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Insights

Predicting the Return to the Office

The rise of the Delta variant has increased uncertainty and pushed back return-to-office plans for some occupiers. This global report provides insight into the factors impacting occupier and employee decisions along with a potential trajectory of when employees will return to the office en masse in each global region.

Part One of a Return to Office Series 

Many companies had been planning on a broad return to the office this summer and fall before the rise of the Delta variant. The increases in cases in many parts of the world have caused a significant, if temporary, postponement of those plans, as occupiers await declines in virus cases and/or continued progress towards herd resiliency through adequate vaccination rates. 

With vaccine rates continuing to climb, and the Delta variant expected to peak in October 2021, we believe this is an important time to take stock of global and regional trends relating to the return of employees to the office, including: 

  • The “current state” of office usage 
  • The trajectory of the virus and vaccination efforts 
  • Forecast scenarios for when businesses may return to office 

In this latest report, the first of a new three-part Return to Office series, we look at progress across Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and the United States, providing a valuable outlook as businesses prepare their return to office strategies. 

Key Report Findings: 

  1. As of September 2021, approximately 40% of all global office workers have returned to the office 
  2. The latest COVID-19 projections indicate that global infections related to the Delta variant will peak in October or November 2021 and then trend lower 
  3. At the current rate, most of the world will achieve herd resiliency—i.e., over 70% either vaccinated or infected—by Q2 2022 
  4. Given the impact on working parents, full-time, in-person school is a critical factor for predicting a fuller return to the office 
  5. Government guidelines will also play a critical role in boosting worker confidence and encouraging a return to the office 
  6. If our assumptions hold true, we conclude that most office workers globally will be able to return to the office in the first quarter of 2022  

Download Predicting the Return to the Office for more essential insights as you plan your back-to-office strategy. 

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