HomeNewsletterSurvey: one-third of Manhattan workers won’t return to offices after Labor Day

Survey: one-third of Manhattan workers won’t return to offices after Labor Day

Manhattan employees are expected to return to their offices after Labor Day, but not all of them, Commercial Observer reports. Businesses expect approximately two thirds of their workers will return to in-person work in September, according to a new Partnership for New York City survey. The 62% figure is up 17% from when the survey was done in March, but it still means that a third of Manhattan employees won’t be back in the office after Labor Day. Meanwhile, the rest of the workers who are expected to return might only be in the office for three days a week.

The Partnership for New York City survey focused on businesses located in Midtown and the Financial District. The report cited the pace of vaccinations in New York City as one of the primary reasons more employees were confident about going back to in-office work. Approximately half of New York State’s population has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state’s vaccine tracker.

Protective measures against COVID-19 and employees are guiding businesses to use a “hybrid” work model so that offices aren’t completely full five days a week, the survey said. About 71% of employers plan to use a rotating office schedule. Additionally, 63% of businesses that adopt the hybrid model will require workers to be in the office three days a week.

Not everyone’s ready to return to the office

The survey results are just projections, however and there’s currently a big gap between the estimates and reality. As of May, just 12% of employees have come back to their offices, Commercial Observer reports. That’s just a 2% increase from March. There are still a lot of workers who don’t want to go back to the office in September. A recent Bloomberg study revealed that 39% of the respondents said they’d quit their job before they gave up remote work.

About 84% of employers stated that public transit safety concerns are a big obstacle to getting workers back to the office. The status of the pandemic is the main factor that’s determining people’s return to work, with vaccination rates coming in second. Crime and public safety, school re-openings and childcare availability were among the top concerns for opening offices again, according to the survey.

Real estate companies lead return to the office charge

The real estate industry has had the quickest return to work—70% of real estate employees are current in their respective offices, Commercial Observer reports. The next closest industry, financial services has seen only 14% of its workers return. Real estate employers expect 90% of workers to return by July and have almost a full return by September.

Most industries have raised their office occupancy expectations, except tech companies, which say they only plan for 40% of their workforce to return by the end of September. The industry had a 51% expectation rate in the Partnership for New York City’s March survey. Twitter opted for a permanent remote work policy last year, while Google plans to implement a hybrid policy with employees reporting to the office three days a week. Facebook will open its Manhattan offices next month at 25% capacity.

Financial services companies are optimistic that their 14% return rate will increase to 61% by the end of September. JPMorgan Chase requested its United States employees to come back to the office in July. The company is not requiring employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The same goes for most employers—about 72% of businesses that the Partnership for New York City surveyed will not require their workers to get vaccinated. Of that group, 22% said they’d encourage employees getting vaccinated, however.

Meanwhile, about two-thirds of employers will also not require a negative COVID-19 test for employees to come back to the office, according to the survey. An exception will be made if an employee shows COVID-19 symptoms or was recently exposed to someone who tested positive. Just 13% of businesses will require regular tests for vaccinated employees.

Joe Dyton can be reached at joed@fifthgenmedia.com.

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