MoneyRates: Many companies are likely grappling with the decision of asking workers to return to the office, staying remote or converting into a partially remote office setting in a post-COVID work environment.
MoneyRates.com, a banking rate comparison site, studied more than 380 metro areas to find where residents have the most to gain in time and money-saved if the workforce stays remote.
The research, published today, finds not only could some workers save thousands of dollars a year and an extra months’ worth of vacation — more than $8,000 or 39 eight-hour workdays a year to in some areas– but companies are likely to benefit too. Employers can potentially save on renting expensive office space, while their workers are spared the time and hassle of commuting to work. To find the entire list of top remote work cities, visit 10 Cities Where Remote Workers Should Thrive Post-pandemic.
5 U.S. metro areas where workers can save the most time
- New York, NY/Newark/Jersey City, NJ – The average commute time round trip is 1 hour and 20 minutes. Over the course of the year, employees could save over 39 8-hour work days’ worth of time. Working from home one day a week is worth more than 8 work days a year.
- Washington DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA – Commuting to the nation’s capital takes an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes a day. That makes working remotely worth over 37 work days a year.
- San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA – Commute times in the Bay Area average 1 hour and 15 minutes a day, or the equivalent of more than 36 work days a year.
- East Stroudsburg, PA – This lesser known metro area is roughly equidistant from Manhattan and Philadelphia, so about one in five workers here commutes at least two hours a day round trip, while the average is 1 hour and 14 minutes, or the equivalent of more than 36 work days a year.
- Vallejo/Fairfield, CA – Local residents commute an average of 1 hour and 13 minutes a day round trip to the Bay Area, or the equivalent of just under 36 work days a year.
To look at which residents have the most to gain financially from what might be the “new normal,” MoneyRates applies the median hourly wage in each metro area to that area’s average commute time. This approach finds that working from home has the greatest monetary value in the Washington, D.C. area.
5 U.S. metro areas where workers can save the most money
- Washington DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA – The second-longest average commute time and fourth highest median hourly wage make this the metro area where working from home has the greatest financial value. Time spent commuting is worth $34.42 a day, or $8,088.42 a year.
- San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA – California makes frequent appearances on this list; the time saved in the Bay Area is worth $34.28 a day, which comes to $8,055.34 a year.
- California/Lexington Park, MD – This is a Maryland exurb of Washington, D.C. A combination of the highest median wage of any metro area and long commute times make remote work worth $32.75 a day, or $7,695.15 a year.
- San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA – With Silicon Valley’s high wages, the time saved by not commuting is worth an average of $32.18 a day, which comes to $7,561.95 a year.
- New York, NY/Newark/Jersey City, NJ – Combining the longest average commute time and high wages make this a great place to work from home. The time saved is worth $31.44 a day or $7,387.78 a year.
Time will tell what employers decide to do, but their workers could greatly benefit from even a partially remote office setting. The money workers could save by continuing to work from home could be put toward replenishing an emergency fund in a savings account, paying down student loans and credit card debt or even investing.
MoneyRates used 2019 U.S. Census data on commute times to measure what commuting was like before the pandemic; 383 metro areas were ranked according to their average commute times. The median hourly wage for each area was applied to these commute times, using wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Daily figures were projected over the course of a year assuming 235 workdays with time given for vacation and national holidays.
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Since 1998, MoneyRates has served as a personal finance resource designed to help readers make the most of their money. In addition to a variety of financial calculators, MoneyRates researches and tracks CD, savings, and money market rates offered from over 400 financial institutions across the country to offer expert advice on banking, investing and retirement planning.