Office workers return to NYC in higher numbers but fall short of pre-pandemic levels

Thursday, September 7, 2023
Is the hybrid work week here to stay?
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A recent survey showed that we are back to just 64% of people working in office compared to pre-pandemic levels. N.J. Burkett has more.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- As New York City continues to rebound from the pandemic, one of the last hurdles to returning to "fully normal" is the work schedule.

There are more people working in more places in New York City than at any time since the pandemic. Now, roughly two out of three office workers are back in their buildings.

Keith DeCoster analyzed the numbers for the Real Estate Board of New York. Not surprisingly, he says midweek is the busiest for in-person work.

"Folks are coming in three or four days," he said. "We are seeing more visitation on Mondays. The visitation rate is certainly higher in the middle of the week. That rate rose to 73%, roughly midweek days. I think there's no mystery but Friday is much lower, around 40%."

Most employers are expecting their workers to be in the office at least three days a week, and some as many as four days, according to Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City.

"We're going to move forward and probably stabilize with this hybrid work model, as employers call it, where it's mandatory to be in the office three or four days a week and one day, remote work from home."

Mass transit data backs that up, with more people riding the subways, the buses and the suburban commuter rail lines. But still, it's roughly one-third short of pre-pandemic levels.

However, real estate prices have rebounded sharply, and tourism is at 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and it's rising.

"It's kind of an exciting time, and for places like New York City, which is great at reinventing itself and has so many talented designers and innovators and thinkers. We're in a good spot to lead in this kind of transformation," Wylde said.

It's taking years, but many experts believe New York City is adapting to a hybrid workweek that's here to stay.


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