Survey Suggests Demand for Telecommuting After COVID-19 Crisis

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

BOSTON – Citing an avoidance of the commute and more flexible scheduling, nearly 63 percent of respondents to Pioneer Institute’s survey, “Will You Commute To Work When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over?” expressed a preference to work from home one day a week, and a plurality preferred two to three days a week, even after a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Respondents cite social isolation as the biggest drawback of remote work.

The survey was conducted from April 22nd to May 15th, and received responses from over 700 individuals. Pioneer is releasing a policy brief containing analysis of the survey data, entitled “Telecommuting Survey Reveals Potential for Greater Shift Towards Remote Work After COVID-19 Pandemic.”

“The survey results suggest that the pandemic may lead to significant shifts in attitudes toward commuting, with potentially large impacts on the demand for commercial real estate in major job centers, internet connectivity, and transit and transportation planning and budgeting,” said Andrew Mikula, who authored the analysis.

Fourteen percent of the survey’s respondents worked from home before the COVID-19 crisis. Respondents generally report being more productive when telecommuting. An additional 70 percent of the workforce has begun working from home in the wake of the pandemic.

Among respondents surveyed before April 25th, 20 percent said they got more work done at home, while 27 percent said they got less done. Among respondents surveyed after May 8th, 41 percent said they got more done and 13 percent said they got less done.

The effectiveness and appeal of working from home may have far-reaching consequences. While most respondents do not want to work from home all of the time, a plurality wished to work remotely 2-3 days a week. Even a single day a week of remote work for the average employee would alter revenue models for commuter services and public agencies, including state programs that rely on toll revenue.

“The MBTA and state agencies have existing relationships with riders and commuters, and they must act now to engage their customers in order to determine changes in demand resulting from the pandemic,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios. “The survey suggests that people’s attitudes are evolving quickly and in a way that is distinct from past routines. The result may be a seismic shift in ridership patterns and even a significant change in how and where employers seek talent.”

In the short term, the survey indicates that respondents are largely willing to return to their places of business upon request, even before a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

The long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely depend on three factors: employer policies that seek to expand or rein in remote work, public policies, and employee sentiment.

“Pioneer will conduct additional surveys in the coming months to gauge the changing sentiments of employees and employers on the topic of telecommuting,” said Stergios.

 

About the Author

Andrew Mikula is the Lovett & Ruth Peters Economic Opportunity Fellow at Pioneer Institute. Mr. Mikula was previously a Roger Perry Government Transparency Intern at Pioneer Institute and studied economics at Bates College.

 

About Pioneer

Mission

Pioneer Institute develops and communicates dynamic ideas that advance prosperity and a vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond.

Vision

Success for Pioneer is when the citizens of our state and nation prosper and our society thrives because we enjoy world-class options in education, healthcare, transportation and economic opportunity, and when our government is limited, accountable and transparent.

Values

Pioneer believes that America is at its best when our citizenry is well-educated, committed to liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise, and both willing and able to test their beliefs based on facts and the free exchange of ideas.

Get Our COVID-19 News, Tips & Resources!

Related Posts:

Amar Sawhney on Sikhs, STEM & COVID

On this week's episode of JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks to Dr. Amar Sawhney about his journey from India to Boston, and how he is using his chemical engineering background to save lives through remarkable local therapy innovations. To date, he has founded eight companies accounting for 4,000 jobs and more than $2 billion in revenue.

Heritage Foundation’s Jonathan Butcher on Edu Federalism, School Choice, Learning Pods

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation. They discuss the growing popularity of learning pods, an education innovation propelled by K-12 public education’s failure to meet the COVID-19 moment. With as many as three million children enrolled in learning pods, 35 percent of parents participating in them, and another 18 percent interested in joining one, Butcher shares findings from his report on the role of pods in expanding parent-driven educational choice options.

Study Says Interstate Tax Competition, Relocation Subsidies Exacerbate Telecommuting Trends

A spate of new incentive and subsidy programs seeking to lure talented workers and innovative businesses away from their home states could constitute an additional challenge to Massachusetts’ economic and fiscal recovery from COVID-19, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

“The Business of America is Business” – 25 Resources for High School Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating American Free-Market Capitalism.

Georgetown’s Dr. Marguerite Roza on K-12 School Finance, Spending, & Results

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Dr. Marguerite Roza, Research Professor and Director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University. Professor Roza describes the three distinct phases of how American K-12 education has been funded over the last 40 years, and implications for equity and overall student achievement.

Massachusetts Should Disclose More Information about Its Recent Reduction in the Official Count of Long-term Care Deaths

The public -- particularly in Massachusetts, where COVID-19’s toll on elders has been so great -- has a right to know how many deaths occurred in state-regulated eldercare facilities, and how that compares to the total number of deaths. But the state's new counting standard clouds this information, and should be corrected or at least disclosed.

Preparing For Disaster: Health Readiness Expert’s Performance Review

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Emergency Preparedness expert Dr. Paul Biddinger about how experts plan for disasters, and what went right and wrong in this pandemic.

Study Warns Massachusetts Tax Proposal Would Deter Investment, Stifling the “Innovation Economy”

A state constitutional amendment promoted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union adding a 4 percent surtax to all annual income above $1 million could devastate innovative startups dependent on Boston’s financial services industry for funding, ultimately hampering the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 economic recession, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

“Be Strong, Saith My Heart” – National Poetry Month – 40 Resources for K-12 Students

In Pioneer’s ongoing series of blogs on curricular resources for parents, families, and teachers during COVID-19, this one focuses on: Celebrating National Poetry Month.

Stanford’s National Humanities Medal Winner Prof. Arnold Rampersad on Langston Hughes & Ralph Ellison

This week on “The Learning Curve," Gerard and Cara talk with Professor Arnold Rampersad, the Sara Hart Kimball Professor Emeritus in Humanities at Stanford University and recipient of the National Humanities Medal for his books including The Life of Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison: A Biography.

Study Shows the Adverse Effects of Graduated Income Tax Proposal on Small Businesses

The state constitutional amendment promoted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union to add a 4 percent surtax to all annual income above $1 million will adversely impact a significant number of pass-through businesses, ultimately slowing the Commonwealth’s economic recovery from COVID-19, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Pioneer is proud to present a new vaccine tracker, the newest tool in our COVID-19 tracking project. Pioneer distilled the vaccination data down to those who are either fully vaccinated or partially vaccinated, by all the demographic categories published by the DPH. Use the new tool below to compare rates among groups, by municipality and by county. We will update the data every week.