The Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan.

The Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan. Credit: Bloomberg/Bing Guan

Office attendance continues to rise — slightly — at the biggest Manhattan employers, but the overwhelming majority of workplaces will stay hybrid this year, and the most reluctant workers to show up in person continue to be Long Islanders and other suburbanites, according to a major business group.

As of late January, 52% of office workers are coming in on an average weekday, up from 49% in September, according to a survey by the group, the Partnership for New York City. The survey also found that only 9% of the workers are in the office five days a week, which is unchanged from September. And the share of the workers who are fully remote dropped to 10% from 16%.

“We’re moving in the right direction, in terms of people reconnecting with the office,” Kathryn Wylde, the partnership’s president and chief executive, said in an interview about the survey, which queried more than 140 major Manhattan office employers, between Jan. 5 and Jan. 28"

But attendance is nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, when it was about 80%, according to the survey, and 82% of employers expect to continue this year with a hybrid work model.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, about 315,000 Long Islanders commuted to city jobs, according to New York City's planning department: 225,100 from Nassau County and 89,300 from Suffolk County. Most went to jobs in Manhattan. And about 22% of employed Long Islanders worked in the city, according to the state's Labor Department. Updated figures were not available.

Those most reluctant to schlep back to work — suburbanites — no longer are citing fear of the subways. Now, it’s just the flexibility of not having to commute, and “they just prefer to have a couple hours back in their day,” Wylde said.

For nearly three years, about half of the whole workforce has been able to work remotely, noted Mitchell Moss, a New York University professor of urban policy and planning, and “the pandemic allowed many New York firms to continue and to be very productive without having people in the office.”

“We now have had almost three years of learning and adapting to working on a hybrid basis or a remote basis,” he said, adding: "It has now become part of the culture of the country.”

To stay competitive with other places, the city must find a way to adapt, perhaps focusing on industries that thrive on face-to-face interaction, such as health care, biomedicine, higher education and culture, Moss said.

“Because if you can work from anywhere, then we’re going to have to invest more to make New York attractive as a place to live and work,” he said.

Remote work isn’t universally beloved by all employers, particularly at companies like Goldman Sachs.

“They see a loss in the mentoring, training, exposure and experience of their workforce when they’re working remotely,” Wylde said.

“Just what you pick up by working around and with people who have been in the business. I mean, basically, the way you learn the financial business is from your older colleagues,” she said. “And the second part of that is building relationships — learning how to build those relationships with colleagues and clients. And that’s typically kind of an osmosis process that doesn’t happen on Zoom.”

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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Summer tourism ... Shark sightings on LI . . . Dino-Mite Vintage . . . What's Up on Long Island . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

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