SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Is it starting to feel like you’re bumping into more people around the office space these days? That is the case for at least one Bay Area city.
KRON4 talked to a business public policy director who says things are trending in the direction of employees returning to work.
“The most recent numbers tell us about 39 percent of folks are coming back to the office,” said Daniel Herzstein, the director of public policy for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “That’s up dramatically from where we were, even just a couple of months ago.”
It is almost a 100% increase from where the city was at the beginning of January during the Omicron surge, Herzstein said.
“One of the things that the Chamber of Commerce tracks is foot traffic,” he said. “What we’ve seen is that foot traffic is up dramatically, especially in the downtown economic core.”
Bay Area tech giants like Apple and Google, though they are not headquartered in SF, are bringing employees back part-time. It is another sign that things are trending in the direction of workers returning to the office. The Dreamforce event returning to the heart of the city’s convention district was another major sign that the city is bouncing back
“Dreamforce was huge for San Francisco. We had 40,000 folks coming in from outside of the city,” Herzstein said.
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The pandemic had a direct impact on shutting businesses down, but Herzstein said crime, the open-air drug market, and the ongoing condition of the unhoused in the city aren’t helping to attract those working from home to come back the office.
“I think we have to be honest about the barriers to coming back into work,” he said. “One of them certainly is public safety. That is something we hear from the Chamber of Commerce member companies. There is a thousand of them, every single day, that employees who don’t feel safe don’t want to come back.”