(Bloomberg) -- Return-to-office efforts are accelerating across the U.S., but San Francisco is still lagging far behind, according to Boston Properties Inc.’s chief executive officer.

The share of people back at their desks in the company’s San Francisco buildings is lower than in other cities where it owns properties, such as New York, Washington and Boston, Owen Thomas said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Major technology firms in the Bay Area have delayed their return until next year, while New York finance companies have been quicker to bring workers back. Still, leasing of high-quality offices is picking up in both San Francisco and New York, according to Thomas.  

“We have been leasing quite a bit of space, high-quality floors with views in San Francisco, without a pandemic discount,” he said. “In New York, we’ve been leasing a lot of space. I’d say there has been some reduction in the rents and the economics of the leases we have been doing in New York because of the pandemic.” 

Other highlights from the interview: 

  • Boston Properties is focused on converting old suburban offices into life-science labs and expects to see more of that in years ahead.
  • Flexible work policies are being offered to help employers retain talent more than for health reasons, Thomas said: “People are doing a lot of things in person, except, in many cases, working.”

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