While restaurants, stores, and hotels have begun to see customers return, many office workers have yet to return to their places of work after adjusting to working at home, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Kastle Systems, a security company that operates nationwide, notes that less than three-in-10 office workers have returned to their company’s building in 10 major American cities, which includes New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., based on data from access-card swipes at more than 2,500 office buildings located in various cities. They estimate that an average of 31% of office workers have returned to the places where they worked before the pandemic began.
Office workers "are not coming back in force yet," according to Mark Ein, chairman of Kastle Systems. "Habits that have been formed over the last year and a half are going to take a while to break."
Kastle says that while some notable companies like Salesforce in San Francisco and JP Morgan Chase in New York City have reopened their offices, less than 21% of workers located in those cities have gone back to their offices.
"To be honest, a majority of tech companies had already been examining what a remote-first environment would look like long before the pandemic," Jennifer Stojkovic, executive director of the nonprofit technology trade association sf.citi, told NBC Bay Area. "So we heard from a lot of companies that this means when employees come into the space they don't necessarily have a desk with their name on it. It's more of a roaming model."
"Remote work is really going to stay here," Frank Steemers, a senior economist for the business research nonprofit The Conference Board, told USA Today. It’s "probably going to be one of the main organizational legacies of the pandemic."
James Mettham, executive director of New York City’s Flatiron-23rd Street business partnership, told the Journal that restaurants and stores that rely on local office workers have been asking "where are all the office workers."
He noted that about 100,000 people would commute into the Flatiron area every day for work before the pandemic, adding that "Everyone knows full well that unless we’re getting a much bigger chunk of those 100,000 people, it’s going to be difficult to continue."
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