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People in the Pacific Northwest value working mobile, but are more productive at the office

Lots of Portlanders covet those creative jobs with flexible, mobile schedules that allow employees to create a product instead of clocking in hours. It's our talent-retaining amenity version of Silicon Valley's ping pong tables, nap areas and beer on tap at the office (although we do have the kombucha).

But while eight out of 10 workers in the Pacific Northwest said it's important to work from home, they also self-reported that one in three is still more productive at the office, compared to 18 percent who feel more productive at home.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: FILE PHOTO - Rita Loberger, a volunteer advocate for Oregon mobile home and manufactured home owners, works from her home office in a King City manufactured home park in 2016.

That's according to the newly released Northwest Poll from PEMCO Insurance, which was founded in 1949 and provides auto, home and boat insurance in the Northwest. PEMCO commissioned Seattle-based FBK Research to conduct this independent survey.

The survey asked 600 Washington and 600 Oregon residents about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues.

In Oregon, 38 percent of respondents said they're more productive working from the office, 38 percent said they're equally productive, and 17 percent said they're more productive working from home.

In Washington, that compares to 29 percent, 46 percent and 19 percent respectively.

The poll found 52 percent of Millennials under the age of 35 are significantly more likely than their counterparts with more experience to report higher levels of productivity in the office.

It's working parents who place the highest value on being able to work away from the office.

"We were surprised to learn that even Millennials, whose generation seems to value flexibility, admit that they get more work done at the office than at home," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. "Despite all the trends and tools redefining the traditional 'work space,' the poll suggests that many believe the office is still the best place for productivity."

The poll didn't collect renter/owner information regarding who has a designated work or office space at home: it's less likely that young renters to bother paying for an extra bedroom in Seattle or Portland.

About two in five, or 42 percent, of people who work remotely in the Pacific Northwest believe they're equally productive whether in the office or at home.

"I think personal preference has a lot to do with where people feel the most productive, but we'll be interested to see how these dynamics shift over time as technology continues to keep us more connected than ever," Wing said. "Home may be where the heart is, but at least for now, it's not where people say they do their best work."

In Oregon, 29 percent of respondents said they're allowed to work at home full- or part-time, 11 percent said working mobile is allowed only part-time, and 53 percent said there's no policy.

In Washington, that compares to 31 percent, 19 percent, and 45 percent respectively.

As for how often people work from home, 11 percent of Oregonians said their office is in their home, 12 percent said their schedule is irregular, 7 percent said one or more days a week they work from home, 45 percent said they have the type of job that's not reasonable to work from home, and 12 percent said they aren't allowed to in their role.

Read more about the poll at: pemco.com/poll/working-from-home

By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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