Shopping is delayed in NYC; only 4 out of 10 workers to return by October

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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They'll take Manhattan...not. Delta variant keeps workers--and shoppers--out of Manhattan a little longer.

Major Manhattan employers surveyed this month said that just 23% of office workers have returned to the office. The slow return will drag on a while, and Manhattan retailers will continue to feel the effects.

Employers expect that only 41% will be back at their desks when fall arrives at the end of September. When surveyed in May by the same agency—Partnership for New York City—they said that they expected 62% of workers to be back by that time.

The arrival of the Delta variant is the reason. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said that they had delayed return-to-office programs after the onset of the variant. Most of them (42%) said their delays would last a month or less, 18% expected the stall to last two or three months, and 10% figured they’ll be waiting three months or more.

Regular readers of Chain Store Age’s Real Estate section will be honored to know that they are the essential white-collar employees prowling Fifth Avenue, Midtown, and the Upper East Side. Eighty-five percent of real estate employees are currently working in their offices compared to just 29% of financial services workers, and 26% of consultants.

The streets won’t fill again until companies with 5,000-plus cancel their office bans.  As of now, only 25% of their workers are in the house.  Firms with fewer than 500 employees, meanwhile, reported that 34% of their people were back at their desks.

Partnership for New York City learned that the vast majority (70%) of employers in New York have adopted a rotating or “hybrid” office schedule in which employees can work remotely for part of the week. Twenty-six percent of employers want their workers in the office full time, and 5% said they’d not require employees to return to the office at all.