Major tenants refuse to return to the office during the holidays

Banking, tech among major players to announce prolonged work from home plans

Momentum for returning to offices has stalled, if not reversed, in many sectors. (iStock)
Momentum for returning to offices has stalled, if not reversed, in many sectors. (iStock)

While the arrival of coronavirus vaccines spurs hope for commercial landlords, office attendance is thinning out on Wall Street and elsewhere in New York City.

For Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, employee presence has already been diminished. At JPMorgan Chase, staffing levels have hovered around 20 percent in New York for much of the fall, but executives now expect more people to work from home as holidays approach. Bank of America has dialed back invitations to return to the office, according to Bloomberg.

Tech companies are doing the same. Facebook, Google and Slack have already promised their employees that they may work from home through the summer, according to the Commercial Observer. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has gone as far as to say that employees can work remotely forever.

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Those announcements come despite the signing of major leases. Facebook, for example, signed on for 730,000 square feet of office space at Vornado Realty Trust’s redeveloped Farley Post Office in August.

Companies have seen rising pressure for landlords to return to the office, but large tenants don’t seem to see it as an issue. As a solution, Twitter has subleased thousands of square feet at its West 17th Street location to other companies, including Lyft and Netflix.

“They’re waiting for the vaccine to be distributed, and then they say, ‘What are we? Do we need less space, more space?’” David Falk, president of Newmark’s tri-state region, told the Commercial Observer. “I think it’s all vaccine-related.”

[CO and Bloomberg] — Sasha Jones