Seattle ranks among top metros for flexible work

Long known as a hub for the tech industry, Seattle has claimed fourth place in a new report ranking major metros and states by their flexibility when it comes to work. The “Flex Index,” as the report is known, draws on a database created by Scoop Technologies. It ranked Washington as the third most flexible state, behind Oregon and Colorado in first and second place, respectively.

The Flex Index aims to quantify trends in remote and hybrid work, making it easier to see how companies and industries are adapting to post-pandemic working conditions. The index has three categories for work: fully flexible, in which employees can decide how and where they work; structured hybrid, in which companies have outlined expectations for when employees will work remotely or on site; and fully on site, where there is no flexibility for remote work.

The Flex Index varied widely by location and industry, with nearly 80% of tech companies offering fully flexible options, while companies that rely on foot traffic required more on-site work. Restaurants and food service was the least flexible industry, typically requiring fully on-site work more than 80% of the time.

With these industry norms in place, it makes sense that Seattle was the fourth most flexible metro on the list, thanks to the high density of tech companies in the area. In total, the report found that around 59% of companies in Washington are fully flexible, while Oregon took the first place spot with 66% of companies offering fully flexible options.

The report also found that smaller companies tend to be more flexible than their larger counterparts. Of those that had a structured hybrid model, most companies averaged a 3-day minimum for in-person work.

The Flex Index will be updated quarterly, with this inaugural report providing a baseline for future research. In general, Western and Northeastern states were the most likely to be flexible, with Southern and Midwestern states typically requiring more in-person work. As the need for remote work stabilizes, these trends may shift, providing an interesting snapshot of regional norms in the workplace.

This post was based on a Puget Sound Business Journal article by Nikki Wentling.

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