Melbourne CBD office attendance up in March but Monday, Friday remain quiet

Melbourne CBD office attendance up in March but Monday, Friday remain quiet


“That would be fantastic. We also understand the role that flexible working plays as we move forward,” she said, adding about 30 per cent of Melbourne City Council’s office staff were working from home on average.

Danni Hunter, the Property Council’s Victorian executive director, said staff recognised the value of in-person work for creativity and spontaneous interaction.

Lord mayor Sally Capp speaks at Melbourne Press Club on Wednesday. She says foot traffic is low on Mondays and Fridays in the CBD.Credit:Eddie Jim

She said she expected Friday office attendance to pick up over the next month with the AFL season under way and hospitality venues reporting high demand on Friday nights.

“Mondays are a problem,” she said. “You’ve got a lot of offices putting on free breakfast, drinks, asking really interesting people to come in and speak. But it’s obviously not having the impact.”

Amid suggestions from urban planners that unused office space should be converted into creative hubs, Ms Hunter said the owners of second- and third-tier-quality buildings in particular should consider the option.

Cr Capp said she could see creative workers making up a greater proportion of CBD workers in the coming months, alongside small- and medium-sized businesses that she said were in “hustle mode, looking for spaces”.

The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian executive director Danni Hunter.

The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian executive director Danni Hunter.Credit:Wayne Taylor

“At better pricing, there’s no doubt. But pre-COVID, we were basically zero vacancy in the city for office space, and now of course people are looking for those opportunities,” she said.

“Once we start to settle into a new rhythm for what was a pre-COVID workforce and we understand what spaces, even crevasses, are available, then we’re able to really support more people into those spaces. It certainly seems like the demand is there.

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“The mix will be different, but that can be a very positive thing as well.”

The Property Council survey also found many owners have lost their early-year confidence that there will be a material increase in office attendance in the short term.

In January, more than half of Property Council members expected a boost in the next one to two months, which the latest data indicates has not eventuated. More than half in the most recent survey now expect it will be three months or longer before a material increase occurs.

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