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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

Q+A: What are the time savings for employees working remotely for nonprofit organizations?

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

This is a guest blog by F. Jay Hall from Execsearches

A recent document published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week unveiled how much time nonprofit employers and employees have saved while working remotely.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has forever shifted how people can work – a change measured by the Global Survey of Working Arrangements (G-SWA). The research found that, on average, transitioning to remote work saves not-for-profit remote employees 72 minutes daily. To obtain this information, the study calculated country averages from individuals who worked primarily from home during the pandemic and studied their commute times. This demonstrates that working remotely can offer countless benefits for employees and nonprofits alike!

To ascertain the impact of working from home, it studied how much commuting time was saved depending on an employee’s occupation. Furthermore, we research in future posts how various subsectors of the nonprofit world (conservation, advocacy, education, public health, and human services may impact Managers and professionals in nonprofit organizations gained an average of 78 minutes daily, while all other occupations benefited from 72 extra minutes per day. On top of that, we deduce that fundraisers and service workers scored even higher with 90 additional minutes in their pockets daily. This is apparent: nonprofit professions’ salary levels are particularly low compared to others. Yet, they still had high expenses related to traveling for work purposes before remote jobs with nonprofits became more of an option during the pandemic. Hybrid jobs now continue the trend as they provide natural financial relief and more precious community and family time! More on hybrid jobs in a future post.

The data demonstrate that nonprofit workers remotely in North America could save up to 85 minutes daily! This emphasizes remote work’s influence on commuting, productivity, and savings for a nonprofit’s budget.

The pandemic has allowed for a shift to work from home, granting individuals invaluable benefits such as time savings. To estimate the extent of these advantages, the Global Survey of Working Arrangements survey data found that through 2021-2022 nonprofit employees saved around two hours per week just by working remotely. Even when things returned to normal after this crisis, there was still, on average, an hour per week gained – equaling 2.2% of 46 total weekly hours (working & commuting). As we discussed, the after-tax wage rate is a prime indication of the personal value of commute time savings. That being said, the study calculations suggest that working from home will bring about an economic benefit equivalent to 2.2 percent of post-pandemic earnings in terms of saved commuting time. Moreover, there are many other channels through which working remotely and decreased commutes may favorably affect individuals as the budget-challenged organizations they work for as employees transition into hybrid working roles.

There is, even more, to ascertain in how remote work can benefit an organization and its employees, as Kahn (2022) dives deep into examining how working from home increases personal liberty, improves the quality of life, and provides new job prospects while also enhancing social capital. Based on Hook et al.’s comprehensive review (2020), existing evidence suggests that remote work decreases economy-wide energy usage and air pollution levels. Moreover, it lightens transportation system load by lessening congestion during peak hours. In 2021, Barrero et al. investigated how enabling remote work can elevate economic and social imperviousness during pandemics or other disruptive events that limit movement and in-person labor. In 2022, Aksoy et al. and Glaeser discussed the difficulties presented to cities by the massive transition to working remotely; Vielkind’s (2023) research shed light on the specific implications of a drastic decrease in public transport ridership usage.

In future Mission Connected blog posts, we will dive more into these topics on the impact of remote and hybrid jobs in the nonprofit sector.


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