A new study found more than two-thirds of Bay Area companies said they expect workers won’t be in the office more than three days a week, even when the pandemic ends.
For decades, the daily saga of Bay Area work commutes had been the stuff of nightmares.
But for many people, that all ended with the pandemic as many were told to work from home.
So, what happens when the pandemic ends?
“We’re looking at a two days a week return to work,” said Aleena Lopez of Dublin Lopez, like so many working parents discovering a new work-life balance during the pandemic.
“I’d prefer to work full-time from home if I could. I feel more productive that way,” she said.
Not a surprising statement to the Bay Area Council, which has been studying pandemic workplace and traffic trends since April.
“40-percent of the employers said that the 3-day-a-week would be the new norm,” said Kelly Obranowicz.
The council surveyed more than 200 employers in July across all 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 numbers show only 19% plan to keep five-day workweeks and 13% will have employees come to the workplace 4 days weekly.
“It is across industries, so it’s kind of confirming that regardlees of your size, your industry or where you’re located. People are looking to have a fewer-a-day workweek in the work place,” Obranowicz said.
“I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s better safe than sorry,” said Florence Lacy of Dublin.
Lacy, who has been working from home for 20 years isn’t surprised that her neighbors found value in that work-home balance and that employers are too.
“Because then, you can take care of the kids and husband or wife can put on dinner,” she said.
But, even as more people work from home, There is also concern over traffic patterns in the latest findings.
“If you look at the Bay Bridge traffic levels those have been for the past two months, it's nearly pre-pandemic traffic levels,” Obranowicz added.
The council has also been tracking whether worries about the delta variant’s effect on getting people back to work.
Also, fears over COVID-19 breakthrough infections may be fueling a reluctance for many to return to mass transit.
While traffic levels are high now, researchers say the Bay Area may see 1 million fewer commuters daily on a permanent basis once this pandemic is truly over.