Working from home may mean less time in the shower—but also more time at your desk.
Forgoing grooming and commuting gives at-home workers in the US an extra six hours compared to when they went into the office, according to a monthly survey of nearly 4,000 respondents put together by a group of economists. Half of that extra time goes to more recreational activities, but they spend the other half working.
How much time does WFH save?
The survey respondents are all US workers aged 20 to 64 who made $20,000 or more in 2019. The economists, who work out of Stanford, MIT, the University of Chicago, and Mexico’s ITAM, began their polling shortly after the start of the pandemic to gauge its impact on Americans’ work setup.
In January, they found workers saved about 60 minutes a day from not commuting, and 10 minutes from skipping daily grooming tasks like showering, shaving, putting on clean clothes, or putting on makeup.
Overall, remote workers report that they’ve become more efficient at working from home than in the office.
Are workers going back to the office?
Despite the extra work hours, many workers are reluctant to go back to the office full-time. On average, the 42,000 remote workers polled since July 2020 have said they plan to work from home two days a week even after the pandemic subsidies. Employers are also warming up to a hybrid model in a post-pandemic world. While in 2020 they preferred employees work one day a week from home, they now feel comfortable with up to one and half days. (Around 15% of remote employees, many of them in IT support jobs, say their employees have agreed that they can remain fully remote.)
While many employees are no longer wasting time trying to impress colleagues with clean clothes or makeup, they are also worried about losing the natural in-office interactions and social connections that would help them advance. Younger workers in particular said they are concerned working from home might affect whether or not they get a promotion.
So for now, the survey shows twice as many employees opting for hybrid working situations compared to those who are fully remote.