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Local Leaders Discuss How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Telework Trends

May 7, 2021 -- New Remote Work Data Will Inform SANDAG’s 2021 Regional Plan

Today, the SANDAG Transportation, Regional Planning, and Borders committees met virtually to discuss the results of a study led by SANDAG and True North Research, Remote Work Policies & Practices: Surveys of Businesses and Employees in the San Diego Region.

The study surveyed employees and businesses throughout the region to gain a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered remote work practices and policies, and expectations for the post-pandemic period.

The new SANDAG report and an accompanying InfoBits summary found that remote work policies and practices changed dramatically in response to the pandemic and also found that changes were not equal across different industries, occupations, or by employee demographics.

Research findings in the report and described in today’s presentation include:
• 27% of businesses overall reported they offered the ability to work remotely pre-pandemic. This increased to 47% during the pandemic and is expected to decrease to 40% post-pandemic
• Post-pandemic, businesses do not expect that all employees will work remotely or that those that may continue working remotely, will do so for most of the week
• Jobs that can be done at home are typically higher wage professions. More than 90% of architects, engineers, and those working in the sciences have the option to work from home, while just 9% of individuals working in healthcare support or maintenance and repair services are able to telework

“We found that most businesses believe remote work will be less prevalent following the pandemic than at its peak,” said Antoinette Meier, SANDAG Director of Mobility and Innovation. “With that said, more employers have considered telework as a viable option. As we continue planning for a faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation future for everyone, teleworking will be studied to determine its impact on how and when people travel throughout the region.”

Travel behavior in the future is a key factor for consideration when forecasting data for the SANDAG 2021 Regional Plan. The Regional Plan incorporates telework as a strategy to help achieve greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, congestion reduction, and vehicle miles traveled in the region. 

In order to increase telework rates, broadband connectivity and home internet access must increase. Connectivity was found to be a barrier to effective teleworking for both businesses and employees — data show that 23% of low-income households are not benefitting from a broadband subscription and 20-40% of students in many local districts lack home internet access.

Earlier this year, SANDAG formed the Regional Digital Divide Taskforce to bring together private and public sector partners with the goal to bridge the gap between those who do and do not have access to high-speed internet, known as the digital divide.

SANDAG also offers the telework assistance through its iCommute Program to assist employers in formalizing long-term telework and remote work initiatives. To learn more, visit

Since the statewide stay home order was issued in March 2020, SANDAG has examined data on the economic and transportation impacts of COVID-19. Previous reports can be found at

View the full report:
Remote Work Policies & Practices: Surveys of Businesses and Employees in the San Diego Region
View executive summary:
SANDAG InfoBits: Remote Working in the San Diego Region: A Survey of Businesses and Employees  

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or