As companies continue to navigate a post-pandemic world, one issue still has yet to be settled: How should they manage their remote work forces? For many companies, including major employers like Amazon and Microsoft, the answer has been to mandate a return to office — at least on a partial basis — for their employees. While this has been met with mixed feelings from employees who had grown used to working from home, a recent study shows that work-from-home rates are indeed dropping in Seattle and on the Eastside.
New research from the Economic Innovation Group indicates that the percentage of employees who work from home on the Eastside and in Seattle has declined by over 10% from its pandemic peak in 2020. In 2021 55.2% of the workers in Seattle’s Lake Union/Downtown neighborhood were remote, the largest share in the country at the time. As of 2022, that percentage had dropped to 40.9%. Despite this precipitous decline, Seattle still ranks fourth in the nation for its proportion of remote workers.
The number of remote workers also declined on the Eastside, with Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish and Issaquah losing about 14% of its remote workforce. Bellevue, Kenmore and Bothell had a less noticeable decline at around 8%.
In total, remote work rates in the Central King County area (identified as Mercer Island, Issaquah and Sammamish) dropped from around 50.9% in 2021 to 38.1% in 2022. The Greater Bellevue area dropped from 46.4% in 2021 to 38.4% last year.
Even with remote work becoming less popular among major employers, it’s still fairly prevalent in some areas of the Puget Sound region. Pierce and Snohomish counties didn’t see any significant changes to their remote workforces, and in some cases the percentage actually increased.
The W Report, December 2023