Hiding money from your spouse is never a good idea, our columnist says.
- Working remotely saves employees an average of 70 minutes per day, a study shows.
- Nine of those minutes come from less personal grooming, such as shaving or putting on makeup.
- Remote employees still spend much of their time savings working on their primary jobs.
If you woke up this morning without an alarm, skipped the shower, and zipped up your favorite hoodie before logging on for a day of remote work, you’re far from alone.
New data show that remote workers spend an average of nine minutes less on workday personal grooming than commuters do, according to an ongoing work-from-home study by researchers at the University of Chicago, ITAM, MIT, and Stanford.
In the latest update, roughly 4,000 workers were asked to share which tasks they performed on days they worked from home, and on days they headed to the office.
On average, the office workers reported spending 28 minutes getting themselves ready to go to work, while remote workers took 19 before clocking in.
The largest percentage point drops were from people opting not to put on make-up, shave, or pick out a fresh set of clothes for the day when they stayed home. (The study did not go into detail about what was considered “fresh” or not.)
Remote workers also reported waking up more naturally than commuters, with the percentage of people setting an alarm falling from 87.6% on in-office days to 77.4% when staying home.
It may not come as a surprise, but personal hygiene takes a noticeable hit when people work from home as well.
The percentage of workers who skip daily showers jumps from 15% of office workers to 26.6% of remote workers. And while 93% of office workers report wearing deodorant, the percentage falls to 81.6% when staying home.
Oral hygiene fares better than other morning routines, but it still takes a 3.5 percentage-point hit when workers stay home, dropping from 95.3% to 91.8%.
When these minutes spent getting ready get added to time spent commuting, remote work saves employees an average of 70 minutes per day, one of the study’s co-authors, Nick Bloom, pointed out in a tweet.
“About 1/2 of this saved time goes to working more and 1/2 to leisure/tasks, so employers and employees benefit,” Bloom said.
Indeed, an earlier data set from the same study found that remote employees spend about 20 minutes of each hour they save from commuting on doing work for their primary job.
That same data also shows that 86% of respondents were more efficient doing their jobs remotely specifically due to spending less time commuting to work.
These latest numbers indicate there’s a productivity benefit not just from skipping the travel, but from worrying less about appearances too.