Manhattan Real Estate Executives, Service Providers Sour on RNC Effects On Worker Productivity

Most New York-area corporate real estate executives expect the Republican National Convention, taking place in the city this week, to lower their firms’ productivity for the next several days, according to a survey of Manhattan-area members of commercial real estate trade group CoreNet.

The convention kicked off Monday at Madison Square Garden, prompting an array of security measures throughout Midtown and a veritable lockdown surrounding Pennsylvania Station, where Madison Square Garden is located. Protesters have already clogged many of the avenues, and Manhattan police are bracing for even larger protests as the week progresses.

As a result, many office workers are keeping their distance. A full 56% of the respondents to CoreNet Global’s latest survey believe that fewer workers will bring on a decline in productivity. Based on CoreNet Global’s membership roster, the respondents consist chiefly of corporate real estate executives and service providers.

Yet this week — which culminates in the long Labor Day weekend — is a popular time for Manhattan office workers to take vacations. As a result, it’s unclear if normal productivity levels are historically met during this week as many offices are already sparingly staffed.

That may explain why many respondents expect their work environments to remain status quo during the convention. Only 30% of the respondents convinced that the convention will have a "negative impact" on their firms’ bottom-line over the convention’s four-day period. A quarter of all respondents reported that their workers are being given the option to work from home this week.

"The findings of the survey of our New York chapter members are consistent with our previous research [which determined] that by 2010, 70% of workers will spend more than 25% of their time working in unassigned space mitigating the impact of major events like the political conventions on corporate productivity," says CoreNet Global spokesman Richard Kadzis.

The survey’s other findings revealed that companies are taking added security precautions this week, with 47% claiming that "existing policies" will be enforced more strictly. Meanwhile, 18% have chosen to limit or alter access to their properties during the convention.

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