As remote work becomes permanent, can Manhattan adapt?

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But in today’s war for talent, with job openings nearing record highs, many companies say flexible working policies are key to gaining an edge over competitors. Women are also much more likely to cite remote work as a job requirement, according to research from Indeed, the job search website.

During the pandemic, Unqork, a software startup founded in New York in 2017, has reduced its office space in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood to 8,500 square feet from nearly 50,000 square feet before the pandemic.

The change came as Unqork announced it would become a remote company, allowing employees to work from anywhere. The company nearly tripled in size during the pandemic and has around 600 employees worldwide.

“It’s a more efficient way to find talent,” said company chief executive Gary Hoberman. “If they want to work in Antarctica, that’s fine,” noting that one employee actually spent a month of the pandemic near the South Pole.

Nina Anziska, 33, moved permanently to Los Angeles seven months into the pandemic after her boss said she didn’t have to return to her office in Manhattan. His employer, Skillshare, an online education company, divested its 11,000 square feet of office space in the Flatiron District at the end of 2020.

Although the company has signed up for coworking spaces across the country, Ms Anziska has barely used them, saying the requirement to be in an office is “close to a deal breaker” for her.

Matt Cooper, managing director of Skillshare, is reluctant to sign a lease on long-term office space, fearing everyone will be forced to use it. Every time he sees a competitor announce a return-to-work date, he says he orders his recruiters to target engineers from those companies.

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