Just as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted many Finance processes, it also affected how Americans work.
The latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows exactly how workers have spent their time over the past two years.
Balancing act while Americans work
Due to the pandemic, the number of people who telecommuted rose dramatically: 42% of employed people worked at home on days they worked in 2020, compared with 22% in 2019.
Hours worked at home also increased from 3.6 hours in 2019 to 5.8 hours in 2020. This included hours employees put in on unscheduled workdays. That may have created hassles for Payroll.
When looking at particular industries, the largest increase of employees who began working at home because of COVID-19 occurred in finance (40% increase), professional and business services (25% increase), and education and health services (23% increase).
Many employees at home had to juggle their work duties with watching their children. Workers also helped them with virtual school.
American adults in households with at least one child under the age of 13 performed an average of 6.1 hours per day of “secondary childcare” in 2020. This is what the BLS calls having at least one child in their care while doing other primary activities than childcare (e.g., working).
And on days they helped children with educational activities, adults spent 2.2 hours doing so in 2020, compared with an hour in 2019.
Less travel time
The combination of fewer employees commuting to work and taking children to school or daycare, and travel restrictions caused by local lockdowns cut down on people’s daily travel time.
In fact, the average travel time each day decreased from 1.2 hours a day in 2019 to just 47 minutes a day in 2020. And only 67% of people traveled in a given day – down from 84% in 2019.
Time will tell if these changes to the way Americans work will become permanent as the pandemic continues.
If they do, your Payroll pros may have to rethink common practices for timekeeping, onboarding and more. Other Finance processes may be affected as well. You may want to look into e-signatures for documents and invoices.