The Partnership for New York City surveyed major employers between January 10 and January 18, 2022, to gauge the impact of the omicron variant on the pace of return to office among New York City employers.
Three-fourths of employers delayed their return to the office due to the increase in cases caused by the omicron variant and 22% of companies closed their offices to non-essential employees. The majority of employers (61%) expect average daily attendance in their Manhattan offices will exceed 50% by the end of Q1 2022.
The Partnership survey of employers found:
- The majority of employers—75%—delayed their return-to-office plans due to the increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.
- 22% of companies are currently unable to provide an estimate of when office attendance will exceed 50%, with several noting that increased office attendance is contingent on a decline in COVID-19 cases.
- The omicron variant caused employers to change return-to-office protocols:
- 34% of companies reinstated mask mandates
- 22% of companies closed the office to non-essential employees
- 10% suspended in-person meetings
- 7% suspended business travel
- 5% stopped permitting guests in the office
The Partnership asked employers to estimate when average daily attendance in their Manhattan offices will exceed 50%:
- Only 16% of employers say that average daily attendance at their Manhattan offices currently exceeds 50%; an additional 7% say office attendance will exceed that threshold by the end of January 2022.
- 38% of employers expect daily office attendance will exceed 50% later in Q1 2022.
- 11% of employers expect daily office attendance will exceed 50% in Q2 2022.
- 5% of employers expect daily office attendance will exceed 50% in Q3 2022.
- 2% of companies expect daily office attendance will not exceed 50% until 2023 or later.
- 22% of companies are currently unable to provide an estimate of when office attendance will exceed 50%.
The Partnership also asked employers about their current vaccination and testing policies:
- 12% of companies require that all employees are vaccinated and have received a booster shot by a specified date.
- 25% of companies require that employees who return to the office are tested regularly.
- 7% of employers require that all guests provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before visiting the office, while 6% require a negative test for unvaccinated guests only.
- The majority of surveyed employers have offices in Midtown West (37%), Midtown East (34%) or the Financial District (16%).
- The majority of respondents are in financial services (36%), real estate (16%), law (11%), tech (5%), consulting (5%) and media (5%).