Post-COVID NYC workers could fall to less than 50% by fall

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A New York restaurant owner reflects on the coronavirus pandemic one year later. FOX Business’ Connell McShane with more.

Even with vaccine rollouts underway, a new survey estimated of New York's one million office workers less than 50% are expected to return by fall.

As employers seek to reimagine the workplace in a post-COVID world, only 45% of workers are expected to return to the skyscrapers that make up the Big Apple's skyline by September 2021 according to a survey of major employers by the Partnership for New York City.

At present, 90%of New York City’s office workers are still working remotely.

Only 22% of bosses will demand workers come back to the office full-time.

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Kathryn Wylde, the organization’s president and chief executive officer, told Fox Business: “Despite the rollout of vaccine for COVID-19, the pandemic experience seems to have permanently changed work and commuting patterns. Employers anticipate that their office personnel will want more flexibility in their schedules, with most working remotely for part of the week.”

The survey said about 66% of companies would embrace a hybrid of remote work and office days; 9% wouldn’t require office visits, and 4% said conditions would be dependent on the job’s necessities.

MetaProp is a property technology venture capital firm with an office in New York City, and more than 130 portfolio companies as investments.

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It’s estimated 45% of roughly 1 million office workers on the New York island known as the center of capitalism won’t be back to the workplace by September. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Aaron Block, its managing partner and co-founder, told Fox Business said the city’s recovery is dependent on office workers.

“‘Work from anywhere’ includes the NYC office and I believe that it is everyone's responsibility to spend more time in NYC spaces to help the city rebound quickly.”

He said his firm and its portfolio companies “have been actively using NYC physical spaces for internal collaboration and guest visits through the pandemic.”

Block said office space will adapt to future ingenuity.

“Concert venues didn't disappear when streaming music captured our imaginations.  Local bank branches didn't disappear when remote/mobile banking began to emerge.  We use the physical spaces differently but they still serve important places in our tech-enabled lives. Similarly, I can safely say that office space will not disappear now that we have figured out to do a lot of our work remotely.”

Broker Jason Haber of Warburg Realty told Fox Business he’s betting on returns to work: “If you build it safety, they will come.  As COVID fades over the next several months with increased vaccinations there will be an increased desire to go the distance and return to the office.”

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The nonprofit organization conducted its latest survey in late February and early March; the initial survey was conducted in late May in A Call for Action and Collaboration and additional surveys were released in August and October.

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