Many workplaces have remained largely unoccupied, despite some workers returning to the office.
Although there are clear positives that come from a remote or hybrid work model, low occupation rates may actually have a negative impact on the economy.
The lack of commute in particular plays a role here. From coffee shops seeing slower activity without the normal hustle and bustle of business districts, to train conductors salaries being impacted due to reduced subway fare, reduced commutes could have negative implications.
Although many workers have expressed preferring the ability to work from home, this could delay economic recovery.
For instance, New York’s subway ridership has not reached half of its pre-pandemic levels according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. New York’s public transit system is a source of the city’s economic power, but decreased commuter levels means that fare and toll revenues may not bounce back until 2023.
Some companies are optimistic about post-Labor Day activity, as many organizations have signaled that is when they will return to the office.
However, the threat of the Delta variant of Covid-19 has already caused companies like Google to push back their office return date.