Californians want to keep working and learning from home post-pandemic, survey says


Working from home could be one of the pandemic practices that’s here to stay, CBS Los Angeles reports. A new survey from the University of Sothern California and the California Emerging Technology Fund explored Californians feelings about remote work, remote learning and telehealth after more than a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers say they have found hesitancy about each of these practices have been swept away.

“Now we’re seeing a seismic shift in the way people want to work, learn and manage health visits among those who have broadband access. Those changes give us a real opportunity to cut congestion and carbon emissions,” Hernan Galperin, the study’s lead researcher and an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, said in a statement.

The survey found that 42% of current, full-time remote workers want to keep working from home. Another 21% who also want to keep working from home say they are willing to go into the office one or two days a week. However, 17% of those surveyed say they want to go back to their workplaces five days a week.

However, the opportunity for telecommuting was not evenly distributed among workers. People between 18 and 34 were found to be the least likely to be able to work from home, with the perk being most available to people earning $60,000 or more a year. College-educated women were most likely to be able to work from home, according to the survey.

In distance learning, one-third of Californians 18 or older said they took an online class or training during the pandemic. Two thirds of those surveyed said they would continue distance learning if they have the opportunity, with the likelihood increasing with age.

Use of telehealth during the pandemic also jumped, with just over half of respondents to the survey being able to access their healthcare by phone, smartphone or computer. However, usage was also uneven in this area — people of color were less likely to use telehealth services, while seniors 65 and older used it the most, despite their lower levels of internet connectivity and tech savvy. The survey also found that Los Angeles County showed the lowest level of telehealth participation at 46%.

Wider adoption of telecommuting, telehealth and distance learning could drastically impact traffic across the state, the survey found. More than half expected to cut their commute at least once a week after the pandemic, while 70% of respondents who used telehealth services anticipate cutting their medical-related car trips by at least half after the pandemic.

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