Massive Number of Workers Have Never Gone Back to the Office After COVID

During the pandemic, people were asked to social distance and stay at home whenever possible. Many non-emergency and non-service workers stayed home and worked from home.

Now that the pandemic is coming to a close in terms of restrictions and work-from-home rules, new statistics show many people are nonetheless choosing to keep working from home.

Shocking Stats as 30% of People Prefer to Continue Working From Home

Statistics from this January show that 30% of America’s workforce was working remotely. That’s up 600% from January 2019 just before the pandemic.

This rate goes up even further for 2023 when you count big cities like Washington, D.C. and New York, where closer to 50% of the workforce is remote.

Office space isn’t worth nearly what it used to be; it’s a huge change to the landscape of city centers and the way people work, commute, and go on vacation.

Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom says the growth of remote work is affecting almost everything including “affecting” people’s leisure schedule, when they shop, and the hours they work.

According to Bloom, these changes are “mostly positive,” although not entirely.

Does Remote Work Actually Work?

Remote work depends on each individual in terms of how it goes. Some may find it distracting or hard to focus, while others enjoy the ability to have more control over their own schedules and save time that would otherwise be sitting in traffic and standing in lines.

For service workers and restaurant staff, as well as people like nurses and hospital staff, remote work was never really a reality, so not a lot has changed.

Whereas for many of those working in IT, customer service, finance, and other sectors, the remote style is here to stay.

Many companies now ask employees to come in three days a week and permit them to work remotely two days a week.

How This Is Impacting Cities

As mentioned, commercial real estate and office space is going down. Cities like Chicago have 49% office vacancies; DC is at 53% empty, while LA and New York are at 41%.

Austin, Seattle, and San Jose have also seen a big emptying out of the downtown as workers go remote, partly owing to their large tech sectors.

The office space still has value, of course, but a lot of it is going to end up being turned from workspace into residential space and apartments for people to live in.

There’s just not as much demand by companies to have physical office space anymore inside major metro areas.

The Bottom Line

Remote work is here to stay, and in fact, it’s likely to only grow with the years. The economy and people will just have to adjust to the new reality and make the best of it.