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Where the Fight Over a Return to the Office Is Over and the Office Won

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Gabe Tucker, 26, is a lawyer with Fortif Law Partners in Birmingham, where the share of job listings that allow distant work is roughly half that of Recent York’s. Each morning, Mr. Tucker puts on a button-down shirt, drives for quarter-hour and arrives on the office around 8 a.m. His routine, in other words, stays similar to the one he had before the pandemic began (excluding now not having to wear a tie). Within the evenings, he and his colleagues sometimes make a toast to have a good time the closing of a deal. They’ve been back within the office since June 2020, with masks and other Covid precautions.

“It’s work like normal, just about,” Mr. Tucker said. “We found it difficult to be working remotely. All of us enjoy being around one another.”

San Francisco’s office occupancy is at 39 percent of its prepandemic level, and Recent York’s is at 41 percent, in accordance with data from the constructing security firm Kastle. Austin, Texas, meanwhile, is at nearly 60 percent. Then there’s the Huntington Center, a 37-story office tower in downtown Columbus, which now has about 85 percent of its prepandemic occupants on site in some unspecified time in the future throughout the week, in accordance with Hines, the corporate that manages the constructing.

Traci Martinez, the office managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm with offices on the twentieth floor of the Huntington Center, said anyone coming from San Francisco might walk into her office and marvel at the thrill.

“They might come into our constructing and be like, ‘Wow, that is just normal,’” said Ms. Martinez, 45.

She has a front-row view of the disparities in office returns nationwide. She coordinates with managers within the firm’s quite a few offices, and has found that its Ohio locations have filled up faster than many others, particularly its Washington, D.C., location.

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