Since the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, in the United States, many companies have been forced to close their offices to prevent the transmission of the virus among their workforce. The change has completely reshaped corporate cultures as more companies plan on working from home until 2021. Now, a new study shows that not driving to work has saved Americans close to $91 billion.
The study, done by economist Adam Ozimek of Upwork, explores shifts in corporate structures and workers since the COVID-19 pandemic started. “Since the onset of COVID-19 and the massive shift to remote work, however, many are considering life without a commute,” Ozimek wrote in the study.
“To understand the impact of remote work on commutes, we surveyed 1,000 people currently working from home to see how much time they are saving sans commute. Of this group, 31.4% are working from home due to COVID and 15% were working from home prior to COVID.” The data shows that the average American worker saved $2,000 each from trading in their commute for a home office.
“Of the COVID remote workers, 86% report having previously commuted by car and are now saving, on average, 46.3 minutes per day,” he adds. “Altogether, we estimate that those post-COVID remote workers are saving 32.9 million hours of car commuting per day.”
The reduction in commuting has correlated with an increase in productivity, which is part of why many companies like Twitter plan to permanently stay remote.
It also has an economic effect: The study estimates that for every day of the pandemic, $183 million was saved in fuel plus the costs of car maintenance and repairs; $164 million in costs associated with pollution, congestion, and accidents; and $411 million as the value of time saved. That’s $758 million a day saved by workers who used to drive to the office, or more than $90 billion since mid-March for those car commuters now working from home.
Despite the savings, cities are hurting from the shift in the area of public transportation that has seen a sharp drop since the pandemic started and social distancing was implemented. In New York City, the MTA announced that they need $12 billion in aid from the federal government or they will have to reduce their operation by 40% to 50% by the end of the year.
“Expenses cannot be reduced quickly and significantly enough to offset the 40% reduction in revenue we have experienced and are expecting,” the MTA said in a statement, according to The Hill.