Business Briefs: The Workplace Occupancy Barometer, Pop-Up Tips & What Does Your Tone Say?

Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Workplace Occupancy Barometer

Kastle Systems is an operation that serves more than 41,000 businesses in 138 cities across 47 states. It’s a security company; the people you call for keycards and fobs. That line of work makes it uniquely situated to count the number of people working in offices. It’s a figure worth counting, as COVID has introduced a spectrum of remote work options. Many jobs that used to be entirely office-bound are now remote on a full- or part-time basis. 

So Kastle has created the Workplace Barometer, to assess how many people are working in the office in the aftermath of a pandemic. Based on keyfob and swipe activity, it compares current active occupancy rates to the active occupancy rate on March 3, 2020. 

Right now we’re at 36.4% of what we were, in terms of office time. 

On the high end are Texas cities like Houston and Dallas, both of which are presently above 50% occupancy. On the low end is San Francisco, below 25%. Nationally, occupancy was higher in early December, before Omicron. 

Kastle is placing its bets on continued increases in occupancy. You can watch too, as it updates its barometer every week at

Workplace Barometer, Kastle Systems

Pop-Up Better

Pop-ups have a long, proud history in the retail scene. And while they can be random, spur-of-the-moment events, more often they are strategically planned. 

Researchers surveyed 290 organizations to determine why they hosted pop-ups, and generated some advice for others on how to plan a successful one. 

The top three most popular reasons to host a pop up are:

  1. To increase Brand Awareness (66% mentioned this)
  2. To create a connection with customers (63% said this)
  3. To introduce a new produce (48%)

About 80% of the organizations thought their pop-ups were successful. 

In terms of the best approach for designing your own pop-up, the researchers offered four tips.  

  1. Think of it as a marketing initiative rather than a retail operation
  2. Form strategic partnerships when selecting a location
  3. Make it buzzworthy and memorable, create an experience
  4. Create a sense of urgency…

Of course, that sense of urgency is built in, because pop-ups are inherently here today, and gone tomorrow. 

Read more here

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Contemporary Pop-up Shops – Mark S. Rosenbaum, Karen Edwards & Germán Contreras Ramirez, Business Horizons

Voice and Funding

When you’re looking for investors in a new project, you want to come across as both passionate and prepared. That’s intuitively the most attractive combination, yes?

So researchers at Texas Christian University ran an experiment on how our speaking tone and inflection affects perceptions of our passion and preparedness. 

They started with a script that pitched a project then they had one actor make a recording of the pitch four different ways 1) enthusiastically, 2) serious and fiery, 3) somber, and 4) friendly.

320 participants listened to the pitches, rating them for passion and preparedness. Approaches 1 and 2 got high marks for passion. But as for sounding prepared, 2 and 4 rose to the top. 

So, to hit both marks in one shot: serious and fiery is the way to go. 

Read more here

Can You Hear Me Now? – Thomas H. Allison, Benjamin J. Warnick, Blakley C. Davis & Melissa S. Cardon, Journal of Business Venturing