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Northwest residents value working from home, but feel more productive in the office

January 11, 2021 by PEMCO Insurance

As Northwesterners head back to work in the New Year, the latest poll from PEMCO Mutual Insurance finds that for those whose home has become their office, many value the perk of working from home, but a majority still feel more productive in the office. 

According to the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, the number of residents working from home has increased six-fold since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with nearly half of Seattle metro area full-time workers (48%) and one-third of Portland metro area full-time workers (37%) now completing their day jobs from home.

That's compared to a 2017 poll from PEMCO that found while about half of Northwest residents benefited from some form of a work from home policy prior to the pandemic, only 8% of Seattleites and 7% of Portlanders regularly worked from home the majority of the week.  

The added opportunity to work remotely has largely been a welcome change. According to the poll, most 2020 respondents (79%) say they value the opportunity to work from home. But when it comes to getting the job done, about two out of three (68%) say they feel equally or more productive working from the office compared to home during the pandemic.

In Seattle, residents are twice as likely to say they feel more productive working from the office compared to home during the pandemic (34% vs. 17%). In Portland, 33% say they're more productive in the office, compared to 20% who report being more productive at home.

"Many of us working from home, often alongside kids, pets and other distractions, are missing our workplace environments and the camaraderie of our colleagues. Still, our poll found that while it may be hard to stay focused at home, Northwesterners have found ways to adapt and feel more accomplished from their home offices," shared PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing.

When asked to compare their current work-from-home productivity to pre-pandemic times, about one in four residents (24%) say that they accomplish more when working remotely now, compared to before the pandemic. About half (49%) feel they accomplish just as much now as they did pre-pandemic.

Though the sense of accomplishment has increased for some during the pandemic, most say they will return to the office, at least sometimes, once it becomes safe to do so (61% of Seattleites and 58% of Portlanders).

"While some of us have adjusted to working from home full-time, amid all of its distractions, many others continue to complete their essential jobs in their traditional workplace, too," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "Regardless, there's no doubt the pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives – including our work lives – and people around the Northwest have shown an amazing amount of resilience when it comes to adapting with our changing circumstances."

For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in June 2020. 


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 578 respondents in Washington and 427 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2 and 4.8% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

Supplemental interviews were conducted with people living in the Seattle metro area, including King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and those in the Portland metro area, including Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. The sample size, 578 respondents in the Seattle area and 509 in the Portland area, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2% and +/- 4.4% respectively at the 95% confidence level.

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance

PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. 

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