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Flexibility to pause work with unscheduled breaks available to 55.6 percent of workers in 2021

November 26, 2021

The flexibility to pause work and take short, unscheduled breaks throughout the workday was available to 55.6 percent of civilian workers in 2021. The choice of sitting or standing was available to 43.2 percent of civilian workers. Discretion over when tasks were worked on, or self-paced work, was available to 16.5 percent of workers, and 9.6 percent were able to complete critical job functions while teleworking.

Percentage of workers with selected job flexibilities by occupational group, 2021
Occupational group Ability to
pause work
Choice of
sitting or standing
Workload is
self-paced
Telework

All workers

55.6% 43.2% 16.5% 9.6%

Management

97.3 88.9 60.0 29.6

Business and financial operations

97.3 95.9 49.8 40.8

Computer and mathematical

95.3 90.8 38.3 47.6

Legal

94.6 90.7 45.3 50.1

Architecture and engineering

93.8 85.5 51.1 29.3

Community and social service

82.0 82.7 21.8 12.5

Life, physical, and social science

81.9 75.5 53.1 16.7

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media

74.2 72.2 27.8 27.3

Office and administrative support

72.4 81.3 10.4 9.3

Farming, fishing, and forestry

71.8 35.4 [1] [1]

Installation, maintenance, and repair

69.7 20.5 11.8 [1]

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance

69.5 10.1 16.1 [1]

Construction and extraction

59.0 11.2 14.2 [1]

Production

42.4 16.1 6.2 [1]

Sales and related

42.3 32.2 7.8 10.2

Healthcare practitioners and technical

42.1 33.3 3.9 1.7

Educational instruction and library

40.6 71.6 30.5 4.0

Personal care and service

38.2 23.9 4.0 [1]

Healthcare support

37.6 20.2 [1] 0.8

Transportation and material moving

30.9 5.9 3.6 [1]

Food preparation and serving related

21.1 1.3 0.5 [1]

Protective service

13.7 9.9 4.8 [1]

[1] Data not publishable or there are no workers with the requirement.

In 2021, the ability to pause work was available to 97.3 percent of workers in management occupations and 95.3 percent of workers in computer and mathematical occupations. The ability to telework was available to 29.6 percent of those who worked in management occupations and 47.6 percent of workers in computer and mathematical occupations.

The ability to pause work was available to 42.4 percent of production workers, and telework was not available to 99.8 percent of these workers. The ability to pause work was available to 69.5 percent of building and grounds cleaning and maintenance workers. None of these workers were able to telework.

These data are from the Occupational Requirements Survey. Only permanent, and not temporary or ad hoc telework arrangements, such as those made in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, are included in telework estimates. For more information, see “Occupational Requirements in the United States — 2021.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Flexibility to pause work with unscheduled breaks available to 55.6 percent of workers in 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/flexibility-to-pause-work-with-unscheduled-breaks-available-to-55-6-percent-of-workers-in-2021.htm (visited August 09, 2022).

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