"Working from home" or at least some sort of the "hybrid" work model (a combination of work-at-home and office) could be the "new normal," according to a new study of Manhattan's largest employers.
Despite COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and virus-related infections, hospitalizations, and deaths declining in recent months, the Partnership for New York City released a survey this week that found 22% of Manhattan's most prominent employers would require workers to return to the office on a full-time basis.
About 66% of respondents said they would adopt a hybrid work model, where employees will bounce between home and office during the workweek. 9% of respondents said workers would not be required to return to the office.
Respondents estimate just 45% of Manhattan's one-million office workers will return by September. Whatever model employers chose, there is no rush to bring employees back to the office.
In fact, companies are using virus pandemic as an excuse to downsize their corporate footprint in the borough. The latest report from Colliers showed just that. Office rents in Manhattan are plunging amid the glut of available office space has hit the highest on record going back two decades.
The hybrid work model or even permanent work-at-home accommodations by employers has allowed tens of thousands of white-collar workers to move out of the metro area for suburban life.
The virus pandemic has deeply scarred New York City's economy and will have long-lasting effects. Many small and medium-sized firms that rely on office worker consumption continue to see a downward spiral in business.
A recovery of Manhattan depends on the complete return of office workers back to 2019 levels, something we believe won't happen.