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The office monsters are trying to fight back to 2019

“I’m trying to fill up office buildings, and I say to JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, I say to them all, ‘Listen, I need your people back in the office so we can build the ecosystem,'” said Mayor Eric Adams of New York. City said this week that the city, which is heavily dependent on tax revenues from massive Midtown offices, recently announced a strict personal work policy for city employees.

“How does it look like employees in the city are at home while I tell everyone else that it’s time to get back to work?” Mr. Adams added. “City employees should take responsibility for saying, ̵[ads1]6;New York may be back.'”

Beyond the bottom line, the back-to-office debate is about what kind of culture will prevail when business comes out of the pandemic. And despite all the power Mr. Musk, Mr. Dimon and Mr. Adams have, they may be fighting for a shift that is bigger than any single company or city.

If the pandemic over two years of experimenting with external work has taught us anything, it is that many people can be productive outside the office, and quite a few are more satisfied with it. This is especially true for people with young children or long commutes, minority workers who have more difficulty fitting into standard office culture, or those with other personal circumstances that made it less attractive to work in offices.

“We are still struggling to let go of the ideal worker stereotype – even though that person, for many people and professions and demographic groups in the United States, has never existed,” said Colleen Ammerman, director of the Gender Initiative at Harvard Business School. “I believe that with external work and hybrid, we have the potential to really move away from it and really rethink what it means to be on the lead, what it means to be a high performer, and get away from it. be connected to this. to be in the office at all times. “

Although the pandemic has changed course, there are signs that the trend of working from home is actually accelerating. A recent study published in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that employers now say they will allow employees to work from home an average of 2.3 days per week, up from 1.5 days in the summer of 2020.

It’s not just the office – it’s also the commute. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that almost all major cities with the largest declines in office occupancy during the pandemic had an average one-way commute of more than 30 minutes; and most cities with the smallest falls had shorter commutes.

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