The coronavirus outbreak brought with it a major shift to telework in many industries. Whatever their existing policies for telework may have been, some industries, such as the insurance, professional and technical services and information sectors, were better poised to shift to telework at the start of the pandemic.
A majority of workers in only four out of the nine grouped industries studied say that, for the most part, the responsibilities of their job can be done from home, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October. Within these sectors, based on definitions by the U.S. Census Bureau, those saying their job can be done from home include 84 percent in banking, finance, accounting and real estate, 84 percent in information and technology, 59 percent in education and 59 percent in professional, scientific and technical services.
Among workers in these four industries who say the responsibilities of their job can mainly be done from home, about half or more say they rarely or never teleworked before the pandemic, and this is especially the case among those in the education sector (75 percent say they rarely or never teleworked). But majorities in all of these industries who say their job can mostly be done from home report that they are now working from home all or most of the time. This includes 90 percent in the information and technology sector, 75 percent in professional, scientific and technical services, 74 percent in banking, finance, accounting and real estate and 61 percent in education.