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UT study finds that Texans now prefer to work away from home

Researchers found that the pandemic previously created a shift in remote work from 7% participation to 62% in the U.S.

AUSTIN, Texas — A study by the University of Texas found that most of the state's commuters now prefer to work at the office.

The study, which was conducted earlier this year, found that out of more than 1,100 participants, most preferred an "out-of-home" workplace – even if they've never worked there before.

Researchers asked respondents to record the number of working days per month across three different workplace options: the office, from home, or out of a hotel, coffee shop or beach front.

The study showed Texans' immediate work environment is most important to them, regardless of things like traffic or commute time.

Researchers reported that the COVID-19 pandemic created a shift in remote work from 7% participation to 62% in the U.S. in 2020 and into the early months of 2021.

"As society started partially opening up in the later months of 2021 and into 2022, individuals have sought to revisit pre-COVID commute patterns, and are exploring a portfolio of work arrangements and workplace locations," researchers said.

The study also found that those who did prefer to work from home included single mothers with young children, those who deal with long commutes and heavy traffic or those who are self-employed and have a private study in their homes. Meanwhile, whose who preferred to work away from home included older men, people with homes in rural locations, those in low-income households or those in essential service jobs.

"These results should provide valuable insights to urban planners, homebuilders, employers, travel demand modelers, and a whole host of other businesses to achieve desired end states," researchers wrote. "Our results also point to the immediate work environment being at least as important (if not more important) than geographic WPL location attributes such as commute time, with the recommendation that corporate institutions invest more on ways to reduce distraction in the environment of the work office if they plan to encourage employees to work from the office too at times for organizational productivity."


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