The Evolution of Work from Home
Full days worked at home account for 28 percent of paid workdays among Americans 20-64 years old, as of mid 2023, according to the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes. That’s about four times the 2019 rate and ten times the rate in the mid-1990s that we estimate in time-use data. We first explain why the big shift to work from home has endured rather than reverting to pre-pandemic levels. We then consider how work-from-home rates vary by worker age, sex, education, parental status, industry and local population density, and why it is higher in the United States than other countries. We also discuss some implications of the big shift for pay, productivity, and the pace of innovation. Over the next five years, U.S. business executives anticipate modest increases in the share of fully remote jobs at their own companies and in the share of jobs with hybrid arrangements, whereby the employee splits the workweek between home and employer premises. Other factors that portend an enduring shift to work from home include the ongoing adaptation of managerial practices and further advances in technologies, products, and tools that support remote work.
We thank the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Stanford University, Chicago Booth School of Business, Asociacion Mexicana de Cultura A.C., Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Toulouse Network for Information Technology, the MIT Mobility Initiative, and the Hoover Institution for funding to conduct the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes. We thank the editors for their guidance and helpful remarks on an early draft. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
I worked for McKinsey and company as a management consultant from 2001-2002. I have not received any funding from them after that time.
I am part of the Toulouse Network for Information Technology, which carries out research on IT and productivity. From this network I receive an annual honorarium, which is funded by Microsoft.
I do occasional consulting on management practices for government and policy agencies, like the Canadian Government, the World Bank, the European Union, the British Government, and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
I produced a report in 2008 for the World Economic Forum on management practices in private equity for which I received an honorarium.
I am a paid speaker at corporate events at which I discuss among other things working from home, management practices and policy uncertainty.
José María Barrero & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2023. "The Evolution of Work from Home," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol 37(4), pages 23-49. citation courtesy of