Research Special Topics

Return to Office Survey Results

September 2023

The Partnership for New York City surveyed more than 140 major Manhattan office employers between August 23 and September 15, 2023, to gauge the extent to which employees have returned to the office or are still working remotely.

The Partnership survey of employers found:

58% of Manhattan office workers are in the workplace on an average weekday post-Labor Day and the expectation is that this will only grow to 59% on a long-term basis.

  • 12% of Manhattan office workers are currently in the office full time (five days a week)
  • 16% are in four days per week
  • 44% are in three days per week
  • 16% are in two days per week
  • 7% are in one day per week
  • 6% of Manhattan office workers are fully remote

The real estate industry has the highest average daily attendance (75%) as of September, followed by financial services (65%) and law (65%).

  • Industries with below average office attendance rates include tech (53%), media (52%), and accounting (42%).
  • No industry foresees a significant increase in office attendance; “new normal” rates by sector include: real estate (76%), law (66%), financial services (65%), tech (54%), media (53%), accounting (50%).

Office attendance increased among larger firms:

  • Among firms with more than 5,000 employees, 57% of employees are currently in the office on the average weekday—up from 49% in January 2023 and 44% in September 2022—with expectations of a 59% “new normal” average daily occupancy.
  • Among firms with fewer than 500 employees, 63% of employees have returned to the office on the average weekday, up from 59% in January. Average daily attendance is expected to increase to a “new normal” of 64%.

Hybrid remains the most popular office policy, with variation in how attendance requirements are structured.

  • 64% of employers have a hybrid schedule in 2023, 27% have a combination of roles that are hybrid, remote, and in the office five days a week depending on the job function, and only 9% require daily attendance.
  • Among employers that have adopted a hybrid model, half (52%) require employees to be in the office a certain number of days per week/month, while 40% require employees to be in the office on specific weekdays (e.g., Tues-Thurs).
    • The remainder allow employees to come into the office at their own discretion without mandating an attendance threshold (7%) or only require attendance for specific events like client meetings (1%).
  • Common jobs that require full-time office presence include facilities and office management, security, corporate support, senior executive, and roles that would present risk if performed remotely.
  • Jobs commonly designated as fully remote include those in call centers, customer service and support, IT, and project management.
  • Among companies with at least one office outside of New York City, the majority (84%) said the flexibility of their remote work policy is uniform across geographies; 10% said their New York City office(s) offers less remote work flexibility than offices outside the city and 7% said their New York City office(s) offer more flexibility.