Why Working from Home During the Coronavirus Crisis is A Struggle for Many Millennials

Lockdowns and “stay-at-home” orders are forcing millions of Americans to work from home. But many face barriers to doing so successfully, according to a ZipRecruiter survey of 501 job seekers who are currently employed and working from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Millennials, in particular, are struggling. 

Only 73% of American adults have broadband internet at home, according to Pew Research. Many poorer Americans and younger Americans rely on the free WiFi at Starbucks and McDonald’s to study, work, and submit job applications. Now, that is no longer an option. 

While 93% of Boomers have a dedicated space for working from home, 30% of Millennials do not, according to the ZipRecruiter survey.

70% of Boomers always or sometimes worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak anyway. 51% of Millennials rarely or never did so. 

Furthermore, 54% of Boomers say they’re actually more productive when they work from home. Only 45% of Millennials say the same. 

37% of Boomers say they have no challenge working from home. Only 23% of Millennials are that lucky.

33% of Millennials have children in their household, compared with only 23% of Boomers. Of those with children, 60% of Millennials have had to make alternate childcare arrangements due to school closures, compared with only 13% of Boomers. 

38% of Millennials say arranging childcare during school closures has been difficult or very difficult. Only 10% of Boomers have the same complaint.

Ultimately, while older adults bear most of the burden of Coronavirus-related morbidity and mortality, younger Americans are being hardest hit by job losses. And even those who remain employed for now are struggling with greater disruptions to their work patterns and productivity. 

Methodology: Findings are based on a survey of 501 currently employed ZipRecruiter job seekers conducted from March 13 to March 19, 2020. Broken down by generation, the respondents included 170 Millennials (ages 24 to 39), 193 Generation Xers (ages 40 to 55), and 138 Boomers (ages 56 to 74).

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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