A new study has found that more than two-thirds of Bay Area businesses said they expect workers to be in the office no more than three days a week, even after the pandemic is over.
For decades, the daily commute saga in the Bay Area had been the subject of nightmares.
But for many people, it all ended with the pandemic, as many were asked to work from home.
So what happens when the pandemic ends?
âWe envision a return to work two days a week,â said Aleena Lopez of Dublin Lopez, like so many working parents who are discovering a new work-life balance during the pandemic.
âI would prefer to work full time from home if I could. I feel more productive that way, âshe said.
A not surprising statement to the Bay Area Council, which has been studying pandemic trends in the workplace and traffic since April.
â40% of employers said 3 days a week would be the new normal,â said Kelly Obranowicz.
The council surveyed more than 200 employers in July in the nine Bay Area counties.
Before the pandemic, 93% of employers required employees to spend four to five days in the office each week.
But the latest figures show that only 19% plan to keep five-day work weeks and 13% will have employees come to the workplace 4 days a week.
âIt’s in all industries, so it’s kind of a confirmation that it doesn’t matter your size, industry or where you are. People are looking to have a work week less than a day in the workplace, âObranowicz said.
âI think it’s a good idea. I think prevention is better than cure,â said Florence Lacy from Dublin.
Lacy, who has worked from home for 20 years, is not surprised that his neighbors have found value in this work-home balance and that employers have too.
âBecause then you can take care of the kids and the husband or wife can cook dinner,â she said.
But, while more and more people are working from home, the latest findings are also raising concerns about traffic patterns.
“If you look at Bay Bridge’s traffic levels over the past two months, it’s almost the pre-pandemic traffic levels,” Obranowicz added.
The council also investigated whether concerns about the effect of the delta variant on people’s return to work.
In addition, fears over peak COVID-19 infections may fuel a reluctance by many to return to public transport.
Although traffic levels are currently high, researchers say the Bay Area could see 1 million fewer commuters per day permanently once this pandemic is truly over.