Is Home Work Your Employment Future? Office Work Isn’t Dead Yet

As the pandemic rages on, there’s speculation about how Covid-19 is changing work, with many claims of a massive, permanent shift to working at home. But don’t sell your second car or turn in your commuter rail pass just yet. The jury is still out on the scale of any shift to working at home, and many white-collar workers will probably return to their offices. Some studies suggest a huge Covid-driven shift to home work. Researchers at MIT used a Google GOOGL -0.9% survey to conclude “that since between February and May 2020 over one-third of the labor force switched to remote work, resulting in about half of American workers now working from home.” About half of American workers? That’s well above a University of Chicago study estimating an “upper bound on what might be feasible,” finding that “37 percent of jobs in the United States can be performed entirely at home.” If the MIT study is right, then many more jobs are actually being done at home than the Chicago researchers found to be possible! In turn, both of these estimates are very large when compared to more comprehensive and pre-pandemic data sources. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 2018, only 5.3% of workers worked from home. (Other federal sources find somewhat higher numbers but the difference is rooted at least partly in how the question is asked.) Click to read more at www.forbes.com.