May 19, 2021 - News
When office workers are coming back to the Twin Cities
Illustration of a water cooler, with the water filling up from the bottom.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The trickle of office workers returning to downtown skyscrapers and suburban complexes should turn into a full-on rush soon.

The three key dates to circle are the Tuesdays of June 1, July 6 and Sept. 7.

  • Those are the Tuesdays following Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Many employers are using them as clean start dates, said Minneapolis Regional Chamber CEO Jonathan Weinhagen.

Why it matters: The businesses that thrive off office workers are desperate for a return to work. Plus, downtowns become much safer when more people are out and about.

The state of play: Among the big companies coming back sooner than later are Thrivent Financial, which is bringing workers to its new downtown office in June; and Sleep Number, which is coming back in July.

  • Prime Therapeutics will begin phasing its employees back into its new Eagan headquarters in August, with 25% capacity to start and a plan to move up to 50% by the end of the year, the company said in an email to Axios.

The biggest date is Sept. 7, as that's when kids will be back to school, allowing parents to leave the house.

  • A lot of companies are announcing that date now so that it can give employees with younger kids time to arrange child care, which hasn't been easy during the pandemic, Weinhagen said.
  • "A lot of folks who had kids in child care pulled them out because they were working from home and just economically ... it made more sense," Weinhagen said.
  • Companies aiming for September include U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, while Target has set a more general goal of fall.

Go deeper: The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal has been tracking return-to-work dates for companies across the state.

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