New York office landlords can rejoice — but not too much.
Employers project 62 percent of workers will come back to Manhattan offices in September, according to a survey from the Partnership for New York City. That’s up 47 percent from projections made in March.
The catch? Most of these workers will only be coming back three days a week. And as of the end of May, 12 percent of Manhattan employees had returned to the workplace.
Even as vaccine rates improve and tourism begins to rebound, the future of the office is still unknown. Many companies are opting for a hybrid work schedule, where employees will come into the office a few days and work from home the other days. These hybrid schedules are resulting in some companies ditching their office space. Manhattan’s office availability rate hit an all-time high of 17.1 percent in May, according to Colliers International’s monthly market snapshot.
One of the biggest hurdles for landlords is transportation, according to the survey. Over 80 percent of companies surveyed reported that employee perceptions of mass transit — namely personal safety — are an obstacle to returning to work.
The real estate industry has brought back more workers to the office than any other industry, with 70 percent employees back, the survey found. That’s far more than the 14 percent share of the next highest industry, financial services. Real estate employers project 90 percent of employees to return by July 2021 and almost all to return by September.
Financial services companies project 61 percent of employees will be back by the end of September. Tech employers expect 40 percent to return at that point, down from the 51 percent estimate made in March.
The report also found that larger employers have brought back more employees at a slower pace. At companies with more than 5,000 employees only 8 percent have returned, while 24 percent have returned to the office among employers with fewer than 500 employees.