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Americans claw back 60 million commute hours with remote work benefit

Americans who work from home have recouped 60 million hours they spent commuting to the office each day. They now use this time to sleep more.

That’s according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which analyzed data from the US Time Use Survey to see what American workers spent their time on when they weren’t stuck on a crowded train or stuck in traffic. The main results: employees spent fewer hours at work and significantly more on sleep and leisure.

Even though many companies are bringing their staff back to the office, around 15% are still working entirely remotely and 30% have a hybrid schedule, according to a study by Professor Nick Bloom of Stanford University. While employees might instead deploy what was commuting time to work, the researchers found that overall time spent working decreased as people substituted other activities throughout the day, such as laundry or exercise.

“The results lend credence to various reports of employee preferences for flexible working hours, given that the reduction in commuting allows people to spend their time on other activities, such as childcare or recreation,” the report’s authors wrote. “This added benefit of working from home – for those who want it – will be an important consideration for the future of flexible working arrangements.”

Young workers were more likely to spend more time on hobbies, such as going to bars and restaurants or exercising, while older workers were more likely to take care of household chores such as cooking. cooking, cleaning and caring for children. All groups slept more – about an extra hour a day. This discovery alone is good news for the well-being of American workers, as chronic sleep deprivation contributes to a litany of serious health problems.

Alexia Cambon, head of research for the human resources practice at consulting firm Gartner, said just because employees work fewer hours doesn’t necessarily mean they’re less productive. “If you spend 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or however many hours a day you work, on energy-intensive activities, no matter how many hours you log — you’re not going to perform very well, and you’re not going to perform well. ‘re not going to be engaged.

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