An Update On the City of Seattle’s Return to Office Plan

As the initial epicenter of COVID-19, our city workforce embarked upon a monumental endeavor to serve our community, including many employees who began working remotely full time. Throughout the past year, we have all had to adapt to a new normal as we worked together to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. While many were learning how to do jobs from home, so many of our City workers have been reporting to their worksites daily to deliver essential services to the people who live and work in Seattle. Our City workers have put in an incredible amount of work during an unprecedented year to keep this City running. 

Today, the City is finally turning a corner on this pandemic. Over 75% of Seattle residents who are 12+ have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, and Governor Inslee announced last week that the state is moving toward a statewide June 30 reopening date. This would not have been possible without the work of hundreds of City employees working to equitably vaccinate our residents and workers. If you haven’t already had or scheduled a vaccination, I encourage you to book an appointment today, or simply walk in to one of the many clinics now offering vaccines without an appointment in order to protect you and your families. Please visit our City vaccination website for more information on City vaccination site locations, hours of operation, and how to register for appointments. 

As we plan for the summer and fall, the City of Seattle has begun return to office planning. While there is still some uncertainty ahead of us with COVID-19 and the variants, we are planning for the post-pandemic future.  

Here are the latest updates:  

  • Effective immediately teleworking employees who want to return to the office may voluntarily do so pending supervisor approval. All returning employees will need to comply with workplace safety requirements, such as social distancing, face covering, exposure and testing protocols, and safety protocols in City facilities. 
  • Teleworking employees are encouraged to continue teleworking through September 12, 2021, unless there is a business need for their return, while the City further refines its guidance, policies, and protocols to prepare for employees return to the office. We anticipate state and local authorities will release additional guidance over the coming weeks which will inform how we return employees to the office. The City will continue issuing the temporary COVID-19 telework allowance to eligible employees through September 12, 2021. 
  • Looking forward, the City will continue to work in collaboration with City unions and department leadership to plan for all employees return to the office in some capacity in the fall. For those who do value the flexibility that remote work has provided, the City will take lessons learned from this past year to improve how we accommodate and support employees moving forward. Over the coming weeks, SHR will be providing more information to employees about the process for requesting a new, post-COVID alternative work arrangement.  

This has been one of the most challenging times in the history of our City – and every step of the way, City of Seattle employees have been there on the front lines, delivering for our residents and working to keep our communities safe. 

Thank you again to our City employees for their hard work and dedication to the people of Seattle.