Almost two-thirds of CBD-based employees are committed to attending the office in person between three and five days per week, according to the latest CBD occupancy survey by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Results of the fourth consecutive survey demonstrate a significant stabilising in the number of employees opting for flexible office participation and collaboration since the initial benchmarking surveys in June and November 2022, and the last survey in March 2023.
The survey canvassed small, medium, large and family businesses across a range of sectors in the city to better understand the ongoing impacts of hybrid working arrangements on Melbourne’s CBD. Key findings include:
- The number of employees working from the office three to four days per week is sitting at 42 per cent, down from 46 per cent in March.
- The number of employees working in the office one to two days per week has fallen nine percent from March, to 29 per cent.
- The number of employees working five days in the office has increased to 19 per cent following a significant drop to eight per cent in March. November 2022 previously recorded 19 per cent.
- The number of employees who have not returned to their CBD office at all since the pandemic remains steady at 10 per cent, up just one percentage point since March 2023.
- Fifty-four per cent of businesses have maintained a minimum number of days employees must work from the office, with the majority enforcing three days (57 per cent) followed by five days (18 per cent).
- Sixty-seven per cent of employers indicated they do not expect employees to return to full time at the office, down from 76 per cent in March, and closer to the November 2022 sentiments (69 per cent).
- Half the businesses surveyed indicated they are using social incentives such as in-person meetings, free coffees and lunches to encourage people to come back to the office. This figure has dropped from 66 per cent in March.
- The main barriers for returning to the office full time continue to remain work-life balance and home duties (40 per cent), followed by commute time (27 per cent).
To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:
“These survey results offer crucial point-in-time insights on the evolving landscape of office work and its impact on Melbourne's CBD, painting a nuanced picture of how businesses and employees are navigating the ongoing hybrid work arrangements.
“With almost two-thirds of CBD-based employees committing to attending the office in person between three and five days per week, it's evident that the office continues to play a vital role in our professional lives.
“Pleasingly, we’ve seen a significant jump in the number of office workers who are back full-time, or five days a week. From speaking to our members and colleagues, we are hearing that there is a growing cohort who choose to be back in five days because they want to get back to ‘normal’ patterns and leave the pandemic in the rearview mirror.
"This data serves as a valuable resource for shaping the future of work in Melbourne's CBD and beyond.”
Mikkayla Mossop, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0423 883 945