Changing America

Lower percentage of private sector employees teleworked last year, but practice is here to stay in some businesses: poll

More than a quarter of establishments still allowed at least some teleworking
man works from home on kitchen table

Story at a glance

  • A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found many establishments are having their workers return to an office, but some still let them partially or entirely work from home.

  • About two-thirds of employees in the information industry still worked remotely.

  • Workers have increasingly returned to the office as they resume normal activities from the COVID-19 pandemic, but telework might be here to stay for now at least.

The number of private sector employees teleworking dropped by more than 12 points last year compared to 2021 as many returned to normal operations from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll. 

A release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a survey found 27.5 percent of private sector establishments allowed teleworking partially or entirely during August and September 2022, a 12.4-point drop from the 39.9 percent who allowed it at least somewhat during July to September 2021. 

The information industry by far had the highest percentage of teleworkers with 67.4 percent doing so during the time surveyed. Professional and business services followed with 49 percent, then educational services with 46 percent and wholesale trade with 39 percent. 

The percentage of establishments were some but not all employees were teleworking also dropped from 29.8 percent in 2021 to 16.4 percent in 2022. The percentage with employees teleworking full-time remained about the same, rising from 10.3 percent to 11.1 percent. 

The survey also found more than 95 percent of establishments expected the amount of telework to stay the same through the next six months. 

Many businesses rushed to remote operations following the initial outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, but many have shifted back at least somewhat to in-person operations. 

But teleworking does appear to show signs of staying despite most people returning to normal activities from before the pandemic. 

A data-collection project found almost 30 percent of all work in January was done at home, which is six times the rate from 2019. 

The labor statistics survey was conducted from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2022, and was administered to about 335,000 establishments.

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