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Rise of Remote Work Spurs Review of Home Occupation Regulations

Summary

Today King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn’s motion asking for a review and update of home occupation regulations in King County was approved by a unanimous vote of the King County Council.

Story

Today King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn’s motion asking for a review and update of home occupation regulations in King County was approved by a unanimous vote of the King County Council.

The code review will make sure home occupation regulations contemplate recent changes in the work environment, including the rise of remote work, changing employee preferences and technological shifts.

“King County has seen a massive shift toward remote work during the pandemic, so taking the time to review our home occupation code to make sure it’s relevant to current working situations is both timely and necessary,” said Dunn. “I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Council for supporting this work.”

In order to limit the negative impacts of commercial activity on surrounding neighborhoods, businesses that operate in homes in unincorporated King County are required to comply with various home occupation requirements. However, the pandemic ushered in a major economic shift where more people than ever are now working from their homes as home-based employees, workers in the gig economy, or one of almost a million new small businesses formed last year.

Over one-third of households nationwide reported working from home more frequently than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the biggest companies in King County are shifting to a hybrid or complete work from home model. In addition, unlicensed home businesses have become more common as people have had to rapidly adapt to employment changes, making a code update necessary.

The review of King County home occupation regulations and code update will consider business uses that are permitted and prohibited; whether employer work from home policies require changes in the code; and whether standards related to number of employees, client and customer visits, and traffic impacts remain appropriate.


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