US

Grim outlook for return of NYC’s office workers amid COVID-19

Grim outlook for return of NYC's office workers amid COVID-19

Big Apple employers are growing more skittish about bringing their workforce back into the office with the threat of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study by a leading business industry group.

Just 15 percent of Manhattan office employees are expected to return to their desks by the end of 2020 — down from an estimated 26 percent in August, The Partnership for New York City found in a recent survey of major companies.

The number of employees expected to return by July 2021 also decreased from 54 to 48 percent. Manhattan hosted 1 million officer workers before the pandemic hit in March.

Only 10 percent of the borough’s office employees have come back to their desks as of late October, up just 2 percent from mid-August.

“We always knew that resurgence of the coronavirus was the biggest threat to our economic recovery and the survey shows that the outbreaks in the city and elsewhere have discouraged workers from returning  to public places and offices,” said the Partnership’s president Kathryn Wylde.

“This is not a statement about preference for remote work, but rather about personal health and safety,” she said.

Nearly 90 percent of employers said COVID-19 concerns including vaccine availability the safety of the office environment, and a testing strategy were the biggest factors in continuing a work-from-home policy.

Mayor de Blasio also recently cited COVID-19 hotspots in Brooklyn and Queens as the reason for pausing plans to bring over 300,000 municipal staffers back to city agencies. Last week he drew widespread criticism for dismissing the importance of midtown Manhattan to the city’s economic recovery.

The survey found that nearly one-third of employers just can’t say when their workers return to the office. They expect 39 percent of employees who do come back will still work remotely half of the time.

The real estate industry has led the way in returning to a pre-COVID culture with 73 percent of their staffers already back in the office. But tech companies actually seem to prefer the new, work-from-home model. They expect less than half of employees back by next summer, down from an estimated 74 percent in August.

Employers believe most of their workers will use public transit once they come back to the city and are offering new transit benefits to incentivize their return including both subsidized passes plus deals on parking and ride shares.

About the author

Avatar

James Thompson

James Thompson has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Report Door one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *