Friday on my mind: How office workers are staying home, stretching weekend

Brisbane’s workers are flooding back into the office, except for Fridays, a day that appears to be fixed as a reminder of Covid.

Oct 13, 2022, updated Oct 13, 2022
Australia recorded almost 20,000 "excess deaths" last year, and Covid is mostly to blame. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Australia recorded almost 20,000 "excess deaths" last year, and Covid is mostly to blame. (AAP Image/Darren England)

According to the Property Council’s lastest survey, Brisbane’s office occupancy jumped to 70 per cent in September, from 59 per cent in August.

On Fridays though, it falls back to 55 per cent – a sign that workers have designated that day to ease into the weekend and work from home.

The return to the office is a good sign for the city’s retail sector as well as transport.

The council’s Queensland executive director Jen Williams said there was a huge increase in occupancy across the week. Even Friday had increased and occupancy levels were at the highest level since 2021.

“Things are noticeably busier in the city after experiencing dips earlier this year with new Covid waves and the seasonal flu,” Williams said.

“Hybrid working arrangements are continuing to play a part in our workplace culture, however this rise shows that people are increasingly seeking out connection and collaboration.”

The lowest occupancy occurred in January this year when it was 13 per cent. During Covid it hit the 70 per cent level five times only to fall as waves of Covid and lockdowns or restrictions hit the state.

Williams said she believed warmer weather could motivate more people back to the office.

Google mobility data, which aggregates the movement of people using it, showed visits to the workplace in Brisbane was still 1 per cent below the baseline in February 2020. It would differ to the Property Council data because it takes in all of Brisbane rather than just the CBD.

Google still shows transport visitations at 30 per cent below the baseline.

The Gold Coast is similar to Brisbane, while Ipswich is up 9 per cent, Gladstone up 7 per cent, Gympie up 17 per cent, Logan up 12 per cent.

The Sunshine Coast workplace visitations were down 9 per cent.



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