City shifts to hybrid work schedule as COVID-19 cases rise among staff

The city plans to remain a hybrid work environment until Monday, Jan. 31.

Employees at Federal Way City Hall are transitioning to a hybrid work environment through January, the mayor announced on Jan. 3. The hybrid work instruction is effective immediately.

“Out of an abundance of caution, in the interest of protecting staff and their families, and to reduce the risk of COVID cases and exposures throughout the City while continuing to provide service delivery to the public, we will be temporarily moving to a hybrid work environment through the end of January,” Mayor Jim Ferrell wrote in an email to staff on Jan. 3.

Near the end of the month, the city plans to reevaluate the need for a hybrid work option and will provide employees with further information. The mayor anticipates a return to a fully in-person working environment beginning Monday, Jan. 31, he said.

Ferrell said in his email that the city has “seen an increase in staff exposures and positive COVID cases.”

As of Jan. 5, there are four positive COVID-19 cases among non-police department staff, and another six to 10 employees are in quarantine due to exposure. The number changes almost daily, said Steve McNey, city communications director.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for all departments and unfortunately, working from home is not conducive for all departments and positions,” the mayor wrote in his email. “We hope that by reducing the number of employees working in office, we can mitigate some of the risk for staff exposure.”

City Hall remains open to the public and Federal Way City Council meetings will continue to be held in person, said McNey. In the mayor’s email, he encouraged staff members to move to virtual meetings whenever possible and limit non-essential in-person gatherings.

Masks are required to be worn at all times inside city hall, regardless of vaccination status.