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Work from home and daily time allocations: evidence from the coronavirus pandemic

Brandon J. Restrepo () and Eliana Zeballos
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Brandon J. Restrepo: Food Economics Division

Review of Economics of the Household, 2022, vol. 20, issue 3, No 3, 735-758

Abstract: Abstract The emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. were quickly followed by a widespread expansion in remote work eligibility, which, in turn, led to necessary alignments between pre-existing household management schedules and new home-based work schedules for many of those who worked from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use 24-hour time diary data from the 2010–2020 American Time Use Survey to examine how major daily time allocations of those who WFH changed during the pandemic compared with those who worked away from home (WAFH). Before the pandemic, we find that those who WFH spent significantly less time working, commuting to work, grooming, and eating away from home, but significantly more time sleeping, socializing, relaxing, doing housework, caring for children, shopping, preparing food, and eating at home. During the pandemic, we find generally small and statistically insignificant changes in the time allocations of those who WAFH, but several large and significant changes in uses of time for those who WFH. A noteworthy intra-pandemic increase was in time devoted to labor market work by those who WFH, which almost halved the pre-pandemic WAFH-WFH difference. Results also show large and significant reductions in time devoted to other activities during the pandemic, including work-related travel, socializing, doing housework, shopping, shopping-related travel, and eating away from home. The intra-pandemic redistribution of time by those who WFH may have health and quality-of-life implications that should be assessed as the pandemic subsides and WFH becomes a more common feature of post-pandemic life.

Keywords: Coronavirus; COVID-19; Time use; Work from home; Telework; Work away from home; D13; I12; J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11150-022-09614-w

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