Top 10 Cities Getting Back to the Office

A new study from Kastle Systems found the top ten cities for office occupancy and how much has changed since Labor Day.

Wonder which cities are embracing the return-to-office movement more than others? A new study discovered where employees are losing out on flexible schedules the most.

As the pandemic gets further and further in the rear-view mirror, more businesses have announced return-to-office mandates, much to the chagrin of employees that got used to a bit of work-life balance.

If you’re working from home and have no intention of commuting any time soon, watch out for these cities, which have higher rates of office occupancy than any others.

Top 10 Return-to-Office Cities

Office occupancy is as good as a metric when it comes to measuring how employes are returning to their commutes, which is what Kastle Systems used for their Getting America Back to Work study.

According to their data, there are 10 cities that stand out above the rest. Here are the top 10 cities for office occupancy in September 2023:

  1. Houston, TX – 61.6%
  2. Austin, TX – 59.3%
  3. Dallas, TX – 53.9%
  4. Chicago, IL – 53.6%
  5. New York, NY – 50.1%
  6. Los Angeles – 49.4%
  7. Washington DC – 47.9%
  8. Philadelphia – 42.7%
  9. San Francisco – 42.6%
  10. San Jose – 41.5%

Suffice to say, if you want to keep your flexible work arrangements, you’re going to want to get out of Texas as fast as possible. Beyond that, though, it seems that these are merely a list of some of the largest hubs in the office, and that the overall trend getting rid of remote work.

The Labor Day Shift

Not only did the research from Kastle Systems — a credential and access administration systems company — point to the cities with the largest office occupancies, but they also noted how they changed over time.

More specifically, researchers noted that Labor Day has represented a massive increase in office occupancy after the long holiday week, as return-to-office mandates typically hit that Tuesday.

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“This post-Labor Day jump in occupancy mirrors the pattern from the past three years. If the pattern continues, the Barometer may reach a new, higher base level as more workers return to the office.” – Kastle Systems researchers

The list of cities with the biggest change reads quite differently. From Wednesday, September 6th to Wednesday September 13th, for example, New York increased office occupancy from 42.5% to 50.1%, representing a 7.5% increase, making it the biggest shift in the country. San Jose, Philadelphia, and Washington DC all saw a 4.1% increase, which makes them all tied for second place.

Should You Get Rid of Remote Work?

As a business owner, you may feel a lot of pressure to get your employees back to the office. After all, big corporations like Amazon and Apple are doing it, and even if their employees are revolting, they must be onto something, right?

The reality is that getting rid of remote work does little more than alienate top talent and worsen employee well-being. In fact, some remote workers have had to sell their homes at a loss due to rushed return-to-office mandates, which many executives regret, based on recent studies.

All that to say, if your remote workers are productive, happy, and committed to getting work done, don’t throw a wrench in the works because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at
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