Where is everybody? City workers still home

Under 10 percent back in Manhattan offices; Google extends work-from-home

TRD New York /
Jul.July 27, 2020 11:00 AM
Only 9 percent of workers had returned to Midtown and 8 percent to Downtown. (iStock)

Only 9 percent of workers had returned to Midtown and 8 percent to Downtown. (iStock)

Echo, echo, echo…

Although New York office buildings have been allowed to reopen, not even 1 in 10 workers have returned.

The world’s largest commercial real estate servicer, CBRE, told the Wall Street Journal that only 9 percent of workers had returned to Midtown and 8 percent to Downtown.

William Rudin, whose Rudin Management Company oversees 16 office towers and 10 million square feet of Class A space, told the Journal that “people are being rightfully careful.”

Workers’ reemergence varies depending on their industry, with some of the biggest companies looking to reduce their office footprint.

Financial firms that rely on technology difficult to replicate at home have been more eager to bring their employees back to the office, although even JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have kept occupancy to about 20 percent.

Technology companies, however, have not pushed workers to return, in part because their operations are typically possible from anywhere with broadband.

Google just decided to keep its workers remote until July 2021, Microsoft continues to recommend that employees do so, and Twitter has made optional work-from-home permanent.

John Vazquez, head of real estate at Verizon Communications, said that whether schools reopen in the fall will be a litmus test for many of its employees.

Were schools to reopen for two or three days a week, as New York City is planning, “that’s not enough for working parents,” Vazquez said, suggesting that anything less than a full reopening would keep many of its employees home for longer. [WSJ] — Orion Jones


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