NYC Starts Program to Let City Employees Work Remotely 2 Days a Week

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Despite telling CEOs to call their staff back into the office, Mayor Eric Adams will allow some city workers to work remotely.

Adams’ administration and District Council 37 (DC37) came to an agreement Thursday to launch a flexible work pilot program for city employees, allowing eligible employees to work from home for up to two days a week.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio had ordered all municipal workers back five days per week in September 2021, and Adams himself was a loud supporter of companies doing away with remote work.

Adams repeatedly criticized working from home before — saying at a press conference last year that employees “can’t stay at home in your pajamas all day” — but softened his stance as part of budget negotiations with DC37, the city’s largest union.

“As we make this shift into a post-pandemic reality for offices, we must do it in a thoughtful way in partnership with our union leaders,” Adams said Thursday. “I have always said that any flexible work programs the city offers must acknowledge the reality that there are some roles that cannot be performed remotely. This new pilot program will protect core services that New Yorkers rely on while offering city workers additional flexibility in their schedules.”

Thirty city agencies covered by DC37 are participating in the pilot program, namely the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York City Department of Social Services. The agreement establishes a “Work Flexibility Committee” to address employee morale, while aiming to improve recruitment and retention.

“The world of work has changed, and this remote-hybrid pilot is one tool in our arsenal to provide a flexible workplace that still delivers the best services for New Yorkers,” DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said in a statement. “The committee will continue to review city agencies’ plans for implementing hybrid work along with compressed tours, flex time and other alternative schedules for those members whose job functions are not conducive to remote work.”

The pilot program will expire on May 31, 2025, when the city and DC37 will decide whether to renew it for another year, according to the administration.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.