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The end of the Offices? Business districts in New York face unpredictable future

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The workplace community in New York, where Covid killed more than 26,000 people, has been paused by Lockdown restrictions. The iconic commercial districts of New York now look like ghost cities, with boarded-up shops, shuttered restaurants and vacant office buildings.

By the middle of January, just 14 percent of New York’s more than one million office employees had returned to their offices, according to data gathered by security firm Kastle Systems, placing the many sandwich shops and small businesses in Midtown and Wall Street at risk. With vaccination just coming out, after spending the better part of a year operating from home, companies and corporate owners are wrestling with ways to draw employees back.

Seventy-nine percent of employees questioned said in a pwc report that operating remotely has been a positive. For collaborating with team mates and developing relationships, some 87 percent of workers said the office was important to them, facets of working life they found were simpler and more satisfying in person than through Zoom.However, few workers plan on being in offices Monday to Friday, nine to five, though.

Several large employers are now doubling down on their pledge to workplaces in an attempt to get the workforce back, betting big on New York’s corporate districts amid the confusion created by the pandemic. Facebook signed a lease on a 730,000-square-foot space in Midtown in August, while a Google spokesman told AFP that the internet giant is continuing to expand its Chelsea neighborhood campus.

Sneeze guards, touchless faucets, hand sanitizer devices, improved ventilation and distant work stations have been installed by companies such as Greenberg Traurig. It has workers come in on a “a rotational basis,” and this year the organization expects to make the transition to a new state-of-the-art facility near Grand Central Station.

Future workplaces could not be what they used to be, according to specialists. Instead of cubicles, there may be bigger, more flexible meeting spaces, anything as basic as nicer furniture, outdoor space such as a patio or terrace and “hoteling,” where staff schedule use of an office as opposed to providing their own desk for any employee, experts claim.

Offices can become more multipurpose, escalating a trend that was growing before coronavirus, such as gyms, cafes, launderettes and concierge services that make workers believe their commute is worthwhile.

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DANIEL ASSOCIATES is catering to multitude of clients across 8 different industrial verticals. We specialize in consulting assignments and business research across high growth markets, cutting edge technologies and newer applications. Our fulltime/part-time analyst and SMEs at Daniel Associates are tracking global high growth markets following the “Growth Engagement Model”. It aims at proactive collaboration with the clients to identify new opportunities, identify most important customers, write “Attack, avoid and defend” strategies, identify sources of incremental revenues for both the company and its competitors.

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