The Post-Covid Return to Office Has Stalled

New York, NY, May 17, 2023-"When average city office-occupancy rates at the start of the year surpassed 50% for the first time during the pandemic, many landlords viewed this milestone as a sign that employees were finally resuming their former work habits,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Those office-usage rates have barely budged as most companies have settled into a hybrid work strategy that shows little sign of fading.

“About 58% of companies allow employees to work a portion of their week from home, according to Scoop Technologies, a software firm that developed an index monitoring workplace strategies of close to 4,500 companies.

“The number of companies that require employees to be in the office full time has actually declined to 42%, from 49% three months ago, Scoop said. Employees at companies with hybrid strategies work an average of 2.5 days a week in the office.

“As long as unemployment remains low, workers have the leverage to entrench these policies, said Robert Sadow, Scoop’s chief executive and co-founder.

“‘Employees are saying we are going to push really, really hard against being required to be in the office five days a week,’ Mr. Sadow said. ‘Most companies in the current labor market have been reluctant to push [back] that hard.’

“Frustration is growing in cities that are suffering from declining real-estate values, setting the stage for lower property-tax revenues and pressuring bars, restaurants and other small businesses that rely on five-day-a-week office workers. In New York, each employee working at home rather than going into the office costs city businesses about $4,600 in sales annually, according to WFH Research, a think tank that tracks workplace arrangements.”