Measuring The Pulse Of NYC’s Return To Office

NYC Return To Office

New York City’s office space utilization has gone way down and vacancy rates have gone way up since early 2020. Although New York isn’t having as hard of a time as San Francisco, NYC’s return to office plans remain far below pre-pandemic levels. The office utilization is 46.1%, meaning that offices are being visited by less than half as many people as a few years ago. There is 113 million square feet of office space available for lease or sublease, a 72% increase from March of 2020.

New York City’s mayor has called all city employees back to the office full time and has encouraged major employers to do the same.

Here is everything you need to know about New York City’s current state of returning to the office: office utilization statistics, office availability statistics, RTO plans for the five biggest employers, notable companies cancelling office space, and sentiment about RTO from city officials.


New York City’s Return To Office Overview

  • Office Utilization Rate: 46.1% (-3% the national average)
  • Available Office Space (Manhattan): 113 million square feet (72% increase from March 2020)
  • Office Availability Rate: 17.2%
  • Most Common Policy From Biggest Employers: Hybrid, 3 days per week in office
  • Mayor Sentiment: Office-only


New York City’s Office Utilization Statistics

According to Kastle Systems as of September 26, 2022, New York City has an office utilization rate of 46.1%. This data is pulled from Kastle access control systems used across office buildings in the United States. The occupancy rate is as compared to January of 2020 before pandemic lockdowns started.

  • New York City has an office utilization rate of 46.1%
  • The average across the ten biggest metros is 47.3%
  • New York City’s office utilization rate is 3% below the average
  • New York City has fourth highest utilization rate of all 10 metros


Office occupancy San Francisco
Image Credit: Kastle Systems


New York City’s Office Availability Statistics

According to a Q2 2022 report from ColliersManhattan alone has an office availability rate of 17.2%. Colliers statistical sample set for Manhattan totals 540 million square.

  • Manhattan has 92.75 million square feet of office space available for lease
  • Manhattan has 20.47 million square feet of office space available for sublease
  • Manhattan has an office availability rate of 17.2%
  • Office availability has increase by 72.2% since March 2020




RTO Plans For New York’s 5 Biggest Employers


RTO Date

Location Policy

Office Visit Expectations



3 days per week

February 1, 2022


3 days per week



2 days per week


November 1, 2021


3 days per week


No return date

Remote First



Notable NYC Companies Reducing Office Space




Lease Plan

Remote Policy

JPMorgan Chase


Office First

Wells Fargo






Remote First


See the full list of companies reducing office space across the US.

Every Major Company Reducing Office Space: 2020-2022


New York City’s Sentiment For Return To Office (RTO)

February 17, 2022

New Yorkers, it’s time to get back to work. You can’t tell me you’re afraid of COVID on Monday and I see you in a nightclub on Sunday” (source).

June 1, 2022

I’m trying to fill up office buildings, and I’m telling JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, I’m telling all of them, ‘Listen, I need your people back into office so we can build the ecosystem.’ How does that look that city employees are home while I’m telling everyone else it’s time to get back to work?” (source)

“The policy, which was relayed by City Hall chief of staff Frank Carone in a workforce-wide email, dictates that municipal office employees are ‘required to report to work in person for every scheduled workday.'”

July 19, 2022

“So when we start dividing the country to say, ‘those who work from home can — and they know they are the higher income earners — and those low income earners can’t,’ that brings a real challenge for us. We have to be delicate, smart and have equity in mind as we navigate what that future of work looks like” (source).


The Hub For Return To Office (RTO) News & Data

RTO news by company: Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Bank Of America, > Goldman SachsJP Morgan Chase, Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo

RTO news by city: San Francisco, > New York City

About the author

Henry OLoughlin

Hi, I'm the founder of Buildremote. I have worked from home for a decade and run a fully remote, four-day work week company for eight years. I've made all of the mistakes running a remote company. I hope if you read my site, you'll be spared.

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