The bank asked businesses that had expanded remote work arrangements since the pandemic about how the changes had impacted productivity. Nearly 70% of service firms and just under half of manufacturers reported expanding remote work.
Service firms reported a mixed picture of productivity: 30% reported a negative effect, 20% reported a positive effect and 50% reported little change.
Among the manufacturers surveyed, 28% reported a negative effect, while 12% reported a positive impact. Sixty percent reported little change.
The survey also provided insights into how often employees work remotely, and whether employers are changing their long-term space needs.
—About 30% of service sector workers were reported to be working remotely at least part of the week, compared to just 9% pre-pandemic.
—Among manufacturers, 9% were working remotely, versus 3% before the pandemic. While remote work has become more mainstream, the format still has limitations among manufacturers. Employees involved in production still need to be on site to make tires, engines or other products.
—Service sector firms expect their percentage of remote workers to drop by only four percentage points a year from now, while manufacturers expect their share to hold steady.
—When do hybrid workers typically come in to work on site? Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were the highest-percentage days, with lower percentages for Mondays and Fridays, especially among service sector workers.
—What about their future square footage needs? Sixteen percent of service sector firms said they had reduced their footprint in response to changes they made in their remote worker arrangements, while only 7% of manufacturing firms had made such cutbacks.
And the vast majority of employers in both the service sector and manufacturing said they didn't plan to make any additional changes — whether reducing or adding square footage — in the next year or two.
Want to know more? Three stories to catch you up:
—How Rich Products keeps its focus on innovation
—Ahead for the workplace: more gig workers and digital nomads
—Fidelis Care, other health insurers evaluating WNY office needs
Eastman Machine continues to grow.
The maker of cutting and material handling equipment last year bought a former printing company's building just down the block on Washington Street, for $900,000, adding to Eastman's downtown footprint.
Now, Eastman has completed a $1.6 million expansion of its main facility. The 7,400-square-foot addition includes a high-bay area, two new docks, and a new entry and foyer. There's also a new showroom to host visitors. Eastman has customers in more than 100 countries.
"We need the room to continue giving our customers and prospects individualized attention," CEO Robert Stevenson said.
Eastman said the expansion will add six jobs to its workforce and retain 124 jobs.
The manufacturer is receiving financial assistance with the project. Empire State Development will provide up to $210,000 in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits, if Eastman meets its job-creation commitments. And the New York Power Authority approved a $170,000 funding award to the company.
Lackawanna's growth spurt
Lackawanna is getting another economic development boost.
Flexlume Sign has begun building a $2 million plant that will revive a long-vacant parcel of land in the city. It is expected to open in mid 2023.
Flexlume is moving its operations — along with its 20 jobs — from Main Street in Buffalo. The new facility will be built on the east side of Route 5, on the site of the former Albright Court Defense Housing Project complex.
"Our move to Lackawanna represents a great opportunity for the next chapter of our company," said Curtis Martin, Flexlume's president and CEO. "Lackawanna is a business-friendly community, and we've been very pleased with the working partnership we have with city representatives to get this project accomplished."
Other projects are also coming to life in Lackawanna. TMP Technologies — which produces Magic Eraser for distribution nationwide — has opened a $22.7 million plant in Renaissance Commerce Park, after shifting those operations from Dingens Street in Buffalo.
Meanwhile, Uniland Development is building a $14.5 million industrial warehouse next door to TMP's plant, and plans a second warehouse on an adjacent parcel. Ciminelli Real Estate was named designated developer of an 11.5-acre property for a third warehouse near Uniland's two sites.
Not far away, Surco Sourcing is revitalizing former Bethlehem Steel facilities for the sugar company's manufacturing, packaging and warehousing operations.
Welcome to Buffalo Next. This newsletter from The Buffalo News will bring you the latest coverage on the changing Buffalo Niagara economy — from real estate to health care to startups. Read more at BuffaloNext.com.
Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up to get the latest in your inbox five days a week.
Recent news tied to Buffalo Niagara's economy
The new owner of a pair of Amherst apartment complexes plans to spend millions on updates.
Buffalo Niagara is getting $25 million for a technology hub as part of the federal Build Back Better program.
A six-story apartment building won't be coming to the Gates Circle redevelopment project after all.
A Buffalo tool maker is eliminating 18 jobs after a merger means its operations are shifting to Wisconsin.
Valu Home Centers is closing three of its Western New York stores as it refocuses on more lucrative markets and building its online sales.
Workers at four Western New York nursing homes have approved a new contract, but unionized employees at other facilities are gearing up for five-day strikes as their contract talks continue.
ACV Auctions is suing some of its main competitors in the auto auction industry and others, accusing them of engaging in anti-competitive practices.
Developers from Buffalo and Rochester are teaming up to bring more affordable housing to East Buffalo.
Work on the new hospital in Lockport is well underway. It will bring a mix of services, beyond what a traditional hospital offers.
The last pieces of available land at the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park could have a new owner soon.
Developer Douglas Jemal has acquired another downtown Buffalo property, this time buying the Dragon Express building on the 500 block of Main Street.
Developer Sam Savarino plans to convert the Kenmore Presbyterian Church into apartments.
The first round of the marijuana legalization plan will bring 11 recreational pot stores to Western New York.
Longtime M&T chairman Robert Wilmers' famous bike is now on display in Buffalo.
A Fortune 500 company is backing plans to build a cannabis production facility near the Lake Erie shoreline off Route 5.
Local unemployment is on the rise after four straight months of sluggish hiring, but it is still low by historic standards.
As contract talks continue, the unions representing most Kaleida Health workers plan to hold a strike authorization vote in mid-September.
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center opened its expanded facility for patients with head and neck cancer.
Part of the reason a labor deal has been difficult to reach at Kaleida? A health system with 'fragile' finances and burned-out employees.
But Kaleida and the unions agree on one thing: WNY hospitals need more state funding.
Five reads from Buffalo Next:
1. It's a perk of the Internet age — and an offshoot of the Covid-19 pandemic: How some local workers are finding jobs with companies elsewhere, yet still can keep living in the Buffalo Niagara region.
2. Mike Petro explains how the Buffalo Bills can use other people's money to pay for a big part of the $550 million "team contribution" toward a new $1.4 billion stadium in Orchard Park.
3. WNY Prosperity Fellowship boosts student leaders: The goal is to grow new businesses and keep them here — a key part of efforts to build a vigorous startup community in a region where new business creation lagged behind the rest of the country for years.
4. Ever so slowly, a few more homes are coming up for sale, easing the severe supply crunch that has helped push up home prices to record levels over the last few years. But it is a small increase, leaving sellers still with the upper hand, and it' is not big enough to stem the rise in prices, either.
5. Workers are hard to find, and it's putting a damper on hiring across the Buffalo Niagara region, not because there's a lack of jobs, but because there's a lack of workers with the right skills.
The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region's economic revitalization. Email tips to [email protected] or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.
(c)2022 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)
Visit The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.) at www.buffalonews.com