How do remote workers spend their 'commuting' time?

Report shows many people at home use time savings to start working

How do remote workers spend their 'commuting' time?

With no need to commute to work, workers are saving a lot of time during their workday – and they are spending most of those for work.

Overall, workers save 72 minutes daily when working from home, finds a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) report.

In Canada, workers save 65 minutes, and they spend 41 per cent of that time for work.

But they’re not necessarily sitting idly by: Workers allocate 40 per cent of their time savings to their primary and secondary jobs, according to the study based on three surveys: one with nearly 19,000 respondents, one with over 33,000 respondents and one with nearly 34,900 respondents, from 27 countries.

Other ways that they use up the time saved include leisure (34 per cent) and childcare (11 per cent) globally. In Canada, leisure takes up 37 per cent of that time and childcare seven per cent.

In Canada, 80 per cent of remote workers say they would rather look for a new job if required to go back to the office full-time, according to a previous report.


In 2021 and 2022, work from home saved about two hours per week per worker, according to the NBER report written by Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, et. al.

That amounts to 2.2 per cent of a 46-hour workweek, with 40 paid hours plus six hours of commuting, they say.

The private value of the commute time savings associated with work from home, the researchers estimate, will be about 2.2 percent of after-tax earnings in the post-pandemic economy.

Almost half (45 per cent) of workers say they save at least $5,000 a year by working remotely, according to a previous survey by FlexJobs.

Work from home and the associated drop in commuting also affect individuals and society through many other channels, according to the NBER study, as it “expands personal freedom, improves life quality, brings new employment opportunities and builds social capital in residential communities.” The change also means “lighter loads on transport systems and, in particular, less congestion at peak travel times.”

Employers also benefit from hiring remote workers, according to Oyster HR, such as:

  • access to worldwide talent
  • flexibility for team members
  • increased productivity
  • meeting new hire demands
  • reduced overhead costs.

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