EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Add Pratt and Whitney to the list of companies making the permanent move to remote working.
The company announced some upgrades that will allow many employees to work from home.
However, businesses in the area are feeling the effects.
Carmine Pellegrino, owner of Carmine’s Bar, Grill and Stage, said this will be a huge blow to its bottom line, but he added that he’s more hurt by the loss of familiar customers who would come in after work.
Pellegrino said about a third of the East Hartford business typically came from Pratt and Whitney employees.
Pratt is turning its East Hartford headquarters into an office of the future. Technology upgrades will make it easier for employees who have been working from home to continue doing so after the pandemic.
“With this change comes a unique opportunity to redefine where work gets done, how we collaborate with colleagues and provide flexibility for our employees,” an executive said in a statement.
“When you hear it first, you worry because, you know, obviously you rely on the idea of the number of employees coming to Pratt,” said Harrison Poltorak, owner of Rebel Dog Coffee Co.
It’s not just Pellegrino. Rebel Dog coffee was banking on Pratt employees when it opened its third location across the street in March.
But East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc says the Pratt’s move shouldn’t force businesses to go under.
“There are small business restaurants that may feel a little bit of a pinch, but Pratt and Whitney has always had their own cafeterias on campus,” Leclerc said.
Some employees are still coming to the East Hartford campus.
Pratt didn’t share numbers for just East Hartford, but of the 11,000 employees statewide, 4,400 will continue to work on site. The remaining 6,600 will have remote access. And remote employees can come to the office as needed.
Poltorak said he’s confident that he’ll be fine.
“Knowing that Pratt and Whitney will start to return just a little bit means we’re only going to go up from here,” Poltorak said.
Pellegrino says he, too, will be fine. But he’s sad to lose familiar faces coming in for lunch or some happy hour karaoke.