City Hall is surveying city agencies to see whether they could make remote work an option, Mayor Eric Adams said on Tuesday, marking a major shift in his stance toward hybrid work.
“We are saying to our agencies, ‘Come up with creative ways of having flexibility,’” Adams said when asked whether he was considering allowing remote work.
His remarks come less than two weeks after Gothamist reported that City Hall had agreed to consider demands for hybrid schedules as part of its ongoing contract talks with a union representing mainly social service workers.
Remote work is expected to be a major sticking point for city workers who report to offices. Many blame the wave of resignations on the mayor’s refusal to bend to hybrid work models, even as other major industries adapt to the new normal.
A year ago, Adams was a prominent defender of in-person work, famously chiding New Yorkers for trying to “stay in their pajamas all day” and asserting that working from home was “not who we are as a city.”
The mayor has often argued that office workers make up a vital part of a broader ecosystem and are necessary for the survival of the city’s business districts.
But Adams, like much of the private sector, is now coping with the reality that the city must compete for workers. Over the weekend, he attended a job fair for DC37, the city’s biggest municipal union.
Just over half of Manhattan workers were coming into the office as of last month, according to a survey from the Partnership for New York City, a business advocacy group.
Adams, who has often expressed concerns about equity, said that he wanted to ensure that any flexible work arrangement would not be unfair to the city’s essential workers.
“How do we make sure that we don't create a two-tier system with some [who] can work from home and others [who] cannot?” he said on Tuesday.
Adams floated an idea for the city to compensate those who are required to work in person “in some way,” although he did not specify what form that compensation might take.