The return to office is making area commutes longer
It’s back to business as usual at Amazon’s many offices across Seattle and the Eastside. The tech giant recently mandated that employees return to the office at least three days a week, bringing a flood of cars and foot traffic back to Seattle and Bellevue.
While the influx of workers is a boon to local restaurants and retailers, fellow commuters on the road may not be as happy. Since Amazon’s return to office (RTO), the average speeds drivers are able to travel on the major highways around the area have dropped precipitously.
In the two weeks before the return to office, drivers traveling on I-90 from Eastgate to Seattle averaged 45 MPH, which dropped to an average of 29 MPH after RTO. SR 520 had similar drops, from an average speed of 42 MPH to 30 MPH after RTO.
These drops are not all that surprising, given that more than 55,000 corporate Amazon workers are returning to the office at least part time. Since RTO, downtown Seattle averaged 78,430 daily worker visits, which is the highest since the start of the pandemic. However, it’s still well below the 157,000 daily workers who came into the city in 2019.
Although commute times have certainly suffered since Amazon and other companies have returned to their offices, there are some upsides. Almost twice as many employers are reporting positive outcomes since employee RTO as negative outcomes, including less turnover, decreased absenteeism, and fewer complaints to HR.
This is good news, as 62% of downtown Seattle employers are reporting employees coming into the office at least three days a week. Businesses also reported more in-office activity than their RTO plans required, meaning employees are choosing to spend more time in the office. This may be due to the fact that one-third of downtown businesses are offering incentives for employees to come back to the office, such as in-person team building.
For those workers who do have to return to the office at least part-time, they should plan their commutes accordingly. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most popular days in the office, likely making those the longest commute days.
Information for this article was sourced from GeekWire hereand here.
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