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Remote Work Gains Momentum Despite Return-to-Office Mandates from High Profile CEOs

In some major US cities, the number of job postings for remote-friendly roles is hitting record levels — and trending up. That’s the latest finding of researchers including Stanford University’s Nicholas Bloom who’ve been gathering data on remote work since the early days of the pandemic. 

By measuring the prevalence of job ads that offer flexible arrangements, they found that in places like New York, Chicago and Atlanta, more postings are open to remote workers than at any time in the past three years.

That could mean bosses like JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, who said working from home “doesn’t work” for younger staff or managers, face an uphill fight. As the work-from-home-debate reverberates across the country, mayors have also pushed for employees to get back to the office, which would help shore up the tax base for municipal governments. 

But the latest data suggests that partially empty office towers — a feature of city-centers with the rise of remote work — may remain that way. Data from security firm Kastle Systems show that office occupancy in major US cities is only about half of the pre-Covid level.

That may turn out to be a problem that goes beyond the bosses trying to repopulate their offices. Some investors worry that this month’s bout of banking turmoil could cause trouble for commercial real estate owners who need to roll over their debt, as interest rates soar while property values have slumped partly because workers are staying home.

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