Are public power workers teleworking?

Utilities have a unique blend of essential workers who can only perform their duties onsite, those who can telework full time, and everything in-between. In May and July 2020, the American Public Power Association conducted surveys to gauge where member utilities stood in terms of having employees work remotely and their expectations for returning to a shared workplace – even if on a limited basis.

In May:

Most (58%) had less than half of workforce working remotely
58% of respondents had less than half of their workforce working remotely.


Most expected remote workers to return to a shared workspace in July, and most workers to be back by the end of the year
More than 75% of respondents expected to begin transitioning employees who had been working remotely back to the workplace before July. More than 80% expected at least three-quarters of the workforce to return to the workplace by the end of the year.

Other steps taken:

  • 66% had deferred at least some field work
  • 56% reported considering allowing more telework long-term
  • 98% had travel restrictions in place


As of July:

More than two-thirds of respondents (71%) had begun to allow employees who had been working remotely back into the workplace.

Pie chart showing share of non-field workers teleworking

65% did not have reentry timeline
Of the respondents who had not yet transitioned remote workers back into a shared workplace, 65% did not have a set re-entry timeline.
Expectations for worker return by end of year
60% of respondents expected 90% or more of employees to be back in the office by the end of the year.  23% expected less than half would return by the end of the year.

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