• Telecommute rates in Seattle flat at 3 percent

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    Most days, you'll find Chris Seaver at Works Progress, a co-working space close to his Ballard home.

    "I can handle it. It's about three to four minutes," Seaver said of his commute.

    That's much better than the drive to Redmond, where he goes for meetings a few times a month as a Microsoft vendor.

    "The commute would kind of kill me," Seaver said.

    Works Progress has meeting spaces that attorney Stacey Romberg sometimes uses.

    Her law firm is virtual, based in her home.

    "The business is upstairs in a spare bedroom. And everyone's headless work stations, their computers, are in a closet in the spare bedroom," Romberg said.

    All seven people on her team work from home.

    "Being an attorney is a really demanding job and I'm working a lot already, without having to spend a lot of time in my car to go back and forth to a downtown office," Romberg said.

    A new report funded by the city from Commute Seattle, a partnership of transportation agencies and the Downtown Seattle Association, shows the telecommute rate for people who work for downtown employers was 3.3 percent in 2017.

    That's unchanged from 2014.

    "Telecommuting is a great option that sometimes some companies underutilize," said Commute Seattle executive director Jonathan Hopkins.

    Commute Seattle tries to steer companies toward offering telecommuting for jobs where it works.

    King County Metro has a program called WorkSmart, which consults companies on setting up telecommuting.

    The agency says over five years, about a hundred companies have used the program.

    A bill in the Legislature would create tax credits for employers of up to $250 per worker per year, if they telework at least 12 days a month.

    But the total tax credits in the state would be capped at $250,000.

    While telecommuting percentages are stalled in Seattle, Wednesday's report also found many more people who work downtown are taking public transit.

    In fact, the number of people driving alone has now fallen to 25 percent, a new low and a big milestone.

     


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