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Survey: Commuters Who Switched To Remote Work From Home Due To COVID-19 Saving Billions Of Dollars

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- If the pandemic shutdown has you working from home in the Bay Area, you are probably saving thousands of dollars by not commuting. A new survey says since switch to remote work last March, U.S. workers have saved more than $90 billion and ranks the Bay Area as one of the top 5 regions in the country saving the most.

Upwork, an online remote job site for workers and employers, did the survey and published the results in an article titled, 'How the Shift to Remote Work has Impacted Commuting.'

work from home, remote working, coronavirus, COVID-19
Kelly Mack works on her laptop to teach remotely from her early 1940s vintage camper/trailer in her backyard at home. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The survey looked at 1000 workers, including about 300 who were working from home due to COVID-19 and another 150 prior to the pandemic, and asked them how much time they were saving without a commute.

On average, "those who are working remotely due to COVID save an average of 49.6 minutes a day."

At that rate, Upwork says since March the COVID remote workers had saved more than 4 days.

Upwork says most of the COVID remote workers surveyed were commuting by car.

"Altogether, we estimate that those post-COVID remote workers are saving 32.9 million hours of car commuting per day," says Upwork.

At $12.50 an hour, the former commuters surveyed are saving more than $140 million a day.

Also, the sudden shift to a smaller carbon footprint and the savings on maintenance and repairs, "implies 890 million fewer miles traveled each day."

At 20.54 cents per mile, this translates to a whopping $183 million saved each day, not even including the economic toll on the environment, loss of property and life and other indirect costs from driving.

Epic Traffic Gridlock in Downtown San Francisco
Cars trying to exit San Francisco jam Battery Street on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. (CBS)

After doing all the math, Upwork concludes former commuters working remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic have saved $90 billion. That's about $2000 in savings per worker.

Workers in cities with the longest commute times save the most. East Stroudsburg, PA tops the list where commuters sit in traffic more than 83 minutes a day, according to Upwork, followed by New York and D.C.

Rounding out the Top 5 list are Vallejo/Fairfield and San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, with average commute times of more than 70 minutes a day.


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