Target workers’ absence from downtown HQ felt by neighbors

Absence of Target employees in downtown Minneapolis felt by many businesses

Absence of Target employees in downtown Minneapolis felt by many businesses

As more and more corporations are bringing their employees back into the office, there’s a notable holdout in downtown Minneapolis: Target.

Work continues to be hybrid at the downtown headquarters, according to a Target spokesperson, and employees aren’t required to spend a set amount of time in the office.

Asked how many — and how often — employees work in person, the spokesperson said, “35% of the workforce population we can accommodate in our headquarters office is working out of the office at least 1 time per week.”

The bottom line, according to the numbers, is business is better than it has been downtown for years. But some who live, work and run retail stores and restaurants there say that Target’s flexible work-from-home policy can be felt in the lesser foot traffic on city sidewalks.

“We’re chugging along, we’re making it. We’ve adapted for what we could,” Brad Johnson, general manager of Nicollet Mall restaurant The Local, said on Sunday. “We’re seeing a lot more workers as well — at least midweek, Tuesday through Thursday — so that’s definitely helping out. I definitely would like to see more.”

By the numbers, there’s been improvement as more people return to the office in the heart of the city.
Building occupancy is at 65%, according to data from the Minneapolis Downtown Council. It’s up from nearly 59% last year and a huge improvement from the 16% occupancy rate back in 2020.

That said, in a city with the Target sign plastered around downtown, the largely quiet space at Target headquarters was noticeable to Johnson, whose restaurant is across the street.

“Definitely impacts us,” he said. “But we’ve always had a really good relationship between Target Corp. and a lot of the workers.”

Ranisha Burton lives downtown and recently returned to work at the office.

Asked for her thoughts on a policy that requires workers to return in person, she said, “I like it. I think they should. I mean, hey, I had to go back to the office, so I’m for it. It’ll bring more people, more money, more revenue, more jobs downtown.”

Others, like fellow downtowner Eric Shotwell, said that a positive work environment should be the priority.

“I think, basically, people should be in a position to do their best work, and if that happens to be remote, that should be what it is,” he explained.

“I get it,” Johnson added. “If I had the chance to work from home, but definitely we’d like to see people back more and more.”

In a statement Sunday, a Target spokesperson said, “Hybrid working is a strategic choice for us that we believe makes our headquarters team stronger. … We stand strong in our longstanding commitment to Minneapolis, which has been our home for more than 60 years.”

Xcel Energy, another one of the top 15 downtown Minneapolis employers, said earlier this month that it will be requiring workers to report to work in person at least three days a week starting in mid-September.