Saying goodbye to the dreaded commute – at least for a while – is leaving workers a lot of time to do their jobs, according to a new report.
CoPilot researchers found that on average, Jacksonville workers who have been working from home since the pandemic have gained back 9.7% of their work time that was previously spent commuting.
The average commute time before the pandemic hit in Jacksonville was 4.3 hours per week, with 79.4% of workers who commuted alone by car, according to the report by CoPilot, a car shopping app.
Jenny Barth, an assistant athletic director at the University of North Florida, is one of those Jacksonville workers who’s gained time since the pandemic began. She estimates working remotely has been saving her between two and four hours a week.
“We have all of our meetings online, just to keep safe distances, [to] keep our student athletes in their bubble,” Barth said.
Once the pandemic ends, Barth speculates the university may end up with a system that includes a mix of remote and on-campus work.
“We’ve been forced to figure out this online technology, but I think it’s also allowed us to be innovative in a lot of ways. So, I think we will keep moving forward with that and create a hybrid, because people really enjoy getting to work from home. And they also like having a break, being able to go into the office,” she said.
The commute time savings is playing out in cities and states across the country, according to the CoPilot report.
Florida workers spent an average of 10.7% of their work week, or 4.7 hours per week, on their commute prior to the pandemic, according to the report, which looked at U.S. Census data.
In Florida’s large cities, Miami's workforce has the most to gain from going remote, saving an average of 11.3% of time that is lost to commuting.
The report only looked at commute times and work hours prior to the pandemic. It does not contain any data concerning whether remote work hours have remained constant compared to on-site hours. Prior to the pandemic, the report found that total commuting and working time per week in Jacksonville averaged out to 43.9 hours.
For Barth, while the experience has resulted in some new-found time, it also has somewhat blurred at least one line.
“It is also an interesting component of when does your workday begin or end?” she said.
The full CoPilot report is available here