Busier roads and congested trains are greeting U.S. workers as more of them return to in-person work, the U.S. Census Bureau found.
According to data released this week, the mean commuting time for U.S. workers increased by one minute from 25.6 minutes in 2021 to 26.4 in 2022 as businesses seek to end full-time remote work. The data found that the rate at which people are working from home dropped by about 3 percentage points from 18% in 2021 to 15.2% in 2022.
The rate at which people came to work in personal cars and public transportation also increased. According to the data, the rate of people driving to work rose from 67.8% to 68.7%. Public transport also got busier, with the rate rising from 2.5% to 3.1% year over year.
Even so, the number of people working remotely towers over COVID-19 levels. In 2019, before the pandemic started, only 5.7% of workers were remote, with most of them driving to work.
As the pandemic recedes, more employers are bringing their employees back to the office. While most employees are not remote, many are on a hybrid plan that sees them in the office at least three days a week. Remote work, especially hybrid models, remains popular among U.S. workers.
Many tech companies that were the first to institute sweeping remote work policies are trying to claw back their workers with mixed results. Amazon recently called its employees back to the office three days a week, only to be met with small protests by workers who disagreed with the company’s in-office surveillance policy.