Just 10% of Manhattan employees are back at the office

New York lags behind other cities when it comes to workers returning to offices

Many NYC companies are not sending employees back to work in Manhattan offices (iStock)
Many NYC companies are not sending employees back to work in Manhattan offices (iStock)

Nearly three months after New York City began allowing nonessential workers to go back to their offices, most employees are still working from home.

Only about 10 percent of Manhattan workers have returned to their offices as of Sept. 18, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from CBRE Group. That’s a slight uptick from the 6 to 8 percent who went back to their offices in July, a month after the city allowed nonessential workers to return.

New York’s numbers are far below the national average of about 25 percent. Other cities have seen even higher numbers: In Dallas, about 40 percent of workers are back in the office; in Los Angeles, it’s 32 percent.

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Among the reasons cited for New York’s slow return to offices, according to the Journal: fears of contracting the virus from commuting (even though mass transit has been found to be largely safe during the pandemic), and myriad delays with New York public schools reopening.

Manhattan’s empty office buildings have had a domino effect on the city’s budget and the local economy. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $12 billion budget deficit by the end of 2021. The low office numbers have also led to a projected $9 billion drop in sales tax and other revenue, according to the Journal.

Still, a few Wall Street banks are pushing their employees to come back to work. JPMorgan Chase told senior sales and trading employees that they had to return to work unless they had child-care issues or medical conditions, although its consumer staff has been given a reprieve, according to Crain’s. Citigroup said it would allow employees to return voluntarily. [WSJ] — Keith Larsen

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