By Sam van de Schootbrugge 18-11-2020
In: deep-dives | COVID-19 Economics

Will Remote Working Remain After COVID?

(5 min read)
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Before the pandemic, only a fraction of individuals worked from home. According to a recent NBER working paper, a 25,000-person strong Google Consumer Survey (GCS) indicated the figure was around 15%. In addition, only 2.3% of hiring managers that responded to Upwork’s 2019 Future Workforce survey had fully remote teams. In fact, it seems that for many institutions the whole work-from-home concept was taboo.

In this Deep Dive, we review the work of MIT and Upwork researchers to understand how perceptions around working from home have changed. We also look to future, considering how the current enforced experiment in running an economy without social interaction may cause long-term structural changes. Here are the surveys’ main results:

Of those employed pre-COVID, about half are now working from home.
The incidence of COVID-19 can help to predict the share of people switching to remote work.
Employees in information jobs are more likely to switch to working from home.
The majority of hiring managers feel that the shift to remote work has gone better than expected.
The expected growth rate of full-time remote work over the next five years has doubled to 65%.
The economic benefit of remote work from less commuting has been $90 billion (US, Aug. 2020).
Remote work is set to spread economic opportunity and decrease the wage gap across geographies.

The results come from four sources: the two mentioned above, and another two Upwork reports, Where Remote Work Saves Commuters Most and When Work Goes Remote.

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