Those Monday through Friday commutes from Greenwich, Connecticut, to Wall Street may become a thing of the past.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said the chief executives of some large companies have told him that telecommuting could help them save money by cutting office space by as much as 30%, signaling what may be a national shift by businesses. And with employees already stuck at home for weeks, they realize they can run just as well when they work at home.
“The old idea of the commuter going into New York City five days a week may be an idea that’s behind us,” Lamont said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Maybe you have a great job that seems to be geographically located in New York City, you can do it two-thirds of the time from your home in Stamford.”
Lamont was echoing the views of Wall Street chief executives who have said all of their workers might not return to offices full-time. Working in a corporate headquarters with thousands of others “may be a thing of the past,” Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley said last month. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman predicted a future with “much less real estate.”
About 43,000 people commuted to jobs in New York City in 2017 from Connecticut, whose wealthy communities are particularly attractive to Wall Street bankers.
Connecticut has recorded 30,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,000 deaths, with Fairfield County, closest to New York City, hit the hardest. Positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus continue to decline and the state has set a goal of 42,000 tests a week, starting next week, as the state prepares to reopen May 20. Hospital capacity is now 40%, Lamont said.
“All of those curves are bending in the right direction,” Lamont said. “I’m being very cautious about making sure we meet the metrics and knowing when we have to throttle back if there is a flareup.”
As the state reopens, Lamont said he doesn’t expect consumers to react like the end of Prohibition, when “everyone jammed into the speakeasies.”
“Consumers are going to be pretty cautious,” he said.
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