Study: Utah ranks 8th most prepared state to work from home

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Utah (ABC4) – When the coronavirus pandemic hit back in March of 2020 most of the nation transitioned from working in an office setting to working from home. 

COVID-19 caused a record number of Americans to transition to remote work. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, suggests workers should be allowed to work remotely if possible to limit the spread of the virus.

According to a study conducted by Filterby, out of all U.S. states, Utah ranks 8th on most prepared to work from home. 

The study looked at locations in the U.S. that are most prepared to work from home. In addition to having the hardware and internet access in order to work remotely, having a suitable home workspace is associated with increased telework satisfaction and self-reported productivity, the study shares. 

To find the most prepared places in the U.S. to work from home, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Chicago. The study states they created a composite telework preparedness score based on the following factors:

  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs
  • Percentage of households with a laptop or desktop computer
  • Percentage of households with broadband internet, such as cable, fiber optic or DSL
  • Percentage of households with at least one spare bedroom that could be used as a home office
  • Median number of rooms per person in each household

According to the study, in Utah, 33.4% of all workers have remote-friendly jobs, which is above the national average of 30.7%. Additionally, 63.0% of Utah households have at least one spare bedroom that could be used for an at-home workspace, ranking Utah 8th most prepared to work from home.

CHG Healthcare is the nation’s largest privately-held healthcare staffing company and is headquartered in Utah, employing nearly 3,000 people around the country.

Rachel Klemens, culture director at CHG tells ABC4 their teams really enjoy working from home. “Our people really like the flexibility. They have the freedom to work around the other things going on in their house – whether that’s helping kids with online school, caring for family members.” 

When it comes to Utah’s ranking of being ready to work from home, Klemens says many employees within CHG had laptops and the needed software to work from home. “But we certainly weren’t totally ready,” she adds.   

“We went from having 100 remote workers to 3,000 over the course of about 10 days. We had to figure how to make sure we had enough computer bandwidth. That people could use video conference tools. That people could operate without landlines. It was a million little things, but thanks to a great IT team, we figured it out,” Klemens tells ABC4. 

Looking past the pandemic, Klemens says she thinks there will be a “major shift” of at-home-working.

“We’ve learned that the work-from-home experience has been way better for our employees than we thought it would be. Obviously, not everyone likes working from home, just like not everyone liked working in the office. But I think most people have had a good enough experience working from home that they’ll look for a hybrid approach after the pandemic, where they spend time working at both home and in the office, depending on what works best for them.”

While it is possible for many jobs to maintain success from home many are not. The study states data from the Census Bureau as well as a recent study by the University of Chicago found only about 31 percent of U.S. workers are employed in remote-friendly jobs. 

Working from home requires a computer and internet connection. According to data, nearly a quarter of U.S. households don’t own a computer, and close to 30 percent lack internet. 

Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia ranked highest and the study concluded states in the South tend to be less prepared to work from home. Arkansas ranks the lowest in the country according to its composite score. 

Below is a summary of the data collected for Utah:

  • Composite score: 80.82
  • Percentage of workers in remote-friendly jobs: 33.4%
  • Percentage of households with a laptop or desktop computer: 87.0%
  • Percentage of households with broadband internet: 75.6%
  • Percentage of households with at least one spare bedroom: 63.0%

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