Research Transit and Infrastructure

Poll Reveals Employees Will Resist Return to Office until City and Subways are Safe

March 2022


A poll of the city’s private sector workers conducted by decision intelligence company Morning Consult on behalf of the Partnership for New York City reveals that concern about public safety, especially in the transit system, is the single biggest obstacle to mobilizing the return to work in the city’s office buildings.

Ninety-four percent of those polled said that not enough is being done to address homelessness and mental illness in the city, followed by assaults and gun violence, citing these as major contributors to safety on the streets and subways. Eighty-four percent say conditions in the city have worsened in the past two years and 40% say they are considering moving out of New York City.

Despite these concerns, over 70% of employees express a commitment to New York City and want to be part of its recovery. Many provided ideas of how their companies can work with government to help, including investments and philanthropic support for homeless and mental health services and increased patronage of local small businesses.

Key findings include:

  • Seventy-four percent of public transit commuters say safety on transit has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic. Forty-six percent say not enough is being done to address turnstile jumping in the transit system.
  • Fifty-seven percent of employees say not enough is being done about shoplifting in New York City.
  • Only 38% of employees are optimistic about the future of the city, while 62% say they are pessimistic or unsure.
  • Employees feel strongly that their company should hold public officials accountable for taking action to fight crime and restore quality of life in the city.
  • In addition to public safety concerns, almost 60% of employees say not enough is being done to address affordable housing and small business recovery.
  • Fifty percent of employees say more needs to be done to address public education.

This poll was conducted between February 17-March 11, 2022, among a sample of 9,386 adults who work in New York City and live in the metropolitan area. The interviews were conducted online. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.