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Downtown San Francisco’s return to office highest since Covid: Study

An unplugged motor sits on a desk inside office space at Codi, a San Francisco-based startup that helps link companies with short term office space leases for a hybrid work world. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

A real-estate research firm's study of foot traffic at office buildings in 11 major metropolitan areas offers some signs of hope for Downtown San Francisco's slow in-person work return.

Nationwide office building visits in July were 0.8% lower than in June "but still higher than they’ve been during any other month since the pandemic," though nationwide foot traffic was still 37.0% below 2019 levels, according to a study published Tuesday,

According to's numbers, Downtown San Francisco saw a 38.3% year-over-year increase in visits to office buildings.

But San Francisco foot traffic is still down nearly 56% from July 2019 numbers, according to the study.'s study also draws on data from buildings in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. The data found solid signs of recovery at the nation's capital, following trends with some federal government agencies' return-to-office mandates.

An office building in Downtown San Francisco | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

But even with a slight dip from the June numbers, San Francisco sites showed the strongest year-over-year recovery rate of all monitored cities. Boston, Chicago, Denver and New York each saw their most visits to office sites since the pandemic's beginning, according to

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Many companies, including Zoom, join scores of other tech giants in recently announcing the return of in-office work. Apple, Amazon and Google employees all work hybrid schedules, while finance giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan mandate on-site work five days a week for management-level employees. 

Before the pandemic, revenues generated by office life accounted for 75% of the city’s gross domestic product. And as recently as last year, many companies' approaches had yet to gather traction.

George Kelly can be reached at