The pandemic is changing what work looks like across the country, and nowhere is seeing that more than the nation’s capital.
According to recent data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, the District of Columbia has the largest percentage of its adult workforce utilizing telework, which is defined by the federal Office of Personnel Management as “a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee’s position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work.”
In D.C., 61.4% — approximately 320,000 adult workers — are teleworking due to the pandemic. The data comes from the Household Pulse Survey, a new product from the Census Bureau in conjunction with several other federal agencies. The survey was administered weekly from April to July and features data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The second phase, which features two-week collection and dissemination periods, began in late August and will run through late October. The most recent data was collected online from Sept. 2-14 and includes a look at the percentage of adults living in households where at least one adult has substituted some or all of their typical in-person work for telework because of the coronavirus pandemic.
This finding echoes those in a survey conducted earlier this year in the Washington, D.C., area. In May and June, the Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments asked more than 4,500 private businesses, nonprofits and governments in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. about teleworking during and after the pandemic.
According to the survey, 76% of respondents had some pre-pandemic telework; that figure increased to 95% of work sites during the pandemic. The average percentage of employees teleworking before the pandemic was 36%; during the pandemic, it rose to 82% at sites with telework options.
More than half of employers who responded anticipated continuing telework at their current levels or increasing from their pre-pandemic levels, while 12% thought they’d continue their pre-pandemic telework levels.
[COMMENTARY: What Remote Working Means for Cities]
At the other end of the spectrum, just 24.9% of adults telework in Mississippi, followed by 25% in Wyoming and 25.2% in Louisiana. The national average for the period is 36.4% (2,742,210 teleworkers), with a margin of error of 0.4 percentage points. The margin of error for the state percentages ranges from 1.4 to 3.6 percentage points.
Areas With Largest Percentage of Teleworkers
|Area||Total Individual Population age 18+||Number||Percent||Percent Margin of Error +/-|
|District of Columbia||542,635||320,058||61.4||2.9|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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