Working from home has saved Britons an average of 73 minutes each day, according to new research.
Most of the time saved has been divided almost equally between more work and leisure activities, a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found.
The shift to working from home began almost three years ago, when pandemic lockdowns were enforced. The time saved in Britain puts it slightly ahead of the average in 27 countries, which stood at 72 minutes. In the United States, only 55 minutes have been saved; in China, it is 102 minutes.
British homeworkers devoted an average of 38 per cent of their daily time savings to work on a primary or secondary job, according to the NBER’s working paper, and 39 per cent to leisure. An average of 9 per cent went to caregiving.
“The pandemic-induced shift to work from home yielded large private benefits in the form of commute time savings,” the paper said. Homeworking “expands personal freedom, improves life quality, brings new employment opportunities and builds social capital in residential communities”, it added, citing Going Remote, a book by Matthew Kahn, the urban economist.
Some leading executives, including Jamie Dimon have been critical of homeworking. The practice “doesn’t work for young kids, or spontaneity, or management,” the JP Morgan boss told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week. Occupancy in offices across ten of America’s largest cities has recovered to 47 per cent, according to a weekly barometer from Kastle Systems.
During 2021 and 2022, the report estimates that homeworking saved an average of two hours per week, per worker, including those who never work remotely. This is expected to fall to about one hour per week, per worker after the pandemic.