DES MOINES, Iowa — A new study shows more workers are returning to the office in downtown Des Moines.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership monitors the foot traffic downtown regularly and says the data shows workday foot traffic is at 69% of pre-pandemic levels. Overall downtown foot traffic so far in 2022 is at 77% of pre-pandemic levels — something people who work in the area have noticed.

“Definitely, I’ve definitely noticed an influx in traffic into downtown and my office alone, it’s hard to beat the comradery working next to someone as opposed to pinging them on an instant messenger or email,” said Blake Ostrem.

Ostrem has been working downtown since he graduated from college nine years ago. He was working remotely for five months during the pandemic and says there’s no substitution for working in an office setting.

The Partnership says the majority of the office traffic downtown takes place Tuesday through Thursday which shows the flexibility of a hybrid work model is likely helping to get workers back in the office.

“It’s an evolution and again that flexibility is so important for the employer and the employee. We all have the same goals which is to make sure our community is growing and thriving, it’s welcoming it’s inclusive and ultimately a lot of the steps and strategies employers are putting in place align with a lot of those goals and they also align with the employees’ goals,” said Tiffany Tauscheck, Chief Strategy Officer with the Partnership.

Tauscheck says the Des Moines resurgence in office foot traffic is better than the national average of 49%.