One-Third of U.S. Workers Want Permanent Remote Work

In this Tuesday, March 17, 2020 photo Kim Borton, left, works from home while her children Logan Borton, center, age 6 and Katie Borton, age 7, work on an art project in Beaverton, Ore.

In this Tuesday, March 17, 2020 photo Kim Borton, left, works from home while her children Logan Borton, center, age 6 and Katie Borton, age 7, work on an art project in Beaverton, Ore. AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer

 

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A new Morning Consult survey finds many workers would like to continue working from home after the coronavirus pandemic recedes and some would likely move to a new city or state if remote work becomes permanent.

Remote work became the norm for many businesses across the United States in recent months, and most American workers hope it stays that way even after the public health danger from the coronavirus subsides, a new poll found.

A survey by Morning Consult shows that three quarters of workers would like to work from home at least one or two days a week even after they can head back into an office—with a third indicating they would like to work from home every day.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately 5% of U.S. adults worked from home all the time and 43% did so occasionally. To limit the spread of Covid-19 infections, schools and many businesses have closed and turned to online learning and remote work. That’s led approximately 42% of the American labor force to work from home full time, according to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom. Some 33% of U.S. adults are not working, and 26% of essential service workers are still engaged in on-site work.

The possible changes in where and how people work could have wider implications. The prospect of remote work continuing into the future could lead some Americans to consider moving. At least 12% of workers with the ability to work from home said it was very likely they would move to a new city or state if they were able to work remotely indefinitely and 16% said a move was somewhat likely. The survey, which collected responses from 2,200 adults, was conducted between June 16 and 20.  

The burden of working from home while having to care for children has been a source of burnout and frustration for many. But for the majority of Americans with the ability to work remotely, the pros of working from home outweigh the cons, according to the Morning Consult survey. 

Fifty-nine percent said they are more comfortable working from home than in the office and 49% said they are more productive because there are fewer distractions. About a quarter of respondents said they are not more comfortable working at home and 32% said they are not more productive while working remotely.

Half of workers said the prospect of working in a traditional office environment has become less appealing as a result of the pandemic, and workers are divided when it comes to returning to the office. Among employees who are currently working remotely, 31% said they do not want to return to the office before a Covid vaccine is available.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

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