New York’s business districts have received a huge blow to their activity due to the ongoing pandemic. Retail stores have been shuttered and office towers are ghost towns.
Research from security firm Kastle Systems has found that only 14% of New York’s office workers have returned to their desks as of mid-January, which has a ripple effect on surrounding neighborhoods.
However, with vaccines being distributed, business leaders are weighing how to bring employees back into the office after they’ve adjusted to their new way of working.
While some have been quick to proclaim the death of the office, many organizations are still banking on the need for offices even with a flexible work model. For instance, Facebook signed a 730,000 square foot space in Midtown last August.
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey, 79% of employees stated that remote working was successful, but 87% still said that the office was essential to collaborating with colleagues. But coming into the office five days a week is unlikely.
“The vast majority of employees say a hybrid system of two to three days working from home and two to three days working in the office is their preferred approach,” said Deniz Caglar, co-author of the PwC report.
Employees no longer need an office for sending emails or making phone calls, which is why companies need to restructure the office to be a place that nurtures collaboration, community and camaraderie.