At Work: the 2022 workplace trends report

Welcome: A note from Sprinklr's Global Head of Workplace

As workplace managers, we spent much of the past 24 months in reactionary mode due to the pandemic. We responded to unprecedented circumstances and navigated a world full of uncertainties. We partnered with HR, Finance, Operations, IT, and Security to create return-to-work plans—only to halt, change, and start those plans over again.

During this time, we looked to our employees to understand their needs. We surveyed them, held town halls, and kept in constant communication. We also looked to each other for guidance. We joined webinars to understand new mandates, work trends, and workplace attendance patterns. These exchanges have made one thing very clear: a revolution is happening in the world of work. How we work is being challenged.

Until the pandemic hit, work was, for the most part, anchored to the workplace. Almost overnight, companies around the world went remote. Going through both extremes revealed that where and how we work can be flexible. We’ve learned that work does not have to be binary, happening either at the office or remote only. It can be flexible. In fact, employees expect it to be.

As workplace managers, our roles are rooted in the physical workplace. These days, we can’t talk about work without hearing questions like, Do we still need offices? Does the workplace still matter? The answer to both questions is “yes.”

Especially now, the workplace is more than where work gets done. Workplaces can foster connections and help us move past dispersed and isolated times. Yes, employees can meet with each other over the internet. However, it’s the promise of seeing each other again, in person, that can urge them to forge more meaningful relationships. Not to mention, building connections in the workplace can fortify their sense of communal purpose and joy.

Looking into the future with optimism, we will soon have fewer restrictions and health concerns. Although impacted by COVID variants, 2021 has shown a significant increase in people choosing to work on-site. Creating space for employees to come together to meet, build community, and foster deeper connections is more critical than ever. That’s what will make people choose the workplace. That’s what we workplace managers must aspire to build.

Tony Vargas Global Head of Workplace, Sprinklr

The front desk

Hi there. Welcome to At Work: the 2022 workplace trends report, created to give workplace teams an up-to-date view of the state of the physical workplace.

We surveyed employees, employers, and workplace professionals to learn what they think and how they feel about trends at work. We also analyzed Envoy’s proprietary platform data, looking at more than 27 million workplace entries around the globe, as well as millions of meeting room and desk bookings. Finally, we conducted one-on-one interviews with workplace leaders, many of whom you’ll hear from in this report. If you took our survey, spoke with us, or used Envoy’s products at your own workplace, thank you for helping us make At Work happen.

Despite the changes the workplace has undergone over the past year, its role is more important than ever. Workplace leaders like yourself will be critical to leading your organization through future changes, and we hope this report will play a role in your success.

On a tight schedule? Check out the highlights

If you can’t read the full report now, no worries! Here are some can’t-miss takeaways:

Envoy recorded more than 27 million workplace entries around the globe in 2021. Workplace traffic increased more than 300% since the lockdown lows of May 2020.
New York saw more foot traffic than any other US city. Other top cities include Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
60% of employee traffic came in the middle of the week. Tuesday and Wednesday were the most popular days to go into the workplace. Friday was the least popular.
Engineering teams booked the most hot desks with 25% of total bookings. Other top teams in the workplace include IT and Finance—22% and 19% of bookings, respectively.
The majority of organizations (58%) invested more in the workplace in 2021 compared to 2020. Only 19% invested less and 23% spent the same amount.
40% of companies invested more in conferencing technology. 30% invested more in visitor management solutions and 25% invested more in physical security technologies.
More than a third of workplace leaders (35%) want their organizations to invest more in on-site events and programs. 24% said food and beverages programs.
Most workplace leaders (76%) said their job success is measured by employee satisfaction. Other top performance success indicators: keeping the workplace safe (34%) and remaining CDC compliant (27%).
Health checks grew in popularity. Envoy saw employees submit about 2.5X the number of health checks in November 2021 compared to the start of the year.


Before we dive in, we want you to get to know the folks who made At Work possible. Meet the 400 survey participants located all around the globe, with the majority in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Most respondents have workplace and facilities titles. They report to a wide variety of positions—from VP of Information Technology to Head of Global Facilities. Their teams are similarly diverse; some folks sit on global workplace teams and others single-handedly run their organization’s facilities. The vast majority of respondents, however, work on a team of more than 10 employees.

Workplace roles

Of the 400 survey respondents, 52% have workplace or facilities titles. Other titles include IT (31%), HR (9%), and security (8%). As the collaboration between IT, HR, security, and workplace teams has become more of a necessity, we felt hearing from folks in each of these functions would paint a more accurate picture of today’s workplace.

Team size

The majority of people surveyed (54%) sit on teams of more than 10 people. Here’s how team size shakes out for other respondents: 20% are on teams with 2-4 employees. 15% are on teams with 5-7 employees. 7% are on teams with 8-10 employees. 3% are flying solo.


Respondents work at organizations of all sizes, from small startups to enterprises with physical workplaces around the world. They represent all sorts of industries, too. Here’s a small portion of the organizations that participated in this report.

What’s going on with workplace traffic?

The workplace. It’s always been a space for work. But for many, it’s more than that. The workplace is where people come together to meet, ideate, create, and solve problems. It’s where employees can learn more about coworkers than what you can find in their Slack profiles. It’s also where people can escape their home offices to meet with others in person or do heads-down work.

In this section, we analyzed Envoy’s employee and visitors sign-in data to understand workplace foot traffic trends from January-December 2021.1 As you’ll see, after working remotely during the pandemic, people came back on-site in waves. While there were significant increases in traffic, there were also lulls—during the holidays and when COVID case numbers spiked.

1. Unless otherwise stated, workplace traffic includes employee and visitor sign-ins to Envoy from 14,000+ locations globally.

The big picture: How did traffic fluctuate throughout the last year?

Looking at 2021 data alone doesn’t tell the full story on workplace traffic growth, so we’ve zoomed out to get a better look. In this view, you can see exactly when the pandemic hit in early 2020. Lockdowns and work-from-home measures nearly shut down workplaces around the globe. Visitor traffic to the workplace fell dramatically from January to March 2020.

The story gets interesting in May when both employees and visitors began using Envoy to safely enter the workplace. Since May 2020, workplace traffic grew more than 300%. Now let’s take a closer look at 2021, dive into the traffic trends, and discuss what might have caused them.

2021 workplace traffic

Envoy recorded more than 27 million workplace entries around the globe in 2021. In the chart above, you can see how workplace traffic grew throughout the year.

Before Thanksgiving, traffic to the workplace grew 87% from where it was back in January 2021. In fact, looking at the whole year—inclusive of holidays and the impact of the Omicron variant—traffic was 41% higher on average than it was at the start of the year​​.

How successful has the return-to-office been?

Workplace leaders put a lot of work into their return-to-office plans. Has it paid off? According to employee foot traffic trends, yes! Not only did employee foot traffic increase throughout the year, so did the number of employees who worked on-site multiple times a month.

In an August 2021 survey, we learned that employees saw more value in the workplace the longer they had been back. Once they got over the initial hurdle of having a new routine, the majority of employees (62%) actually preferred to work mostly on-site.

What about the folks who only worked on-site once in a single month, you ask? These folks, who represent less than a third of workplace foot traffic, may have been “trying out” the return, or meeting their coworkers in-person for a special event.

How far in advance did employees schedule to go into the workplace?

Earlier in 2021, employees used the Envoy app to schedule a day in the office just hours in advance. Toward the end of the year, they scheduled as many as three days (95 hours) in advance. This could be due to people planning their holiday time or hybrid workweek and thinking further out about when they were going to be on-site. Or, since some organizations set workplace capacity limits, employees may have wanted to be sure they had a spot in the office.

As foot traffic increased, employees became more proactive about securing their spots ahead of time. This goes to show that employees didn’t want any old desk in the workplace—they wanted the right desk.

For some folks, the “right” desk was next to teammates or friends so they could socialize, for others it’s next to a co-worker with whom they wanted to collaborate. In a February 2021 survey we learned that one of the top factors that influenced when employees scheduled to work on-site was who else planned to be at the workplace that day (37%).

Which US cities saw the highest foot traffic growth?

Folks in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. headed back to the workplace in droves. Toward the end of 2021, New York pulled away from other top metros, with more than 6X the foot traffic compared to May 2020. There are likely many factors that drove New York’s big return, including local COVID safety mandates, school reopenings, and a decline in Delta variant case numbers.

Interested in seeing what workplace traffic looks like in a city near you? We update the return-to-work index each month with the latest workplace foot traffic trends across the country. Bookmark it here!

How did workplace traffic differ by company size?

No matter the size, companies saw an increase in foot traffic across the board in 2021. Smaller companies saw their biggest jump in foot traffic around May when the vaccination rollout really gained momentum. Companies with 51-250 employees saw a 62% increase, while companies with 50 employees or fewer saw a 32% increase by May.

“People coming into the workplace are much more intentional now. It’s no longer employees coming in because they have to be there. Now, people come in for special events or to enjoy our beautiful office spaces. Not to brag but our offices are really pretty! They’re cool spaces filled with beautiful plants and natural light. People have said it feels so good for them to be back and be around other human beings.”
​​Kaitlin Lieck Center Operations Associate at Parsley Health

Midsize (251-1,500 employees) and enterprise companies (1,501 employees or more) tended to see larger gains, later in the year. These companies saw a 110% increase in foot traffic in November and December since the start of 2021. One explanation for the increase in traffic for larger companies is having to implement more formal return-to-office policies, bringing people back in stages.

Which industries saw the most and least folks work on-site?

Across the board, all industries saw an increase in foot traffic since the beginning of 2021. This may be because employees started to go in multiple times a week. In fact, on average, employees worked on-site more than twice a week across all industries.

IT Consumer discretionary Financials Software and hardware companies Automotive and media companies Insurance companies and banks

These industries above saw the highest percentage increase in foot traffic since January 2021.

Materials Utilities Telecom services Companies that produce packaging materials and paper products Renewable energy companies Companies that provide wireless telecoms services

On the flip side, these industries above had the least amount of traffic growth since January 2021.

Notice that even in the industries that saw the least growth, traffic to the workplace still grew significantly since the start of the year. On average, organizations in these industries saw a 36% growth in traffic in 2021.

How did folks use the workplace?

No two workplaces are the same. They support different employees who have unique needs, projects, and goals. Regardless, each workplace is a space for people to come together and get work done. In this section, we looked at Envoy Desks, Rooms, and Deliveries data in 2021 to explore how employees and teams used the workplace to meet and be productive.

What did desk reservations look like throughout 2021?

Hot-desking heated up in 2021. Hot desks are desks that can be booked for the day, making them ideal for organizations with flexible work models like hybrid work.

Since the launch of Envoy’s hot-desking product in June 2021 until November 2021, desk reservations increased by more than 3X. Bookings declined in December, in line with workplace traffic trends. With fewer folks going into work due to the holidays and the Omicron variant, employees booked fewer desks.

Which metros booked the most desks?

New York and San Francisco represented 50% of overall reservations in top metros

We wanted to know: which cities were the hottest when it came to booking desks? This gives us insight into metros where flexible work setups may be most popular. According to our findings, New York and San Francisco represented 50% of overall reservations in top metros. These two tech hubs are home to a wealth of innovative companies that are willing to be early adopters of technologies that meet their hybrid work needs.

Which industries booked the most desks?

We also looked at which industries used hot desks the most. IT led the pack, representing 43% of total desk reservations across industries. Compared to traditional industries, IT organizations are more likely to embrace flexible workspaces, such as hybrid work. Consumer discretionary came in second at 20%, followed closely by Industrials at 17%.

Which teams came into the workplace the most?

Diving deeper, we wanted to find out which teams were booking the most desks on-site. Of the top five teams to book desks on-site, Engineering made up a quarter of bookings (25%). That’s followed by IT (22%), Finance (19%), Sales (18%), and Marketing (16%). Together, these five teams made up more than half (63%) of total team bookings. The remaining 37% of teams include HR, Product, and Design teams, among others.

Some organizations leave it to individual departments to decide how often their people need to be on-site. The teams above may be more likely to have set days—or hybrid schedules—when they’re expected to go into the workplace.

Many folks have proven they want to be on-site. In a December 2021 survey of employees, nearly half (48%) said impromptu social interactions with colleagues were what excited them most about working in the office.

Did meeting room reservations increase throughout 2021?

Meeting room bookings grew by 3X in the second half of 2021 compared to the first half. Envoy saw the most meeting rooms booked in November, representing 18% of total bookings in 2021. In December, bookings decreased in line with workplace traffic. Overall, room bookings grew 19% month over month in 2021.

The rise in meeting room reservations tells us that in-person collaboration also increased. Not only did more folks come back to the workplace, they came back to meet with others face to face.

As the return-to-office continues, meeting rooms will be in higher demand. Simplifying the room booking process is top of mind for employers. In fact, 41% of employers plan to invest in technologies that enable room booking on the go.

“It’s a lot easier to become disconnected as a company when people are in their own silo. When everyone is remote, you can completely lose your identity and culture as a company. Maybe a few days of working off-site is OK, but at some point, it just feels better when there’s a buzz in the office.”
​​Todd Clark Facilities Manager at Seattle Opera

Which industries booked the most meeting rooms?

The vast majority (76%) of meeting rooms booked in 2021 were reserved by teams in the IT industry. That’s followed by Consumer discretionary (9%) and Industrials (6%). IT organizations are known for their innovation. When it comes to technologies like meeting room management software, they’re often early adopters. This could explain why IT companies book more meeting rooms than all other industries combined.

What did workplace delivery volume look like throughout 2021?

In terms of deliveries, workplaces saw a 65% increase in incoming packages at their peak in December compared to January. It’s no surprise that the holiday season was the busiest time of year for workplace deliveries. Employees often have packages delivered to work because it’s more secure and means their orders aren’t left unattended.

But mailrooms weren’t only busy at the end of the year; Every month in 2021, Envoy recorded more than 100,000 packages delivered to workplaces around the globe.

Where are companies spending their workplace dollars?

To put a finer point on what’s going on with workplaces, in addition to Envoy’s platform data, we surveyed 400 workplace leaders in all sorts of industries. This helped us understand where organizations made investments in the physical workplace and what tools workplace teams relied on this past year. It also gave us insight into where workplaces are headed in 2022 and beyond.

How have workplace budgets changed?

When it comes to budget changes, the majority of respondents (58%) said their organizations have invested more in the workplace in 2021. Only 19% of respondents reported a decrease in investment compared to 2020, and 23% said there was no change.

The increase in workplace investments shows that, as more folks come back, organizations have prioritized new tools and resources to keep employees safe, productive, and engaged on-site. For those that have embraced hybrid work, ensuring they have the structures in place to support this working model is also top of mind.

What did organizations invest in?

40% of respondents said their organizations invested more in conferencing technology, such as monitors, cameras, and microphones. These technologies are critical to enabling flexible work models such as hybrid work. In fact, in the August survey, the vast majority of respondents (79%) said their organization planned to adopt hybrid work moving forward.

More than a quarter of respondents (30%) said their organizations invested more in visitor management solutions to manage the increase in people coming on-site and increased need for safety. 25% said they invested in physical security technologies, such as access control and video surveillance.

Of the folks who said their organizations invested less, 28% said they cut spending on on-site events and 25% said they spent less on food and beverages. These may be organizations that have either not returned at full capacity or have adopted hybrid work models with fewer people on-site on any given day.

What tools did workplace teams rely on?

Workplace teams know that increased investments in technology likely means relying on even more tools. To make their lives easier, they need those tools to work together seamlessly.

We looked at Envoy’s platform data and discovered that organizations use two integrations on average with their workplace platform. Slack and Microsoft Teams are among the most popular. Workplace teams use these integrations to automatically notify employees when their visitors or deliveries arrive, empower them to check into meeting rooms and desks, and stay on top of what’s happening on-site.

Active Directory and Skype for Business are other top integrations. These tools simplify admin workflows and improve communication with employees in the workplace.

How did workplaces keep people safe?

In 2021, many organizations began requiring proof of vaccination or health checks to keep people safe while on-site. These tools not only helped workplace teams ensure people who came in were healthy, they also gave employees peace of mind.

In February, as vaccines became more widely available, 62% of employees believed their employers should require vaccinations to enter the workplace. Six months later, in August, 75% of employees said they’d be comfortable with a workplace vaccine requirement.

We looked into how many employees submitted proof of vaccination in 2021. After launching this feature in October, we saw a 51% increase in November, around the time Omicron began spreading. December saw the most submissions—another 32% month-over-month increase. This feature continues to gain popularity as more companies become comfortable tracking proof of vaccination in the workplace.

“We set up a health screening that allows people to sign in before they come into the office every day. That has been a huge help to the workplace team because, prior to that, we were doing everything manually.”
Sydney Swanson Workplace Operations Manager at Checkr

Health checks grew in popularity as workplace teams needed a way to protect people on-site and comply with local regulations at scale. Envoy saw employees submit about 2.5X the number of health checks in November compared to the start of the year.

Looking ahead: What do workplace teams want to invest in?

In the future, workplace leaders want to see their organizations invest in on-site events and programs (35%) as well as food and beverages (24%). The numbers were even higher for folks in workplace manager roles: 43% and 26% for those investments, respectively. That is probably because these are the folks most likely to be responsible for the workplace experience and employee happiness on-site.

Also notable, 23% of workplace leaders see a need for spending more on conferencing technology, while 28% cite remote collaboration tools as an important investment. Workplace teams understand that flexible work is here to stay. To make working on-site a great experience for employees, organizations need to invest in technologies that make hybrid collaboration seamless.

Who makes the workplace work?

Finally, we dug deeper into the folks who keep the workplace safe and running smoothly: Facilities, IT, HR, and Security teams. In this section, we looked at data from our survey of 400 workplace leaders to learn more about their roles, teams, and the skills required for their success.

Who did folks report to?

Keeping the workplace running smoothly and safely requires all hands on deck. It’s no surprise that these folks sat on an array of teams, including Workplace, IT, HR, and Security. When we looked into who these folks report to, we found that the majority report to leaders on People, HR, and Facilities teams.

How do managers measure the success of workplace leaders?

Success can be defined in many ways. We asked respondents how their managers evaluated the success of their roles. 76% said their success hinged on employee satisfaction. Workplace safety (e.g., maintaining zero incidents on-site) came in second at 34% and CDC compliance for return-to-work was next at 27%.

Outside of these measurements, some respondents said their managers cared about employee NPS score, employee retention and performance, and issue resolution. Others noted anecdotal ways their success is calculated, including feedback from colleagues and the amount of work they complete.

What job level do these folks represent?

A lot can be said about the current state of workplace teams by looking at the mix of roles and titles of our respondents. We looked at the titles of our 400 survey respondents to understand the distribution of job levels within each segment.

In your words: Why do companies feel the need to hire these positions?

Companies have faced more challenges keeping employees safe and embracing hybrid work over the past two years. The result? A greater need for teams dedicated to tackling these challenges. We asked participants why they were hired for their roles. Plenty of workplace leaders said they’re tasked with creating a great on-site experience and encouraging people to return.

“One of the main priorities for this position when I was hired was to encourage people to come and use the space. Relationship building has been so important. I reach out to people preemptively. Encouraging one person to come in and use the workplace makes it more likely that they’ll encourage the rest of their team to do the same.”
Samantha Spada Experience Manager at Pereira O'Dell
“I think I was hired to make sure our physical workplace is as efficient, productive, and engaging as possible. Another reason is to think long-term about our hybrid and remote work strategy, and how all of that is going to play together in our physical space.”
Sydney Swanson Workplace Operations Manager at Checkr
“I was promoted to my current role because I exhibited an in-depth understanding of our office operations. For example, I became familiar with how our standard policies and procedures played out in different spaces and among different groups of employees. This allowed me to identify common themes, but also areas for improvement.”
Madeleine LaPenta Operations Manager at Vox Media

How did workplace roles change in 2021?

We also asked participants how their role in the workplace has evolved in the past 12 months. Here’s what some had to say:

“My responsibilities changed from day-to-day operations to more long-term project operations. For example, I’ve taken on more responsibilities for long-term capital projects involving larger repairs and future improvements to the building.”
Michael Cole Senior Manager of Facilities Operations
at Museum of POP Culture
“What hasn't changed! We moved our offices to a collaboration space model with hot desks and large working areas for big groups.”
Alexis Bacciocco Global Employee Experience Manager
at Udacity
“I've been asked to perform functions outside of my normal job description.”
Greg Jutkiewicz Director of Summer Programs
at Concord Academy
“Before the pandemic, [my role] used to focus on giving employees the very basic necessities (i.e. desk space, computers, coffee, etc.). Now, the workplace has taken on a whole new definition, a large part being employee safety. Another huge part of that definition is understanding what a hybrid workplace looks like and making sure on-site and remote employees have great experiences.”
Scott Kaller Workplace Manager
at Miro
“My workload has increased. Having had to lay off my three assistants, I’ve had to do the work of four people.”
Andrea Garappolo-Ramsey Office Services Coordinator
at Oakland Athletics LLC

What skills did workplace leaders need for success?

Many respondents acknowledged the need to develop new skills to be successful in their workplace roles moving forward. One workplace experience manager at an advertising agency noted, “We don’t have our IT team in every day. I’ve needed to do basic problem solving, like making sure on-site equipment works, connecting to Zoom, and calendar management.”

A human resources coordinator at a financial technology company said, “Project management has been big—in terms of coordinating things to prepare for people coming back on-site and being flexible enough to shift gears on the fly as pandemic mandates change.”

On the flip side, a facilities manager at a performing arts center noted that they’ve had to rely on the same skills they’ve always needed as a workplace leader. “I still need the same organization, communication, people management, and time management skills. It’s just become more difficult since it feels like there have been so many additional steps because of all the COVID protocols.”

Curious if your skill set matches up? Here’s a list of the top skills folks said helped them get the job done in 2021:

  • Adaptability
  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Project management
  • People management
  • Event management
  • IT problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Collaboration
  • Empathy

Looking ahead: How might roles change in 2022?

It’s clear that roles have shifted a lot over the past two years. People had to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Some companies even had to create new positions altogether. We asked workplace leaders how they hope their roles will change in the next 12 months. Here’s what some had to say.

“It’s tough. There have already been so many changes. I think it’d be cool to set up new workflows and processes.”
Kaitlin Lieck Center Operations Associate
at Parsley Health
“I want to be an office supervisor or office manager. If not here in New York, then one of our other locations. I’d like to take the next step and prove my worth in being able to manage another location. It’s not just about the title, it’s the growth opportunity and the challenges that I’d be taking on. I’ve been a supervisor of a team of six people, but I’ve never been a manager of a location—and I’d like that opportunity.”
​​Terrence Forbes Senior Workplace Coordinator
at Yext
“I’d like more collaboration among my immediate team. The office managers are busy running their own offices so it’s difficult to get together. But I come from working on teams where being together in person is how we got the work done. So for me personally, I hope to find that again.”
Oliver Marin Office Manager
at Carta

Signing out: A note from Envoy’s Chief People Officer

We know that was a lot of data. Hopefully, you found it as inspiring as we do. The work that you and the workplace teams around the world are doing really matters. I joined Envoy as Chief People Officer last year because I believe in workplaces. Despite all of the changes that the workplace has gone through over the past two years, it is crystal clear that the physical workplace still has a purpose.

Looking forward to 2022 and beyond, the workplace will continue to be a space for people to come together: to meet, to ideate, to socialize, to brainstorm, to build connections, to get work done. We have seen proof of this from the rising workplace traffic trends. We’ve seen it in increased budgets for workplace investments. We’ve seen it in the new roles and responsibilities that exist among workplace teams around the world. And we’ve heard it from you. The workplace is irreplaceable because it is the foundation for productivity, creativity, and most importantly, community. When it’s all said and done, there’s no place like the workplace to come together and get things done.

While we all can expect more twists and turns ahead of us—be it the pandemic, new technologies, or new models of how and where we work—there are some things we can hold certain. The workplace will be a safe, healthy, and welcoming space for employees and visitors alike for long into the future.

We can’t wait to see what you and teams around the world will do to create workplaces that people love and are excited to go to. It’s going to take determination, and a bit of trial and error, but it will be worth it to build and invest in the workplace. After all, that’s where the magic happens: At Work.

Annette Reavis Chief People Officer, Envoy