By: Ilana Siyance
On Sunday, an advocate for numerous big New York City employers warned that the troublesome crime rate may lead to a “long-term decline” in employees returning to in-person jobs in Manhattan office buildings.
Currently, just 39 percent of Manhattan employees work in-person, commuting to the office, on an average week day, despite the declining health risk posed by COVID-19, as per the nonprofit entitled Partnership for New York City. The organization’s report, which will come out on Monday, adds that “most” desk employees in the five boroughs still only go to the office about three days a week. Some businesses, including those in Manhattan’s real-estate industry, have a much stronger attendance of roughly 83 percent. Kathryn Wylde, CEO of Partnership for New York City, projected that by September “at least half” of employees will be back in their offices every day.
As reported by the NY Post, the organization which represents NYC business leaders said crime is the culprit, and if things don’t improve, it will have an impact on businesses. “When we asked employers what’s the factor that would be most effective in bringing people back to the office, they said, ‘Reduce the presence of the homeless and mentally ill individuals, and expand police presence on the streets and subways,’” Wylde said Sunday speaking on WABC radio’s “The Cats Roundtable”. “There’s no mystery here. No matter what employers do to encourage [their employees to return to the office], … if we can’t solve the public safety problem,” she explained. “If we can’t do that, we are going to see a long-term decline in the presence of folks who are willing to take the subway and come back to the office.”
Though gun violence was down last month, NYPD data showed that overall major crimes jumped 34.2 percent in the month of April, led by an increase in felony assaults, robberies, burglaries and thefts. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has encouraged workers to return to their pre-pandemic commutes, recently admitted that the traditional five-day work commute may likely be a thing of the past now. Mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly called for New Yorkers to get back to their desks, saying, “You can’t stay home in your pajamas all day,” and adding that the return will be key for the city’s economic recovery. The mayor has also introduced initiatives to prevent homeless people from encamping in the subways. Despite this, based on its budget reports last month, City Hall still expects that more than 20 percent of office space in the five boroughs will remain empty through at least 2026.