Widespread remote work has always felt just a few years away—something you could see happening, but maybe not at your workplace.
Ah, pre-pandemic innocence. Were we ever so young?
Within a matter of weeks, days for some, a flood of companies suddenly needed to operate without an office. One study by Global Workplace Analytics estimated that remote workers before the Covid-19 pandemic accounted for less than 4% of the US workforce. After the outbreak, that shot up to 56% of the US’ 135 million workers—a 14x increase within a single quarter.
With more people working from home, it’s also possible to cut down on commercial sources of electricity. Since the beginning of the pandemic in the US, the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago has tracked nationwide electricity usage. According to their data, between April and May, after a number of states issued stay-at-home orders, electricity consumption dropped an average of 6-7% over that two-month period compared to pre-pandemic levels. While the Energy Policy Institute noted that there was an increase in residential power, they attributed this overall dip to a “very substantial” drop in commercial and industrial sectors.