EAST HARTFORD (WFSB) - Pratt and Whitney announced a plan to give all office employees the chance to work from home permanently. 

The company said in a press release that it "plans to make technology and design upgrades to its East Hartford campus in order to improve flexibility for local employees."

These improvements will allow office employees greater opportunity to work remotely, while also providing collaboration space so they can return to the office as requirements demand, the company said.

The company is responding to employee requests for flexibility in how and where work is performed, and Pratt & Whitney has committed to allowing the majority of office employees to perform their work remotely at least part of the time.

Manufacturing employees and others with a critical need to be in an office will continue to work from the campus.

“Like every organization, we had to rapidly adjust to a new normal,” said Chris Calio, President of Pratt & Whitney. “For our office-based employees, the transition to remote work in March 2020 was disruptive. But it caused us to redesign how we get work done, allowing our employees the greatest flexibility while preserving collaboration – and we’re now carrying those benefits into the future.”

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said from a tax base standpoint, the building and the machinery are still in town.

“Certainly it makes sense, post pandemic, to really realize there’s new ways of working,” she said.

She said she wasn’t surprised when Pratt and Whitney made the announcement.

The company had given her a heads-up, but she also said the move just makes sense.

“That collaborative workspace, once the pandemic hit, was no longer a viable for the safeguarding of their employees,” Leclerc said.

Even with the changes, some employees will still need to work in the factory. Of the 11,000 Pratt employees statewide, 4,400 will continue to work on site. The remaining 6,600 will have remote access.

“There are less than 300 East Hartford residents that work at Pratt and Whitney,” Leclerc said.

She added that the change should have minimal impact on East Hartford, and the building remains and so does the equipment, which is a win for East Hartford’s tax base.

She also said Pratt plans to sell part of its old runway, some 280 acres.

“The future of East Hartford will change as that 280 is really, 280 acres is really the last developable land in East Hartford for raw development,” she said.

Most importantly, she said the company remains committed to staying put.

“I have heard directly from their representative at Pratt and Whitney that Pratt and Whitney will continue to be the home headquarters for their organization,” Leclerc said.

Fewer workers on site does mean less foot traffic for some of the surrounding business.

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