Trending:Are tech employees coming back to downtown Seattle? Here’s what companies are planning for
在COVID-19大流行期间,西雅图市中心和亚马逊总部校园(GeekWire照片/Kurt Schlosser)

The plywood is coming down, restaurants that survived are adding hours and vehicle traffic in Seattle is growing from theghost-town levels of one year ago. But as downtown, Belltown, and South Lake Union ready for the return of tens of thousands of employees to its skyscrapers, coffee shops, and sidewalks, a handful of questions remain unanswered.

这场大流行是彻底改变了西雅图的中心商业区,还是会在未来一年里让深度睡眠消失?公司是否会要求员工回到办公室,他们是否需要接种疫苗?市中心是否准备吸纳15个月前离开的35万工人中的全部甚至部分?

The answer depends on who is asked.

In late March Amazon released a statement affirming that it’s an office-based company and它的通勤和隔间文化将恢复this fall — a crucial boost for the vibrancy of downtown Seattle businesses已经crushed amid the pandemic. 西雅图市中心协会的数据显示,去年实体零售业的就业岗位下降了65%。

齐洛, which pre-pandemic had 2,700 office workers in abuilding on Second Avenue and Union Street, is taking a hybrid approach with有些工人只是偶尔回来.

一些公司说不,我们不会再回来了。一些人乐于放弃租约,将员工转移到完全偏远的地方工作,而另一些人仍然担心犯罪和无家可归问题。例如,西雅图初创公司广告闪电公司(adlightning)去年退出了在西雅图市中心的租约,不打算再回来。

周三的GeekWire虚拟活动:同情西雅图:这是解决无家可归问题的途径吗?

“在过去的五到十年里,我所观察到的是西雅图的一种态度,我认为这种态度是反商业的,有点反工作的,而且在过去的几年里,这种态度确实加快了速度。”Ad Lightning co-founder Scott Moore said on a recent GeekWire podcast. “And it’s unfortunate.”

GeekWire通过电子邮件调查了几位科技公司的领导,询问他们在西雅图市中心的重返办公室计划,他们的回答不一,反映出他们在一狗万平台年多的远程工作后采取的不同方法。

Jodi Ellias,公司营销副总裁Payscale, said the compensation research company gave up its Seattle office lease during the pandemic but will return to downtown with a smaller footprint and a plan to mirror Zillow’s approach.

她说:“Payscale计划最终占据西雅图地区一个更具协作性的工作空间,支持混合工作场景。”。她说,Payscale在全球600名员工中,有160名在市区工作。公司还没有确定每天有多少员工进入办公室。而且员工回国也不需要疫苗。

埃利亚斯说,她期待今年夏天能有一些办公时间,原因之一是:她在5月份被录用后,还没有与10人团队中的一名成员见面。

On the other end of the scale isTextio. The writing enhancement service company will base none of its 90 employees in downtown Seattle. Co-founder and CEOKieran Snyder— who will speak Wednesday at a关于西雅图无家可归危机的Gee狗万平台kWire事件— said Textio will not be returning full-time staff to downtown Seattle, or downtown anywhere.

她说:“我们正在考虑是否为那些想亲自见面的队员增加一些‘触地’空间。”但我们将首先被分配;我们更多的员工需要灵活性。

“我们不打算有一个带远程卫星的总部。”因此,她说,Textio在2021年将不需要接种疫苗。

A lone bike commuter on an August morning ride through Seattle on 2nd Ave in front of Zillow’s offices. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

对于科技公司来说,Textio和adlightning离开市中心是否是个例外,目前尚不清楚。但大型商业房地产公司的代表们确信,有人会想要裁员带来的额外空间。Lisa Stewart,总部位于西雅图的房地产巨头JLL,他说,认为市中心已死的观点显然言过其实。

她说:“头条新闻是,上一轮经济繁荣的所有沿海城市都将崩溃,因为每个人都在迁移到其他地方。”在上周的一个在线会议上. “We always talked about it as the three Bs — everyone is moving to Boise, Bend, and Boseman.”

But the reality was pretty different. While some people did move to those places, actual moving data swamps the anecdotes.

Stewart said Seattle had more people move to the city in 2020 than in 2019. Thenumbers indicate that Seattle likely benefited from out-migration from New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. And because the region retained its wealth of talent in cloud computing, AI, and gaming, she said, it will continue to attract tech companies. “The more (talent) we have the more we get,” she said.

Addressing crime and homelessness

Representatives from the companies surveyed all expressed concerns about the homeless problem in downtown and what the city and businesses can do to improve it. “We are very concerned and saddened by the growing homelessness crisis in Seattle,” said Mary Miller, a senior vice president at Seattle-based Amperity.

“必须做更多的工作来帮助那些受影响的人找到更多的永久性住房和心理健康支持,”她补充说我们认识到,要确保公共安全,还有很多工作要做,这样我们的团队成员才能有信心来到市区,安全通勤。”

With the pandemic’s decline on the horizon anda commercial real estate recovery,这座城市留下了一个棘手的问题:它将如何清理市中心,帮助重新启动这座城市的主要税源之一,同时找到一个可以接受的解决方案,让无家可归的居民得到他们需要的帮助?

Tents line a Downtown Seattle street. (GeekWire Photo / John Cook)

The overall numbers defy the entrenched belief about lawlessness in the city’s center.Crime in downtown actually declined in 2020from 2019, according to the Seattle Police Department Crime Dashboard (though it remains unclear if the statistical drop simply was because fewer people were there to report illegal activity).

但是城市犯罪分析员追踪犯罪认知与现实之间的差距知道常见的视觉指标-帐篷,垃圾,皮下注射针,sensational media coverage-把无家可归的危机和犯罪危机混为一谈。这在一定程度上导致了企业的支持Compassion Seattle Initiative.

The initiative is a citywide ballot measure to force the city to fund a battery of services and shelters for thousands of the town’s unsheltered residents. It also would require the city to keep “parks, playgrounds, sports fields, public spaces and sidewalks and streets clear of encampments” once the mandated housing, drug, and mental health services are in place.

Currently, the initiative is in the signature-gathering phase. It must get 33,000 valid signatures in the next three weeks to qualify for the ballot. And while the measure backed by the downtown association is meant to mandate city policy regarding its homeless population, it’s also meant to let businesses and residents know that the city will be forced to do something to move the needle —even if that something is controversial.

Some companies remain committed to downtown Seattle and are excited to return and be part of the revitalization process.

UX公司Blink的首席执行官凯伦·克拉克·科尔(Karen Clark Cole)说,在流感大流行关闭之前,她在市区有80名员工。在疫情最严重的时候,这一数字下降到4名雇员。但它计划让他们全部归来,尽管速度很慢。她估计,到9月份,公司可能会有10%的员工重返办公室。

她说:“我们没有考虑搬家或缩小办公室规模。”[Blink]将逐渐开始要求人们参加协作会议、团队会议以及与客户会面。”

Moreover, she said, the company plans to expand its downtown workforce. “We grew during 2021 (only about 4%) and will continue to grow,” she said, adding that Blink will require all of its in-office employees to be vaccinated. “There will be more people assigned to the downtown Seattle office, but most people will be part-time so not everyone will be there at once.”

Blink和其他科技公司正在考虑一种被称为3-2业务人员配置模式-在办公室三天,两天。

F5级, the networking and application security company, plans to take a similar approach to Blink. The company had more than 1,400 employees in itsFifth Avenue towerprior to the pandemic. Currently, fewer than 5% of those workers are in the building. But that will start to change, said spokesman Rob Gruening.

“As we surveyed our employees throughout the pandemic to get an idea of how they want to work in the future, a significant majority indicated a desire to have flexible schedules — the ability to come into the office for interaction and collaboration and work remotely when they need to focus,” he said.

“Some people will still come into the office full time and some will work remotely full time, but a much larger percentage will do a hybrid of both,” he said, adding that F5 will not require its workforce to be vaccinated. The hybrid work model means the company has sublet six floors of its building but has zero intentions of leaving downtown Seattle, he said.

安培数’s Miller said managers there are planning a 3-2 staffing model and mandatory vaccinations for its 115 Seattle-based workers. The customer data platform company will keep the same downtown footprint, she said.

安培数at no point, she noted, considered moving away and managers still see significant benefits in Seattle’s business district. “Accessibility and centralized location, amenities, and of course the energy,” said Miller.

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