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Adrian Wooldridge

Workers Are Winning the Return-to-Office War Because They’re Right

The deepening clash between knowledge workers and companies is more than just a struggle over commuting and convenience. It is a clash over the meaning of work. 

Workerless in Seattle.

Workerless in Seattle.

Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images


The masks are coming off. Restaurants are filling up. International travel is resuming. But one thing is missing from this picture of returning normality: the rows of office workers bent over their desks. Just over two months ago, I wrote that returning to the office was the great class struggle of our time. I’m happy to report that, so far at least, the workers are winning.

In the U.S., office occupancy rates seem to have flatlined at about 43% according to Kastle Systems, which collects figures on the number of workers who are working at their desks in America’s ten largest business districts by measuring key swipes. Occupancy rates fell to 42.8% on April 13, having risen to 43.1% on April 6. Across the Atlantic, London’s occupancy peaked at 42% last month.