Douglas Elliman sends NYC employees home as Omicron surges
Vaccinated agents still permitted to use offices; other city brokerages monitoring case surge
The surge of new Covid cases across the city driven by the Omicron variant has brokerages on edge.
Douglas Elliman’s New York City employees must work from home until at least Jan. 3, president Richard Ferrari informed staff in a memo last week.
“Employees will work from home while we monitor the situation and devise a return-to-office plan informed by CDC and state and city guidelines,” a Douglas Elliman spokesperson said.
The policy applies to those who work in marketing, IT and other administrative services for the brokerage. Agents will still be allowed to use their offices as needed, as long as they are vaccinated and wear masks.
The announcement was a direct response to the rapid rate of new infections in the city. An average of more than 8,000 new cases per day have been reported in the last week, according to data compiled by the New York Times, a 277 percent spike from two weeks ago.
Other brokerages have been eyeing the rise in infections, but have yet to send employees back home.
At Compass, both agents and employees are still using a hybrid work model, a spokesperson said. Any adjustments in the near future would be made on a location-by-location basis, rather than nationwide.
Keller Williams echoed that sentiment, with no anticipated closings just yet, though spokesperson Darryl Frost said the brokerage is closely monitoring updates surrounding the variant and will continue to follow state, local and federal guidelines regarding Covid safety measures.
Brown Harris Stevens canceled its vaccinated-only Dec. 15 holiday party, but the brokerage’s offices remain open. Some managers have opted to use staggered scheduling for staff over the holidays, a decision the brokerage supports.
“As always, anyone who feels the need to work from home is encouraged to discuss the matter with their supervisors,” said BHS spokesperson Ashley Murphy.