52% of employees in some industries now work remotely due to COVID-19

The advertising industry is the most likely to switch to telecommuting, according to a recent survey, but educators are fast emerging as the most affected.

The coronavirus could make remote work the norm, what businesses need to know

Remote work has quickly become the norm with the onset of coronavirus throughout the world.

On March 12, the workplace community platform Fishbowl conducted a survey in which 52.21% of employees revealed their workplace has restricted travel or asked them to work remotely, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. 

Citing the "hundreds of thousands" of employees who participate in the Fishbowl community, the company decided to conduct a survey, and chose one question, which they asked across varying industries: "Has your workplace restricted travel or encouraged you to work remotely due to coronavirus?"

SEE: How to work from home: IT pro's guidebook to telecommuting and remote work (TechRepublic Premium)

When broken down by industry, advertising had the most employees leave offices and are now working remotely, followed by accounting, consulting, legal and education. 

What a difference a weekend makes: big changes

Since the survey was taken, percentages for educators have risen precipitously. 

When the survey was conducted, only 8.39% of teachers responded "yes" to working remotely (with 92% saying they had not been asked to work remotely due to the pandemic). 

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

However, during the weekend of March 14-15, school districts across the country have announced closures, some extending spring break an additional week, others through the end of the semester and still others, indefinitely. Many school districts cite being closed until March 27, 2020, which for many, will result in online teaching. Late Sunday evening, even New York City announced all schools will close until April 20, with students taught through online learning beginning March 23.

Not counting NYC, as of March 15, 33 states had decided to close public schools, according to reports from Education Week, adding that 64,000 US public schools (of the 98,277 nationwide) were closed, or scheduled to be closed, affecting 32.5 million public school students—and their educators.

SEE: Managing remote workers: A business leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)   

At the time of the survey, the results by industry were:

  • Advertising 63.15%
  • Accounting 59.28%
  • Consulting 50.86%
  • Legal 46.30%
  • Education 8.39%

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