MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- Governor Kathy Hochul is urging New York City employers to bring their workers back now, after a new survey showed the majority of people are still working remotely.
A survey done by Partnership for New York City found that only 28% of Manhattan office workers are back in the city on an average workday.
"Of Manhattan's one million office workers, 28% are back. And of those, only 8% are back full time," said Kathryn Wylde who heads Partnership for New York City.
Just 8%. That's less than one in 10 desks occupied every day.
Lynne Ervin lost her hospitality job during the pandemic and now works a switchboard full-time and in-person in a giant Midtown office building which, these days, is pretty lonely.
"This whole building's cafeteria, it's not 200 people, it's not," Ervin said.
Wylde says it's a big culture change.
When employers were asked to rank factors to which they attribute the slow return to the office, the status of COVID ranked as the largest factor, with 48% citing it as the primary concern.
Hochul says short of banning Zoom, which she says she won't do, people need to get back to work.
"It is very safe here and we want people to come back. They're missing the vitality, the energy and the innovation that is spurred by the connections of human beings," Hochul said.
Employers expect that nearly half of workers will be in the office on an average weekday by January 30 of next year, with 57% in the office at least three days a week while 21% remain fully remote.
The survey shows that the real estate industry has by far the highest average daily attendance (77%) as of late October, followed by financial services (27%) and law firms (27%).
However, one third of companies surveyed said they expect to reduce their city office space requirements in the next five years.
This means remote work is here to stay.
The irony is that the city's economy is humming. Work is being done, just in large part, from home.
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