CoreNet Global NYC (CoreNet) is pleased to deliver new research that reveals an inside look into the strategies that New York City’s largest employers are implementing for in-office work following the retreat of Covid. Among the biggest findings of the survey, “Back to Work: What do NYC Occupiers Think?” was 74% of respondents saying they anticipated the majority of their workforce to return by the fall. In a strong show of support for the city’s future, 64% of respondents said their firms were not changing location strategy post-Covid to have fewer people based in New York City.
The findings, described in more detail below, reveal that a shift in workplace strategy did not reduce most companies’ preference for space in New York City. They also illuminate the types of new technologies and wellness programs being implemented as companies actively assess their operations and culture post-Covid.
“We’re proud to be able to leverage our deep occupier network to provide insight into how companies are perceiving and preparing for New York City’s next great comeback story. It’s also exciting to see our largest corporate employers making wellness a priority, because they are leading the way forward to normalize wellness for workforces across all sizes of companies,” Neil Austin, CoreNet NYC Chair and Vice President of Portfolio Management and Transaction Services at Omnicom Group.
· The majority of respondents (43%) said their firms would operate with a hybrid strategy, but were unsure of the frequency, while just under one-third (29%) said employees would be hybrid 1-3 days in the office. About 20% said they would return to the same level of in-office work as before the pandemic. Just 7% were going fully remote.
· As part of the phase-in of occupancy planning after covid, two-thirds (66%) said their companies were not increasing square footage per person as part of occupancy planning post-Covid, while 18% of employers said they would do so. Of respondents, 16% said this decision had not been made yet.
· In the long-term, around one-third (31%) reported that their firms would allocate for more space per person in New York City, while 53% said more space would not be allocated and 16% stated that decision would be made later.
· 55% of respondents said they were not planning to change the layouts of their NYC offices, while 20% were actively planning for this and 16% are opting to decide later. Nine percent said they were redesigning their NYC office layouts.
· The lion’s share of respondents (64%) said their companies were not changing location strategy to have fewer people in NYC. Nine percent of respondents said their companies would be changing location strategy to have fewer people in NYC, while 27% responded that their companies might undertake this strategy.
· 52% of respondents said their firms were not requiring vaccinations to return to in-office work in NYC, while 12% said vaccines would be required and 37% were unsure
· 34% of respondents said their firms were providing resources toward obtaining vaccine appointments, while 56% said no resources would be made available and 10% reported their employers might offer assistance
· 77% of respondents said their employers were not offering on-site Covid testing, with 13% reporting this testing was being provided
· One-quarter of respondents said their staff was concerned about taking public transit, while 56% reported their staff was apprehensive but planned to use it.
· A majority (69%) said their employers have implemented programs to support wellness initiatives, with 20% reporting their employers have not implemented wellness programs and 10% responding that these programs were coming soon
· A commercial building’s attainment of the WELL standard was important to 40% of respondents, while 38% said it was not important and 22% was indifferent
In planning for their New York City employees’ return to work, the following wellness programs were cited most frequently as being implemented: obtaining the WELL Standard; the Wellocity Wave telehealth platform; gym reimbursement; unlimited PTO; video-free Fridays; wellness points for receiving the vaccine as a medical premium discount; wellness newsletters; virtual classes and more oversight surrounding mental health.
“Wellness has become a crucial component in workplace planning as countless studies have quantified the link between productivity and wellness. The pandemic has only amplified the importance of healthy employees and buildings. In the coming years, we expect that more companies will follow suit in prioritizing wellness initiatives taken into consideration,” said Sheena Gohil, CoreNet NYC Advisor and Executive Managing Director at Colliers.
Technology & Management
· The pace of implementation of technology changes to accommodate hybrid workforces was split, with 37% said they were adding new technologies to support hybrid workers; 31% said they were not doing so and 33% reporting they were planning to do so.
· 53% of respondents said their firms would work internally to teach employees to manage a hybrid workforce, including the new technologies needed, while 6% said they were hiring an external consultant and 27% said they were unsure about the teaching approach
· 63% said they would be leading change management internally while 20% said they were unsure about their next steps in change management and 4% said they were hiring an external consultant. Meanwhile, 14% reported no changes to implement.
Five technology solutions were widely cited as being added to company offices: Density counters to track the amount of people in space; virtual amenities for food and fitness; touchless features; company apps; and occupancy and environmental sensors. Some respondents indicated that the use of vaccine passports was a conversation being had at high levels and others said they were adding space and real estate modules to their current Facilities and Asset Management Tools.
The top-cited reservation and concierge systems that are being rolled out include Robyn, Flowscape, OfficeTogether, Embrava, EMS, Serraview, Couldbooking, Matrix, FM Systems, Condeco and Modo Workplace.
“A hybrid workforce is the new normal for corporate occupiers and a thoughtful approach to technology and connectivity is the only way to maintain culture across the workplace experience. We are seeing companies embracing this stance, and that decision will keep them future-ready,” said Tommy O’Halloran, CoreNet NYC President and Vice President of Business Development at Structure Tone.
CoreNet Global NYC conducted this anonymous survey of 60 senior-level occupiers with major offices in New York City.
About CoreNet Global NYC
CoreNet Global New York City Chapter’s mission is to advance innovation and professional development for the corporate real estate sector, and to serve as a thought leader and forum for current industry issues. The organization’s more than 1,000 members represent corporate end-users and service providers from New York’s largest publicly held companies at the forefront of real estate planning, development and innovation, including Fortune 500 companies generating over $1 billion in annual revenue. For more information about the CoreNet Global New York City Chapter, visit http://newyorkcity.corenetglobal.org.