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Employers will lose the "working from home" battle

by on26 June 2023

Pandemic changes becoming permanent 

Employers are likely to be as successful in their war on working from home as an advance on Moscow by Wagner mercenaries, a new report has said. 

While many big tech firms are insisting that their workers return to their office to attend long and pointless meetings where middle-managers talk about leveraging, kicking the ball running and moving cheese, it seems that most workers will vote with their feet and go to less silly companies.

Data, from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), suggests that the pandemic changes that upended the workplace, family life and social interactions continue to have a lasting effect on life in the United States.

Many white-collar workers who hunkered down at home during pandemic shutdowns have returned to the office, but extraordinarily high numbers have not. For many, remote work appears to be a new normal.

ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak said: "Working from home "is a permanent shift." We're now seeing many companies start as remote-first companies." 

The annual survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau asks thousands of Americans how they spent the past 24 hours of their lives across different categories of activities.

Results from 2019 through 2021 showed that the pandemic dramatically shifted how much time people spend working at home. The new data suggests those changes persisted through 2022, even as much of life returned to normal as more people got vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus, and case counts fell.

There is a clear benefit to remote work for employees, Pollak said. Working from home saves time and money on commuting, and many employees want the flexibility to work from anywhere, to better support their parents or children.

She said remote work also is "part of the reason for this huge spike in new business formation. It has lowered the barriers to starting a business."

The 2022 figures show 34 per cent of workers over the age of 15 still said they were working at home — and more than half of workers with a workers with a bachelor's degree or higher.

Workers without a high school diploma "were even less likely to work from home in 2022 than they were before the pandemic."


Last modified on 26 June 2023
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