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Study: Seattle telecommuting rose sharply long before Viadoom

(Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash)

Since the apocalyptic predictions before Viadoom didn’t exactly pan out, many are wondering where all the commuters went. Since 90,000 people didn’t suddenly quit their jobs in fear of Viadoom, transit and telecommuting are likely scenarios.

But a new study in The Seattle Times shows that the major move to working from home started long before the viaduct closure was on the horizon. Data shows that as of 2017, upwards of 125,000 in the Seattle metro mostly worked from, up 56 percent from 2007, though it’s still a small part of the workforce.

For 710 ESPN’s Danny O’Neil, this rise could potentially undermine civilization as we know it. “I’ve always thought that two of things that fuel human evolution is actually seeing people that you work with, and the reality of hangovers,” he joked, filling in on the Tom and Curley Show Wednesday. “That’s the governor. That’s what prevents nights from becoming bacchanalian: hangovers, and that you have to get dressed and presentable for work.”

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Private company employees account for roughly 46 percent of telecommuters, and 8 percent work for local government. But as big a rise as we’ve seen, working from home appears to be mostly available to those in positions who tend to decide if you can work from home. Many of these telecommuters are employees more senior in the company, and according to census data from Seattle’s 50 largest companies, management consultants are the highest percentage at 25 of those who are trusted to actually get some work done at home.

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“It depends on whether you want discreet goofing off and surfing the web, or whether you want full-fledged ‘I’m going to take 15 minutes off and just watch TV for awhile,” joked Danny. “I’ve found that when I worked at home my consumption of ‘Law & Order’ reruns skyrocketed.”

“But that’s so much more efficient, right?” joked KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney. “You’re eventually going to watch those things anyway. Might as well get them out of the way while you’re at work.”


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