How remote workers spend their extra time

If you’ve swapped commuting to an office in favour of becoming self-employed and working from home, you’ve probably saved a substantial amount of travel time. A recent working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at how remote workers spend their extra time, across 27 countries.

You may have personally experienced the benefits of running your own business from a home office, whether that’s a more flexible schedule, setting up your workplace how you want, or saving money on petrol and train tickets. But with an ongoing debate about whether remote working is more productive or not, it’s useful to have data to illustrate whether it’s beneficial on average.

The data was collected in the Global Survey of Working Arrangements, which covered full-time workers aged 20-59 in 27 countries. And the UK was included, with an average of 55 minutes each day when working from home.

What’s interesting is how people spend their extra time. For the UK 42% of those minutes were spent on a primary or secondary job.  The remainder went to leisure (35%) and caregiving (8%). The last figure was lower on average for men, and higher for anyone working remotely with children.

And that’s before you include the time spent getting ready to go to an office. Just by swapping the commute alone meant people in the UK worked for an extra 23 minutes each day on average, without extending their hours. The highest increase was in Singapore, with a 49-minute increase due to a longer average commute, and less time spent on other activities.

Extra time is just one benefit of becoming self-employed and choosing to work remotely, but having this type of data is useful whether you’re trying to convince family, friends or clients that there are big benefits to working from home. Especially when they estimate that time equates to around 1.7% of after-tax earnings.

Have you switched to working from home in recent months and years? You can share your experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, or connect with other people in a similar situation with our Creative Freelancers UK Facebook Group

And if you’re looking to improve your home office, check out how to invest in office equipment on a budget, and the best budget home office upgrades.