“Very gradual return”: Wall Street tenants, landlords lay out reopening plans

Partnership for NYC study shows just 29% of workers to return to office by year end

New York /
Jun.June 09, 2020 10:00 AM
Wall Street firms and their landlords are making plans to welcome a trickle of employees back into their buildings as New York slowly reopens. (Getty)

Wall Street firms and their landlords are making plans to welcome a trickle of employees back into their buildings as New York slowly reopens. (Getty)

When Wall Street employees return to work, there will be a very different office awaiting them.

New York City’s reopening kicked off on Monday, and offices are set to be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity in a matter of weeks. Financial workers will be returning to a new normal, with body temperature scans and socially distanced elevators, the New York Times reports.

“There’s a high degree of anxiety, as you can imagine,” RXR Realty CEO Scott Rechler told the Times. “Officing is going to be different than it was before.”

RXR, whose tenants include financial firms like UBS and Bank of America, has created an app to help tenants coordinate workdays and arrival times, minimizing social contact. Workers will also be able to view heat maps of restrooms, and request deep cleaning of workstations with the scan of a QR code.

Even with precautions in place, it appears likely that a large portion of the workforce will continue to opt to work from home well into the coming year. A recent poll by the Partnership for New York City found that companies expected just 10 percent of their employees to return to the office by August 15, and just 29 percent by year’s end.

“There’s a sense that a significant portion of workers will continue to work remotely,” Partnership president and CEO Kathryn Wylde said, noting that it would be a “very gradual return.”

Because of the logistical challenges of reopening, many companies are taking their time. Private equity firm TPG plans to keep employees working at home until after Labor Day, as does the Carlyle Group. Hedge fund Point72 and private equity firm Bain Capital have not yet set a timeline for returning to the office. [NYT] — Kevin Sun


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