Fluctuating Work Week in CBDs

OFFICE • July 1, 2021

The Property Council of Australia’s latest office occupancy survey has highlighted the challenges ahead for the reactivation of CBDs, with activity fluctuating between weekly peaks and troughs.

The monthly survey, taken before the lockdowns of the past week, has found that office occupancy in Melbourne CBD fell from 45% to 26% per cent of pre-COVID occupancy levels while other CBDs remain relatively unchanged.

There was a marked difference between peak and trough occupancy through the week across all capital city CBDs. Property Council Group Executive of Policy & Advocacy, Mike Zorbas, said that the survey has revealed that office occupancy on the quietest day of the week is on average only 58% of the occupancy achieved on the busiest day.



Whilst there has been a rise in government health restrictions and lockdowns, respondents still identified worker preferences for greater flexibility as the main barrier to achieving consistent occupancy.

Mr Zorbas said that the property industry is continuing to take the initiative to entice workers back to Australia’s commercial centres through a coordinated program of activations and attractions.

In Melbourne, the Property Council’s FOMO Fridays in conjunction with the City of Melbourne and the Australian Retailers Association will be recommencing in the coming month. In Brisbane, the Fridays in the City initiative recently wrapped up bringing together reactivation efforts in partnership with Brisbane City Council, the Queensland Government and other CBD stakeholders.

In Adelaide it will be FOMO Fridays pitching freebies to South Australians to get back to the city. In Sydney, the other side of lockdown will see $100 of Friday-only vouchers to 500,000 office workers and a NYE party on the Cahill Expressway. And there will be more to come in other capitals.

“Building owners and managers are not waiting for government leadership to drive CBD reactivation, we are proactively making the case for workers to return to their offices and enjoy all the benefits of face-to-face team work,” Mr Zorbas said.


NOTE: The Property Council’s CBD office occupancy data is now presented as a percentage of the pre-COVID rate of office occupancy, which is estimated at 90%. If a CBD achieves the same level of occupancy as the pre-COVID norm this will now be presented as “100%”.


Figures are based on responses from Property Council members who own or manage CBD office buildings and cover occupancy for the period from 21-23 June 2021.


To view the occupancy results in more detail, click here for the Property Council’s Media Release.