Changing the way we work: Downtown workforce prepares to return


By Susie Jones

May 11, 2021

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Slowly but surely, people are returning to work downtown Minneapolis.

Walking through the skyways during the lunch hour, you can definitely notice a change. There is more activity, and more people milling about. “I work in technology,” said Scott Harold. “I work with a lot of companies setting up conference rooms in downtown Minneapolis because of the density of service organizations. So COVID decimated my prospecting and meeting with clients, tremendously.”

But that’s all starting to shift, as people are starting to come back to work, “So I’m downtown more now,” he said. “Not where we’d all like to be, but it’s increasing and we’re hearing more companies talk about how are they going to bring people back to work so I’m excited.”

Inside the iconic IDS Center and are there are changes afoot as well. Before the pandemic, there would typically be about 3000 people working in the building. They are now at about 25% capacity.

One sure sign that people are back, the elevators are filling up, “We have every elevator bank open so that as occupancy grows we can spread people out more,” said Deb Kolar, the general manager of the company that maintains the building.

“I was just telling someone last week, that I went to go grab lunch and was walking across the Crystal Court to come back upstairs and it took me 35 minutes to get across the Crystal Court back upstairs because I kept running into people and having conversations and, you know, catching up and it’s like, this is what I miss, and I’m really excited to come back.”

There’s is a lot to look forward to as well in the IDs, with the construction of a new Crystal Court first major renovation there since the early 1990s.

Other large companies like Target are planning a return to work at the end of the summer.  Some surveys show that many employees would like to return, but would prefer to do so using a hybrid approach.