Offices in Middle America are seeing employees return much to the relief of landlords, but central cities are still struggling to recover.
While returning to the office remains a point of contention for many regions in the country, in other areas, it’s already been settled.
“I know almost nobody in Columbus who is fully remote,” said Grant Blosser, an employee at a financial services firm.
“Almost everybody I know is in an office most of the time here. The headlines that I read about, as far as people dragging their feet going back to the office, are about select companies and select cities.”
Cities with populations under 300,000 saw their days of work from home fall to 27% this spring from the 42% seen in October 2020. Similarly, the 10 largest cities in the U.S. saw their number of remote work days fall to 38% from the 50% during the same time frame.
In short, cities that were lax on their lockdowns have seen their offices fill back up. But in regions that have been strict about Covid policies, it’s a different story.
While employers and even politicians have practically begged employees to return to the office, the response has been mixed. Some workers want the flexibility of working from home, but others may prefer coming into an alternative office such as a coworking space near their homes.
Not only does the embrace of flexible work vary by regional norms, but it also varies by industry. Remote work can be seamless for certain businesses that rely on technology to complete projects, but customer-facing jobs may have a more difficult time with this arrangement.