Occupancy Barometer

Methodology and FAQ


  • About Kastle's Workplace Occupancy Barometer

To provide some clarity on the issues facing American businesses, Kastle has been studying keycard, fob and KastlePresence app access data from the 2,600 buildings and 41,000 businesses we secure across 47 states. We’re analyzing the anonymized data to identify trends in how Americans are returning to the office.

The Barometer weekly report summarizes access control data among our business partners in ten major metro areas, not a national statistical sample. Charted percentages reflect unique authorized user entries in each market relative to a pre-COVID baseline, averaged weekly.

  • The Data Science Behind the Back to Work Barometer

The best way to measure how many people are returning to the office is to actually count them. And the most reliable way to do that, with the largest sample size, is using daily security card swipes. For over two years, the Kastle Barometer has published occupancy return rates in ten selected cities with over 300,000 Kastle users (out of the 1.8 million total Kastle users globally).
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  • Methodology

The Barometer is a measure of current average weekly (first time a day) swipe activity across commercial office buildings Kastle secures, compared to a weekly average from before office use dropped due to COVID-19. Specifically, Kastle used a daily credential use activity average during a three-week window in February 2020 when activity was the highest.

Kastle isolated only the first credential use of the day for each cardholder to eliminate any impact from multiple entries to multiple spaces over the course of the day. The daily averages of first swipe activity were then used to create a weekly pre-pandemic baseline average (essentially a 100% baseline starting point). The baseline is not a measure of maximum occupancy, but rather peak, normal occupancy over a three-week period, including normal work absences. Therefore, it is possible for a subsequent week to see numbers slightly above 100% in a given city.

Each week, Kastle looks at daily first-time credential activity for the same set of buildings and creates a weekly average that is compared back to the pre-pandemic baseline and shown as a percentage.

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  • What timeframe does the Barometer cover?

The Barometer week runs Thursday through Wednesday, and weekly reports are typically published on Tuesdays. For example: the report published on Tuesday, October 4 reflects data from Thursday, September 22 through Wednesday, September 28. Federal holidays and weekends are not included in the data.

  • Can I get Kastle data for a city not included on the Barometer?

Kastle secures buildings in cities across the country. We do not publicly release data for cities outside of the ten Barometer markets due to sample sizes for statistical analysis. We occasionally share limited data reflecting other markets with government and nonprofit organizations and partners, but it is not intended for public consumption.

  • What is the margin of error?

The Barometer relies on Administrative Data (card swipes), which have proven very consistent and stable throughout the pandemic. The Barometer reflects the universe of all transactions, rather than a sample, and, therefore, has no margin of error. “Margins of error” are statistical measures which derive from expected errors due to sampling processes.

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