Return-to-Work Trends in New York City Reported

New York, NY, April 6, 2021-The Partnership for New York City surveyed major employers between February 24 and March 8 to project how long Manhattan’s one million office workers will continue to work remotely. Key findings are that almost half of office workers are expected to return by September 2021; most will continue to work remotely at least part-time; returning workers will rely on public transit; and business travel will permanently decline.

The Partnership found:

  • 10% of Manhattan office employees have returned to the workplace as of early March, unchanged since late October.
  • The total share of office employees expected to return by September 2021 is 45%; down slightly from late October 2020, when employers anticipated 48% would return by July 2021.
  • 14% of employers say they do not know when the majority of employees will be back in the office.
  • Employers expect that, going forward, 56% of office employees will continue to work remotely at least part of the time.
  • 81% of returning employees are expected to rely on public transit, in line with findings from the Partnership’s October (78%) and August (83%) surveys.
  • Consistent with previous survey findings, the real estate industry has been the most aggressive in bringing employees back to the office.
  • Over half (51%) of real estate employees are currently in the office-more than triple the 15% share of the next highest industry, consumer products.
  • Real estate employers slightly reduced their future expectations, with 82% of employees expected to return by September 2021, down from 87% previously expected to return by July 2021.
  • Tech employers expect 51% of employees to return by September 2021, compared to the 49% expected in-office by July 2021 as of the Partnership’s October survey. Finance and insurance employers expect 50% of employees to return by September, down slightly from the previous estimate of 52% expected by July.
  • Large employers are bringing companies back to the office at a slower pace. While 20% of employees have returned to the office among employers with fewer than 500 employees, only 8% have returned to the office at companies with over 1,000 employees.
  • 22% of employers will ultimately require employees to return to the office full-time, 66% will implement a hybrid model with some days in the office and some days working from home, and 9% will not require employees to return. The remainder (4%) said their policy will be role dependent.