Brisbane led the way in the number of workers heading into the office in September, with office occupancy lifting in most CBDs, according to the Property Council of Australia.  

Brisbane occupancy jumped from 57% to 70%, while Adelaide saw occupancy increase from 71% to 78%, as Perth occupancy lifted from 69% to 76%. 

Occupancy rose in Melbourne from 39% to 41%, while occupancy rates in Sydney remained steady at 52%. In Canberra occupancy dropped from 64% to 54%.  

The survey found that office occupancy rates continued to vary strongly between peak and low days. Peak occupancy days in Perth reached 84%, but on a low day it fell to 68% while in Melbourne it was 25%.  

“We expected to see office occupancy lift after the winter Omicron wave subsided and that’s what we have witnessed in most capital cities around Australia,” Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said.  

“It’s especially encouraging to see office occupancy jump significantly in several major CBDs, but the results are a lot lower in Melbourne and Sydney which has more lockdown disruption through the pandemic. 

“Our survey shows people are returning to their offices strongly on peak days, with peak day occupancy reaching 84% in Perth, 83% in Adelaide, 79% in Brisbane, Sydney at 65% and 60% in Canberra and Melbourne. 

“Melbourne’s peak occupancy day increased by 9% from the previous month, which is a positive sign despite the overall occupancy rate remaining subdued. 

“With warmer weather now upon us and the Omicron wave subsiding significantly, it bodes well for continued momentum in the months ahead.” 

The latest Office Occupancy Survey found the preference for greater flexibility including working from home was the major driver of occupancy levels, increasing from 64% to 83%. 

Health concerns’ influence on the data has continued to wane, falling from 30% in July to 4% in September.