Watercoolers have reportedly emerged as a key way for companies to track office occupancy levels during the ongoing return-to-office push.
Data on the amount of water poured from Internet-linked models sold by Bevi has moved in tandem with office attendance levels reported at business across the country, Bloomberg reported last week, citing data from the Boston-based company.
Some hedge funds and investors have expressed interest in examining the watercooler data to glean some insights about office occupancy rates, Bevi CEO Sean Grundy told Bloomberg.
“The amount of water people drink turns out to be a good indicator of how much time they’re spending in the office,” Grundy said. “For us, it’s positive that it’s been trending up.”
The average volume of water dispensed by Bevi machines in 2021 was 28.1% of its pre-pandemic level in 2019, the outlet reported. That same year, office occupancy rates across 10 major US cities hit 30%, according to data compiled by Kastle Systems.
Watercooler usage jumped to 43.8% in 2022, close to the 41.6% occupancy rate reported by Kastle. So far this year, the average monthly water dispensed has topped 50.5%, slightly higher than a 45.6% return-to-office rate.
Bevi has provided watercoolers to more than 5,000 US businesses, according to the report.
The Post has reached out to Bevi for further comment.
A growing number of CEOs are aiming for more talks around the office watercooler while pushing employees to spend more time on site.
Amazon and Disney are among the companies that have recently stepped up their office attendance requirements.
Disney CEO Bob Iger cited the “tremendous value in being together with the people you work with” while ordering corporate staffers back at least four days per week beginning this month.
Some workers have pushed back on efforts to track attendance through badge swipes or other methods of enforcement.
At Amazon, staffers recently called on CEO Andy Jassy to “immediately cancel” his returttn-to-office plan.
Across the US, office occupancy rates are hovering between 40% and 60% of their pre-pandemic level – figures that fall far short of return-to-office numbers in Europe and Asia, according to a Wall Street Journal report.