People want working from home to stick after the pandemic subsides

Aug 18, 2021

Sections Economics

Collections Remote Work

With widespread lockdowns abruptly forcing businesses to halt nonessential, in-person activity, the COVID-19 pandemic drove a mass social experiment in working from home, according to Jose Maria Barrero of the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology, Stanford’s Nicholas Bloom, and Chicago Booth’s Steven J. Davis. The researchers launched a survey of US workers, starting in May 2020 and continuing in waves for more than a year since, to capture a range of information including workers’ attitudes about their new remote arrangements. The survey results suggest not only that people’s perceptions of working from home have exceeded their expectations, but also that they would like to continue doing it after the pandemic ends—even more frequently than their employers are planning. These charts offer snapshots of people’s time spent working from home in the United States during the pandemic, their impressions of the experience, and their postpandemic outlook.

How often people work from home

Share of survey respondents’ paid full days worked from home

How people spent the time they saved by not commuting to work

Share of that extra time spent on alternate activities

How people perceived the experience

How has working from home turned outrelative to your expectations?
Share of responses

How have perceptions of working from home changed among people you know?
Share of responses

How people want to proceed postpandemic

Weekly number of paid work-from-home days, by workers’ earnings level

    Desired by workers      Planned by employers
Circle size is proportional to the number of survey respondents in each income group