A new study from the Becker-Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago found that remote work saved about two hours per week in 2022. That time would otherwise be spent in the car or on public transit.
What happens to that time saved? According to the study, people actually tend to spend it working. On average, of the time people save working from home, 40% goes to extra work on primary or secondary jobs, 34% to leisure, and 11% to caregiving activities.
That’s over 45 minutes more work per week. This is directly related to extensive data that shows workers are more productive when working remotely.
Overall, productivity is significantly higher with remote work, as evidenced by a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) which found that businesses relying on remote work, such as IT and finance, saw productivity growth increase from 1.1% between 2010 and 2019 to 3.3% since the start of the pandemic.
In contrast, industries that require in-person contact, such as transportation, dining and hospitality, saw productivity growth decrease from 0.6% between 2010 and 2019 to a decline of 2.6% since the start of the pandemic.
In addition to time savings for workers related to less commuting, working from home also means lighter loads on transport systems and less congestion at peak travel times. Evidence also points to reduced energy consumption and pollution, as well as other benefits.
Another benefit of remote work is that it leads to improved work-life balance, which prevents burnout and thus increases productivity and retention alike. Happier and more fulfilled employees, leads to better productivity and performance.