Bethany Becker

May 04, 2020

Four online trends in the WFH era

It’s no surprise that with shelter-in-place orders in effect across the country, the way we spend our time at home has changed. Like many people across the globe, our US Plume members have experienced a significant shift in their online habits at home. We were curious how this leveled up to larger trends, so we took a look at the data. Here are the top trends we found: 

Active online hours during the workweek are up. A lot.

The number of people online at home during the workday has nearly doubled–going from 22.6 million to 44.7 million. Computer usage during working hours has increased from an average of 2.5 hours to 5.2 hours, and smartphone usage has also doubled.

Work and recreation time are blurring together.

The data shows that the workday is bleeding into the evening, with computer usage up over 60% in the weekday after 6 pm. People are also using entertainment devices such as gaming consoles and smart TVs for almost two hours more than usual during the workday. This could indicate a combination of factors, including people’s working hours becoming more flexible, kids spending more time online, and people enjoying entertainment throughout the day and not just in the evenings. 

Usage patterns mirror stay-at-home order policies by city.

Though there’s been a steady increase in the amount of time spent online during the workweek, a few cities stand out with the highest jumps: Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Philadelphia and New York all spiked over 100%, with the tech hub of San Francisco Bay Area hitting 135%. All of these places had stricter shelter-in-place orders than other cities like San Antonio, Dallas, and Jacksonville, which increased by an average of 63%. 

In recent weeks, workday usage has decreased from its peak.

Despite major increases compared to the time before shelter-in-place, computer, smartphone, and entertainment use during the workday has started to decrease in recent weeks. This could be because people have adjusted and created a routine around the new normal. Another possibility is that people are beginning to go out more: the TSA’s traveler count is the highest it’s been in nearly a month. 


So, what does this mean for the future of work? Only time and numbers will tell, but we suspect the work-from-home movement is here to stay. As these shifts indicate perhaps a permanent change in where "workplaces" will be in the future, there is no doubt a home office and a flawless home network experience will be must-haves. Only Plume’s smart home services are built with cloud software that continuously adapts to your needs, so we can uniquely and effectively handle these increased demands. If you want to check out your own device usage trends, you can always find them in the Plume app.

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