According to a working paper published on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s website by Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls, and Pablo Zarate, remote work hasn’t saved Americans much time. It has primarily increased their workload.
“The average daily time savings when working from home is 72 minutes in our sample,” the study stated. “To obtain this figure, we consider the commute times of persons who worked mainly from home at some point during the pandemic and compute the average of country-level means.”
People who spend less time commuting can devote more time to other tasks and interests. However, this is not the case in the United States, where 23 minutes of the time saved is spent on work, 19 minutes on leisure, and four minutes on caregiving.
“Workers allocate 40 percent of their time savings to their jobs and about 11 percent to caregiving activities,” the authors wrote about the overall result. “People living with children allocate more of their time savings to caregiving.” Given that 40%, the authors wrote that “much of the time savings flow back to employers.” Additionally, they found that 34% of time savings went to leisure, which includes activities like reading or exercise.
Remote workers were also said to spend their time savings in the same way as the general population, with 42% going to primary or secondary jobs, 35% going to leisure, and 8% going to caregiving duties.
The sources for this piece include an article in BusinessInsider.