Microsoft Study Looks at the Work-From-Home Phenomenon

People are returning to downtowns to explore, but not work, post-pandemic. The tech giant examines why.   July 12, 2022

By Dave Lubach, Managing Editor

Downtown Seattle’s hotels are filling up to near-capacity again during this current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. But skyscrapers and the offices of one of the city’s notable employers still aren’t filling up with employees.  

A Seattle Times columnist recently examined the phenomenon in Seattle, where tech-king Microsoft’s headquarters are located. The article indicated Microsoft’s policy three months ago stated that employees should be in the physical office 50 percent of the time. Despite the policy, the company admits that goal will likely not be reached until next year. 

Microsoft’s struggles to bring its employees back to the office is symbolic of the city it resides in, as Seattle’s downtown offices are only 38 percent occupied according to an office space tracker in the city That’s below the roughly 40 percent or so number across the nation.  

But while workers are still opting to work from home in large numbers, people are coming downtown, as judged by a 96 percent fill rate for Seattle hotels. 

Microsoft has invested a lot of research into why remote work remains popular, the results of which are in an-111-page report, the New Future of Work Report. The findings revealed that up to 80 percent of workers want remote or hybrid arrangements, while managers want employees at their desks. 

One report in the Microsoft study revealed that employees were willing to sacrifice more than $4,000 a year in salary to work from home full-time. 

The Times article (and the ensuing studies it references) provide some interesting insight into how the general workforce is reacting to the pandemic and changing times.  

Dave Lubach is managing editor, Facility Market. 


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