Work-from-home – or remote work – became a major trend at onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some workers, mostly in the knowledge economy, had already been working from a home office, many more shifted to remote work in March 2020. In some cases, these workers have stayed home, while others have since returned to the office on a full- or part-time basis.
Changes in where and how we work affect so many parts of the US economy, from obvious sectors like commercial real estate to how commuting or not changes where and how workers spend their money. Therefore, an investigation into consumer trends in this area can give insight to marketing and product development opportunities.
This report contains analysis and data-based discussions of work-from-home trends, including a look at COVID-19 pandemic concerns and wellness impacts, attitudes about work, demographic trends, and other consumer insights.
This report includes analysis, data, trends, and customized cross tabs using two survey resources:
As of May 2022, 64% of respondents reported that they were set up to do their usual paid work from home regularly, on a part-time basis, or when needed. This is a share that has held steady since May 2020. This shows that most of the people who moved home for the pandemic period were still working remotely on at least some level two years later.
Most companies that have asked their remote workers to return to offices continue to allow workers to work from home a few days a week or as needed. This means that even though more workers are now spending some of their time in an office, the number who have the option of working from home at least part of the time has remained at the same elevated levels over the last two years.
Among employed consumers who reported that they are set up to work from home as of early May 2022, 41% reported usually working from home most or all of the time. You can see an increase in each of these categories since 2020:
When looking at primary workplaces, there was a significant bump in people working primarily from home that correlates with the pandemic. The percentage of respondents working primarily from home has stayed at the same level from 2021 to 2022. Data on the following table reflects surveys completed in the spring of that year. Therefore, the data from 2020 includes survey results completed in the spring of 2020, so 2021 (from spring 2020 to spring 2021) more closely reflects the initial pandemic trends.
The number of people who report having an office at home had ticked up slowly pre-pandemic and then took a leap forward during the pandemic. Levels then continued to tick up slightly from that new normal base level into 2022.
The pandemic was clearly a disruptive force that propelled primarily working from home and the installation of home office spaces to higher levels. Throughout the economy, there is no real expectation to bring all remote workers back into offices on a full-time basis. However, the evolution of hybrid work is ongoing.
Office coffee is a classic perk provided to workers in an office. Still, there are generational difference in how important coffee is as an in-office perk, in general:
Looking at who is most interested in key perks can help companies craft plans for successfully encouraging workers to return to offices more often while minimizing disruptions and without triggering a worker exodus.