New York Office Attendance Down 41 Percent Compared to Pre-Pandemic: Report

Placer.ai adds new markets to remote work metrics

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Placer.ai is expanding into the increasingly in-demand space of tracking office usage — or, as some wags might say, office emptiness.

The data analytics firm started publishing data on San Francisco and Chicago this month, and has plans to expand to other markets in the near future. It had previously tracked only New York City.

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Of the three markets tracked, year-over-three-year monthly total visits to office buildings in San Francisco were down by 67.8 percent in May, while the drop-off in New York and Chicago was less pronounced at 40.6 percent and 45.7 percent, respectively. The markets did show improvement from earlier in the year. Office foot traffic in Chicago increased each month between February and May, and New York City improved each month between February and April. San Francisco’s office usage declined during April.

“Even as pandemic restrictions eased, the prevailing culture around coming into the office seems to have changed for good,” said the report.

The indexes analyze foot traffic data from nearly 200 office buildings (53 in San Francisco, 72 in Manhattan, and 70 in Chicago). It tracks only commercial office buildings and excludes mixed-use buildings with residential and commercial.

The report found a significant correlation between COVID surges and office attendance. Traffic declined in September and October around the time of the delta surge and then again in January as many companies temporarily halted return-to-office plans during the omicron variant surge.

“As COVID concerns continue to wane, a ‘new office normal’ may soon find its equilibrium,” the report said.

David Nusbaum can be reached at dnusbaum@commercialobserver.com