If You Drive to Work, You've Secretly Saved This Much Money in 2020
The COVID pandemic has allowed some workers to save money and time from their old commutes.
When the pandemic hit the United States in mid-March, many companies shut down their offices and a large percentage of the workforce started working from home. And today, many nonessential workers are still signing on remotely. While Zoom calls and casual dress codes (read: pajamas) have certainly been an adjustment on the job, there has been one major perk to the change. If you normally drive yourself to the office, working from home may have saved you an average of $2,000 since March.
Upwork, an agency that matches freelancers with temporary jobs, released a study on Aug. 28 detailing the drastic savings commuters have earned as a result of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the study, they found that altogether, employees around the country saved $758 million a day by not driving to work anymore. Since mid-March, that's an overall saving of more than $90 billion.
"To put this into perspective, commuters who were commuting by car prior to the pandemic have saved over $2,000 each since mid-March, including the costs to the public from their driving," study author Adam Ozimek wrote.
Upwork surveyed 1,000 people currently working from home and found that 86 percent previously commuted by car. Using the data from how long their last commute was, they found that those working remotely due to COVID have saved an average of 49.6 minutes a day that was normally spent commuting. This adds up to four full days worth of time that people have saved since they stopped commuting in mid-March.
But Ozimek's research didn't stop there. Though not having a commute is better for everyone, Ozimek noted, there are a few regions in which working from home specifically benefited employees.
Upwork used the American Community Survey Data to calculate the average commute length in major metros and discovered that the area saving the most time working from home each day was East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where commuters were saving 83.6 minutes a day in commute time. This was followed by the New York City metro area, the Washington D.C. metro area, Vallejo-Fairfield, California, and the San Francisco metro area.
"What we find in the ranking is workers living in the biggest cities around the U.S. would find the biggest commuting benefits," Ozimek wrote. "These areas tend to have desirable labor markets in the large, dense, cities at their cores, which makes individuals willing to pay a high cost of commuting to access them."
And it's likely that remote working won't be something many are willing to give up, even after the pandemic. After all, Ozimek says that the "lack of a commute is undoubtedly viewed by many as a top benefit of remote work." The freedom and flexibility many professionals have now found in their schedules due to remote work is also a perk, and it turns out "businesses who embrace remote work may also find increased productivity as professionals shed the time and stress of extensive commutes," Ozimek writes. And for more info about working from home, check out This Is How Much Longer You'll Be Working From Home, Doctor Predicts.