If the US faces a recession, real-estate mogul Stephen Ross told Bloomberg that employees may return to work out of fear of losing their jobs.
“Employers have been hesitant because they don’t want to lose their employees,” Ross told Bloomberg on Friday. “But I think as you go into a recession and people fear they won’t have a job, it will bring people back to the office.”
With an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent in May, the United States is dealing with a tight job market. Fears of an impending recession have grown after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by the most since 1994 to tackle rising inflation.
“As we go into a recession, or as things tighten up a little,” Ross told Bloomberg, “employees will recognize that you have to do what it takes to keep your job and earn a living.”
Related Companies, the developer of the Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards in New York City, is founded and chaired by Ross. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he has a net worth of $8.4 billion.
Ross’ remarks come as business leaders debate whether to return employees to the workplace following two years of pandemic-induced remote labor.
Ross told Bloomberg, “Every executive recognizes that people need to work together. You have to train and educate your workers, and you must work as a team. You don’t work on your own.”
Employees are still not returning to work in large numbers. According to data from Kastle Systems, an office security provider, the office occupancy rate in the United States was 44 percent as of June 8. According to the data, this is the highest percentage since the epidemic began, but it is still considerably behind the over 100 percent attendance rate seen in early March 2020 before the outbreak.
Some business executives are actively attempting to reintegrate remote workers into the workplace. Last week, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz claimed he was doing “everything” he could to bring employees back to work, but that they weren’t returning “at the level” he desired. Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered an ultimatum to executive staff earlier this month, informing them that they could either return to work or go.
Airbnb, on the other hand, announced in April that workers would be able to live and work from anywhere in the world indefinitely. In an interview with Time’s The Leadership Brief last month, Chesky claimed offices are “an outdated structure” and “from a pre-digital era.” Although there is still a demand for workplaces, he believes they must be able to do more than a home setup.
“People will still go to offices,” Chesky told Time, “but for different purposes, such as collaborative spaces.”