We now have 60 million more hours.
What did we do with them?
Reducing those 60 million hours of non-commuting time to you and me, we can ask, what did we do? The first possibility is to work more at home.
What did we do? Employees reported using 35 percent of saved commuting time on work. But then with less work, we could do so much more. What we did with our newfound time depended on our age. A younger cohort went to bars, exercised, did social stuff. Meanwhile, those of us who are older did nonmarket work like repairs, meal prep, childcare:
Who were we with? We spent more time alone or with the members of our household:
Now, as we move closer to a new normal, more than 15 percent of us remain fully remote while 30 percent opted for hybrid. The result? We continue to have a massive shift in the work leisure tradeoff.
Our Bottom Line: Tradeoffs
As economists, we can look at Covid’s impact on work and leisure through a tradeoffs lense. Before the pandemic, commuting to and from work occupied an average of 52.2 minutes a day. Yes, the numbers depend on where you live and what you do. (At econlife we ‘ve looked at the cities with the worst raffic jams.) But still, whether more or less, we all are changing the work leisure tradeoff. As a result, we tweaked the balance toward more leisure, especvially if we were younger.
Below, we compare average weekly working hours, before and during Covid:
My sources and more: The NY Fed’s LIberty Street Economics, always good for interesting researcjh, was where I kearned more about our time use. Then CEPR added to the details.