Gabe Tucker, 26, is an attorney at Fortif Law Partners in Birmingham, Ala., where the share of job listings that allow remote work is roughly half that of New York. Every morning, Mr. Tucker wears a button-up shirt, drives for 15 minutes and arrives at the office around eight o’clock. In other words, his routine remains the same as it was before the pandemic (except for no longer having to wear a tie). In the evening, he and his colleagues sometimes make a toast to celebrate the closing of a deal. They have been back in the office since June 2020, with masks and other Covid precautions.
“It’s business as usual, pretty much,” said Mr. Tucker. “We found it difficult to work remotely. We all enjoy being around each other.”
Office occupancy in San Francisco is at 39 percent of the pre-pandemic level, while office occupancy in New York is at 41 percent, according to data from building security firm Kastle. Meanwhile, Austin, Texas, is close to 60 percent. Then there’s the Huntington Center, a 37-story office tower in downtown Columbus that now houses about 85 percent of its occupants at some point during the week, according to Heinz, the company that operates the building.
Tracy Martinez, managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm with offices on the 20th floor of the Huntington Center, said someone coming from San Francisco might walk into her office and marvel at the noise.
“They would come into our building and say, ‘Wow, that’s normal,'” said Ms. Martinez, 45.
She has a front-row look at the disparities in returning positions nationwide. Coordinating with managers in the company’s many offices, she found that its Ohio locations filled up faster than many others, particularly its Washington, D.C. location.
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