Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to start working from home, Americans have saved more than 32.9 million hours of commuting by car, according to new research. For the average person who previously was driving to work daily, that adds up to more than four full days that could be used for other activities, especially in 10 metro areas across the country.
For older adults, that freedom from traffic is one of the biggest benefits of working from home. To measure how much of an impact the nationwide switch to telework has had, Upwork — a jobs website that specializes in remote work positions — surveyed 1,000 people who currently are working from home to see how much commuting time they are saving. Among the respondents, 31.4 percent were working from home due to the coronavirus.
Upwork found that people working remotely due to the coronavirus saved an average of 49.6 minutes a day, which means that since the abrupt shift to telework in mid-March, people have saved more than 4 days. And they're not only saving time, but also money.
"To put this into perspective, commuters who were commuting by car prior to the pandemic have saved over $2,000 each since mid-March,” says Adam Ozimek, Upwork's chief economist. Ozimek estimates that, nationwide, former commuters could be saving as much as $183 million per day in direct commuting costs such as fuel, maintenance and repairs.
To find out where former commuters saw the biggest benefits, Upwork compared the results of its survey with data from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify which metro areas have the most jobs that could be done remotely. Of the 261 regions analyzed, the top 10 places where remote workers save the most time on commutes are:
- East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania: 83.6 minutes per day
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York and New Jersey: 76.2 minutes per day
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia and Virginia: 71.9 minutes per day
- Vallejo-Fairfield, California: 70.4 minutes per day
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California: 70.2 minutes per day
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut: 69.2 minutes per day
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois: 67.5 minutes per day
- Bremerton-Silverdale, Washington: 67.3 minutes per day
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts and New Hampshire: 66.8 minutes per day
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California: 66.6 minutes per day