Telework during the COVID-19 pandemic: estimates using the 2021 Business Response Survey
Using new data from the 2021 Business Response Survey, a large, nationally representative survey of U.S. private sector businesses, this article presents unique estimates of telework patterns observed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We find that, between July and September 2021, 13 percent of all U.S. private sector jobs involved teleworking full time and 9 percent involved teleworking some of the time.
Telework was less common in establishments that increased base wages during the pandemic. The share of establishments that increased telework was larger among establishments that started offering flexible work hours or compressed work schedules after the pandemic hit. Telework was also associated with reductions in workplace square footage and relocation. Within each industry sector, low-paying establishments had a smaller share of jobs that involved telework.
There were 83,032 respondents to the 2021 BRS, which was conducted from July to September 2021 and collected information from a representative sample of private sector establishments in the United States. One part of the survey asked a sequence of three questions about the telework behavior of employees at each establishment. Specifically, it asked respondents to report the percentage of their employees currently teleworking all the time, some of the time (but not all), and rarely or never, allowing us to distinguish among three groups of workers. The survey instructions directed respondents to ensure that the three responses summed to approximately 100 percent, so that each employee would be counted in one of the three groups. The final sample of usable responses contains data for 72,324 establishments.
Business Response Survey: https://www.bls.gov/brs/
Stanford Digital Economy Lab, How Many Americans Work Remotely? (3/11) https://digitaleconomy.stanford.edu/publications/how-many-americans-work-remotely/