• Teleworking has become more widespread due to coronavirus.
  • According to a Pew Research Center survey, the majority of workers in only four of nine grouped industries studied can do most of their work from home.
  • Within these four groups, half or more say they rarely or never teleworked before the pandemic, but are now working from home all or most of the time.
  • Many people working from home have experienced challenges at the beginning of the pandemic, such as lack of motivation and interruptions.

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% in banking, finance, accounting and real estate, 84% in information and technology, 59% in education and 59% in professional, scientific and technical services.

A graph showing how the ability to telework varies widely across industries
A majority of workers in only four out of nine grouped industries say that the majority of their work can be done from home.
Image: Pew Research Center

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% 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% in the information and technology sector, 75% in professional, scientific and technical services, 74% in banking, finance, accounting and real estate and 61% in education.

A graph to show the difficulties of working from home within each different industry
43% of people the in education sector struggled at the beginning of the outbreak with motivation when working from home.
Image: Pew Research Center