Working from home - costs and benefits (Complete)

Before Covid-19 interceded, the AA Research Foundation started the ball rolling on a project to evaluate the benefits and costs of a day not commuting (i.e. working from home). 

Stage One

In late 2019, the AA Research Foundation contracted the NZ Institute of Economic Research Inc (NZIER) to investigate the potential effects of a four day commute each week.

Then Covid-19 came along and research got real!

Potential effects of reducing commuting include impacts on road safety, carbon emissions, productivity, and well-being. 

This scoping study doesn't quantify the effects, but instead simply identifies the wide-range of potential impacts, and has suggestions for how the effects could be modelled.

Why is the AA Interested?

The AA recognises that changing our commuting behaviour is one way to make roads safer and more efficient.

There are pros and cons however to encouraging more people to work from home occasionally if they can.

A better understanding of what the benefits are likely to be will help organisations in their decisions.


The NZIER Stage One scoping study report is provided here, along with a summary presentation of the results.

Report - What difference can a day make? Scoping the effects of a four-day commute

Presentation - What difference can a day make?


  • Christina Leung – NZIER
  • Michael Bealing – NZIER

Project Managers

  • Simon Douglas - AA Research Foundation
  • Peter King - AA Research Foundation

Stage Two (did not proceed)

While the AA investigated the possibility of a second stage for this research in order to apply models developed during Stage One, funding partners could not be found and the project did not proceed.

Instead, real life experience from Covid-19 lockdowns added a wealth of relevant data for policy makers, researchers and businesses to help with their future decision-making around the costs and benefits of working from home.

Page last updated: May 2022

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