Downtown Cleveland companies bring employees back into the office, some say they're happy to return

Downtown Cleveland empty streets
Posted at 6:53 PM, May 20, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — There’s a new renewed spirit of hustle and bustle in Cleveland’s Public Square, a spot where many downtown employees eat lunch or take a minute to unwind.

“It’s good to see downtown kind of back to normal,” said Mike Habowski, who works downtown. “You see a lot of people who work in the office getting outside and having lunch.”

Downtown Cleveland companies that once sat empty for over a year are now filing back up with employees.

Kyle Carter told News 5 he was happy to head back into work.

“I didn’t really mind,” said Carter. “We’re still allowed to work from home for two days a week, so it’s been a nice gentle back-to-the-office approach. It is nice to have my desk and two big monitors again.”

A Wakefield Reach study found 48% of its respondents preferred a similar hybrid return-to-work model.

Other people like Habowski and Gabi Bewie, who was hired in the middle of pandemic, said they’re just happy to meet their coworkers.

“Starting off in my apartment was not an ideal situation for me,” said Habowski. “We just came out of college, you want to meet your coworkers and just get back into the office.”

“I think it just comes back to the whole concept of caring about your employees and making sure you're catering to them, while you're also catering to your clients and shareholders,” said Bewie.

That flexibility that Bewie referenced is key, according to Gary Grosel, Chief Medical Officer for United Healthcare of Ohio.

Grosel said some people may battle anxiety as they head back around the public, so employers should ease into bringing people back.

“They have to realize that a lot of their employees are still going to be nervous about this and they have to have somebody available to talk through this,” said Grosel. “I’d suggest meetings with your employees and being able to discuss some of the issues.”

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.