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Manhattan Bosses Scale Back Hopes for September Office Return

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 8/25/2021 Natalie Wong
a group of people in a large city landscape: New York City As Covid Restrictions Are Lifted After Reaching Vaccine Goal © Bloomberg New York City As Covid Restrictions Are Lifted After Reaching Vaccine Goal

(Bloomberg) -- Manhattan bosses have lowered their expectations for a return-to-office next month with cases of Covid-19’s delta variant on the rise. 

Employers now see 41% of office workers returning by Sept. 30, down from an estimate of 62% in May, according to a survey by the Partnership for New York City conducted Aug 9-20. So far, about 23% of workers have returned to the workplace, up from 12% in May. 

Major companies from BlackRock Inc. and PwC to Facebook Inc. have delayed their return-to-office plans amid the rise of delta, which has been shown to spread even among vaccinated people. Many Wall Street firms are reworking policies, pushing back the date they expect staffers to return, requiring workers to get vaccinated or insisting on masks.

About 44% of employers have delayed return plans because of the rise in Covid-19 cases, though 54% have not made changes, according to the Partnership, a nonprofit that represents the city’s business community. The majority of survey respondents were financial-services firms. 

Most employers are adopting a rotating schedule, where staffers can work remotely for part of the week, the survey showed. Only 26% of companies are requiring full-time office work. 

About 58% of firms that disclosed their vaccination policy are requiring all employees to have shots. Just 37% of companies reported not having a vaccination policy. 

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