Only 28% of New York office workers are back in the office

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  • According to a new survey, only 28% of Manhattan office workers are back at their desks and less than half will be back by January.
  • Employers expect an average of 49% of office workers to return on weekdays by January, according to a survey of 188 large employers in Manhattan by the Partnership for New York City.
  • According to the survey, more than a third of employers expect their need for office space in Manhattan to decrease over the next five years.
  • Continued weakness in the office sector could prove costly to the New York City budget, as it means losses in property taxes.

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According to a new survey, only 28% of Manhattan office workers are back at their desks and less than half will be back by January.

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Employers expect an average of 49% of office workers to return on weekdays by January, according to a survey of 188 large employers in Manhattan by the Partnership for New York City. That’s up from the current level of 28%, yet the survey shows remote working will last longer and reduce demand for office space in New York after January.

According to the survey, more than a third of employers expect their need for office space in Manhattan to decrease over the next five years, and 13% expect their New York City workforce to decrease.

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“After the pandemic, remote working is here to stay,” said Katherine Wyld, president and CEO of Partnerships for New York City, the city’s leading business conglomerate. “Keeping offices and jobs in New York City is being considered permanently.”

The office vacancy rate in New York City now stands at a 30-year high of 18.6%. The value of the city’s commercial real estate fell by $28.6 billion, or 16.6%, this fiscal year, reducing property tax revenue by up to $1.7 billion, according to a recent report by New York State Controller Thomas Dinapoli. Property taxes are the largest source of revenue for New York City, and commercial property is the largest source of property taxes, so continued weakness in the office sector could prove costly to the city budget.

While commercial real estate landlords and developers say leasing activity is strong and workers will return to the office, many employers say the city’s high taxes, long commute and high costs could prolong any recovery in the commercial sector. Is.

As of January, only 13% of Manhattan office workers are expected to be at work five days per week, according to the survey. A third would be on three days per week, 15% would be on two days per week, 7% would be in one day per week and 21% would still be completely remote.

The industry with the highest expected average daily attendance in January would be real estate (80%), followed by law firms (61%) and financial services (47%). The industries with the lowest expected attendance in January would be accounting (36%), consulting (30%) and tech (24%).

In addition to workers living away, the city is grappling with high-earning business owners and financial partners leaving New York for tax reasons and taking their companies and employees with them, Wyld said.

“The danger is that when the higher income earners leave, they carry on with them,” Wyld said. “So now we hear about operations in asset management and other areas, not just individual high-income earners, but actual business operations moving to Texas, Tennessee, Florida.”

Wyld said 22% of financial firms plan to reduce their New York City-based workforce over the next five years — an alarming number, given that financial services are New York City’s economic backbone.

“What is going to happen in the next 5 to 10 years in terms of our economic and tax dependence, which now knows its highly mobile,” she said.

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