The University of Southern California and California Emerging Technology Fund released a survey on remote work and telehealth on Monday. The study shows that remote work reduces work-related vehicle trips. Californians embrace the benefits of working from home during the pandemic and expect to stay home after the COVID crisis.
The study interviews 1,650 California residents. 55% of them have been working fully or partially remote, with 38% full-time remote workers and 17% part-time. Among those working from home, 31% would rather stay at home; 22-29% prefer a hybrid solution; 18% want to go back to the office.
Researchers found that older adults (63%), 65 years old and over, experienced the highest level of remote work. Even when we tend to think that older adults struggle more with technologies, they take the most benefits of remote work. The second-largest group of remote workers ranges from 35 to 44 years old. Finally, those between 18 and 34 are less likely to telecommute.
Remote Work Reduces Vehicle Trips
Most importantly, 31% of participants are expecting to stay remote and reduce vehicle trips. Without the traditional five-day-per-week commute pattern, the study suggests that telecommuting could reduce vehicle trips by 55% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
70% of those who turned to remote work during the pandemic expect to cut their medical-related vehicle trips by at least half. Overall, 95% of the respondents think that a combination of distance learning and telehealth will replace some vehicle trips for traditional in-person courses and medical visits.
The hesitancy towards remote work and distance learning was swept away by necessity during the pandemic. As the study’s lead researcher and an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Hernán Galperin says: “Now we’re seeing a seismic shift in the way people want to work, learn and manage health visits among those who have broadband access. Those changes give us a real opportunity to cut congestion and carbon emissions.”