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Who’s really returning to the office? It’s not exactly who you think

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The return to the office is a goalpost that can’t seem to stop moving. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies pledged to welcome workers back by the end of 2020, which soon became summer 2021, and then turned into fall 2021, and now has become the equivalent of a long string of question marks.

“Everybody around North America said after Labor Day, everybody’s going to return to the office. It’s going to be a return to normal,” says Sheila Botting, a principal at the real estate services company Avison Young. “And we said, ‘Really?'”

[Screenshot: Avison Young]That wholesale return—brace yourself—has not materialized. But Botting says some workers in some places are returning. Tracking where and how that’s happening, she argues, will offer a more informed understanding of when the so-called normal may reemerge.

Avison Young launched a new visualization tool this month to do just that. Named the Vitality Index, the tool compiles data daily to create a near-real-time picture of office foot traffic in more than 20 cities across the U.S. and Canada in more than 30 industries. The tool, which is free for anyone to access, aims to bring clarity to a constantly........

© Fast Company

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