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KPBS Midday Edition

Pandemic Expected To Bring Increase In Remote Work, But Not Huge Shift

Andrew Picard looks at his computer during a virtual meeting with a colleague while working from home, March 3, 2021.
Andrew Bowen
Andrew Picard looks at his computer during a virtual meeting with a colleague while working from home, March 3, 2021.

Many people have been working remotely for the past year or so. Now that things are opening back up, only 10% of surveyed San Diego businesses expect 75% or more of their staff to work remotely three days a week or more, according to a recent report from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The pandemic proved working remotely can be done, so, why aren’t more employers offering that kind of flexibility?

Pandemic Expected To Bring Increase In Remote Work, But Not Huge Shift
Listen to this story by Gabriela Fernandez-Silva

Antoinette Meier, SANDAG’s Director of Mobility and Innovation, joined Midday Edition on Monday to discuss how employers and employees responded to the survey.

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"Many of them (employers) feel like they need to see their employees working, to believe that their working, to believe that they're being productive and not distracted by other activities," Meier said. "While employees felt like they were much more productive working from home, that the quality of their work was better when they were working from home, employers didn't have the same perception."

Other interview highlights:

  • With remote work, employees reported more work life balance and greater job satisfaction.
  • With remote work, both employers and employees said there is a cost savings, but teamwork, communication and coordination are difficult.
  • Forty percent of companies say they will offer remote work to at least one of their employees, one day per week. Prior to the pandemic that was 27%.
  • The San Diego region has more "teleworkable" jobs than other parts of the country — about 39% of occupations in the region are considered "teleworkable."
  • Telework is more prominent among higher-wage workers and professional services. Telework is more prevalent among white and Asian professionals, than Hispanic and Black professionals.
  • Professional, technical, scientific services expect to have higher rates of telework, as compared to all employers in the region.
Forty percent of companies say they will offer remote work to at least one of their employees, one day per week. Prior to the pandemic that was 27%.