According to new proprietary research by Eptura, with the mid-week mountain continuing to define occupancy rates, companies are focused on supporting employee in-office connection and collaboration. And while many organizations across industries are embracing the hybrid work model, the data shows differences in projected value and perceived challenges based on implementation strategies.

An area of critical common ground for leaders, though, is the importance of technology, and there’s a growing desire for data analytics, integrated workplace solutions, and collaboration software. With a unified platform, organizations can deliver a connected workplace that maximizes utilization and productivity. 

The H1 2024 Workplace Index report leverages anonymous user data from more than 5,000 companies, including 19,000 buildings, 95.5 million desk bookings, and 25 million room bookings, plus insights from 200 senior-level leaders. 

The hybrid work model delivers quantifiable value 

As operational leaders try to balance right-sizing their real estate portfolios with allowing for future growth, they are seeking ways to maximize in-office productivity. 

Our research reveals that a large percentage believe that the hybrid model is an important piece of the puzzle. In fact, when we asked, ‘Thinking about how employees interact when they are in the office to connect, socialize, collaborate, and innovate, how much incremental revenue would you attribute to a successful hybrid model?” they projected an average of 3% to 8% incremental revenue. 

That five-percentage-point spread shows differences between models. In fact, leaders projected different values for hybrid depending on if they were: 

  • Company mandated 
  • Manager led 
  • Employee led 

Across the board, when employees have the flexibility to lead in-office collaboration days and policy, companies expect a higher percentage of incremental revenue.  

Our research also reveals how different hybrid models present different challenges to implementation. When employees lead the policies, companies reported “understanding best practices” as a key barrier. In workplaces with company-mandated policies or where managers are leading hybrid work model adoption, the companies reported “identifying and communicating vision and strategy” as a larger issue. 

It’s important to remember that choosing the right hybrid work policy for any company is an involved process that must balance everything from business goals to past and projected employee behaviors. There’s no one-size-fits-all policy, and every company needs to find the system that works best for them. The accurate data on past and projected employee behavior that comes with a unified workplace facility management platform, including occupancy and utilization rates, can help companies decide how best to implement and then support a hybrid work model. 

Return to office mid-week mountain grows 

Our earlier Workplace Index reports all showed steady increases in the number of employees and visitors in the office, and those upward trends have continued. The Asia Pacific region (APAC) saw a 52% increase; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) rose by 31%; and the Americas had a 27% increase. 

Although there are growing numbers of people in the equation, the balance between in-office to at-home days has stabilized. Across industries, most hybrid model employees are in the office about three days a week. In fact, the cross-industry variations are relatively small. Among the seven industries we examined, business services and legal lead the pack, with 3.28 days a week, while software and technology, both industries with longer histories of remote and hybrid work models, are now at 2.35 days. 

Another continuing trend the report reveals is the mid-week mountain, with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays remaining the most popular days for people to be in the office. Although it’s strongest in the Americas, offices across APAC and EMEA show the same basic occupancy pattern. Differences across industries were negligible. 

Based on Eptura’s work in earlier reports, we’ve already established that an important reason for the mid-week mountain is that people want to come to the office when they know other people are going to be there. When asked, employees explained that opportunities to connect and collaborate, “magnetize” the office, and justify the commute. 

How facility management leaders can leverage hybrid work trends 

The solution is finding and implementing the right technology. More people are coming into the office, clustered around the same days, and often for the same two reasons – people want to connect, and they want to collaborate in person. Leaders can make the most of these trends by implementing integrated platforms that combine data analytics, employee collaboration, and operations and maintenance. 

To maximize utilization, leaders know they need to capture reliable, actionable data to better manage people, workplaces, and assets. A unified visitor management solution, for example, not only delivers a consistent experience but also improves security.  

And to maximize productivity, they need worktech that helps employees coordinate collaboration. Predictive artificial intelligence built into intelligent room and desk booking solutions, for example, helps ensure employees make the most of office time and space. Companies can then leverage the booking and occupancy data to uncover trends in employee behavior for better space planning. If no one ever books the biggest boardroom, you can subdivide it into multiple breakout rooms or use the square footage to expand the office kitchen. 

Integrated platforms also connect employees with the operations and maintenance professionals that keep facilities up and running. A platform with a built-in service request feature streamlines the process for reporting issues, helping maintenance teams deliver a comfortable work environment more efficiently. 

Leaders across industries are embracing integrated systems 

With all these benefits, it’s not surprising that over 50% of the businesses we surveyed have already moved toward or are moving toward implementing an integrated platform. Operational leaders also say they intend to implement technology that supports data analytics, integrated workplace solutions, and collaboration software over the next 12 months. 

“Global leaders recognize the significant value that connected workplaces bring to their operations, impacting employee experiences, building management, and asset handling,” explains Brandon Holden, CEO of Eptura in the report.  

“These elements cannot be effectively managed in isolation, prompting businesses to adopt integrated platforms for a comprehensive view of their data. With workplace attendance stabilizing, our focus is now on enhancing operational efficiencies, optimizing processes, and improving the overall workplace environment for employees.” 

Dive in. Download a copy of the latest Workplace Index report 

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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.