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Office Occupancy Still Under 20% In Sydney, Melb

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Less than one in five workers have returned to the office in Australia’s two largest cities, leading to knock-on effects that impact retail and economic recovery.

The Property Council of Australia on Tuesday released a report showing just 18 per cent of Sydney and 15 per cent of Melbourne workers are back in the office.

Despite this, the PCA expects March to see a spike to CBD office action.

“There is still a long way to go and there are local factors affecting each city, but these figures are a strong start which we expect to accelerate in March, as more businesses reopen their offices,” Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said.

Smaller capital centres have seen a larger percentage of workers returning to the office, with 21 per cent in Canberra, 41 per cent in Brisbane, 47 per cent in Adelaide and 55 per cent in Perth during February.

“We saw an increase in demand for office space late last year, so we’re certain businesses have made the decision that an office is a key part of their future,” Morrison said.

“We would expect March to be a strong acceleration month leading through April.”

Although it seems dire, the February figures are nothing compared to last June, when Sydney saw just 4 per cent office occupancy. Melbourne hit its 4 per cent low in October.





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“There is some concern about Omicron entering that state and some requirements, particularly around mask use, and some of the limits on events and other activities which are typically created in CBDs,” Mr Morrison said.

Workers are likely to return to a different office to what they left, he added.

“We are going to see more mixed-work environments. We are already seeing businesses look at how they can adjust their fit-outs,” he said.

“Many of them will use the office quite differently than what they have in the past … but you could still expect that corporate Australia will be encouraging people to reconnect with their workplaces so that they can get the benefits of creativity and professional development and culture building and teamwork.”

Originally published as Office occupancy still low in Sydney, Melbourne


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