the last three years, hybrid work has driven portfolio optimization

    The broad adoption of hybrid work has led to portfolio reductions and enabled planning efficiencies, including a 22% decrease in the average square foot per person globally and a 28% increase in occupancy rates, which measure the allocation of people to seats. Organizations have increased space-sharing 30% and adapted to support hybrid work styles by increasing collaboration spaces by 44% globally since 2021. While 45% of participants have policies requiring employees be in the office three or more days per week, less than 4% consistently implement consequences for not following policy.
  2. Today, despite these efficiencies, there is still an imbalance of space supply and demand

    Despite these planning improvements and hybrid workplace policies, office space utilization rates, which measure the actual use of space, remain under 40%, a 45% decrease from the pre-pandemic global average of 64%. This suggests that office attendance has plateaued, exposing an imbalance of space supply and demand that will not simply resolve itself without purposeful action such as well-communicated changes to hybrid policy, workplace experience improvements that attract more employees to the office or further reductions in portfolio size.
  3. Moving forward, portfolio optimization and new performance metrics will make the workplace more efficient and effective

    To address the imbalance of space supply and demand, most organizations are increasing space-sharing and prioritizing portfolio optimization, with 43% planning to decrease their portfolio size by more than 30% in the next three years. Along the way, corporate real estate (CRE) leaders will be tasked with making the overall workplace experience more effective in supporting the organization’s business and cultural goals. This will require a new scorecard that partners CRE with HR, Finance and IT to track the workplace’s impact on employee performance, operational priorities, financial goals and ESG objectives. To prepare for this new level of data sharing and collaboration, CRE teams plan to increase the use of micro level utilization data gathered through sensors and Wi-Fi/network activity to measure employee workstyles, reduce occupancy costs per visit and enable dynamic building management.

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