Oxford University researchers say they’ve found the answer.
It turns out, if you have a friend or family member who has no internet access, you’re likely to be less likely to use it for work.
The findings were presented this week at the ACM SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles.
The researchers looked at data from the online communities for LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Reddit.
Using data from more than 1,000 US users, they found that the number of hours a person has to work each day to earn a living dropped by about 20 percent from 2014 to 2016, and then dropped even further by 2016 to about 24 hours.
The reason for this decline?
The internet is becoming more and more crowded.
The authors say that the internet was used for less work in 2016 than it was in 2014, but they note that this was probably because of technology changes.
“What you’re seeing is that the cost of using the internet has increased as well,” says co-author Jonathan Katz, a computer scientist at the University of Oxford.
“You’re also seeing that the amount of time you spend online is dropping, but it’s not necessarily the same time.”
“It’s a tradeoff,” Katz says.
“If you’re spending the same amount of money doing things online, it’s a much better investment, so you’re not spending that much money on the internet, and you’re also not wasting time on the computer.”
“We’re not talking about a loss of money,” Katz adds.
“We think it’s more about time and efficiency.”
The authors note that they don’t have the exact data on how much this would have cost a person, but the data shows that, on average, someone with no internet connections would be working 30 hours a week.
“So if you’re an individual who spends the same 30 hours doing things on the job as you did in 2014 and doesn’t have internet, you might be saving up 30 hours,” Katz explains.
The study’s findings are “really important” because it suggests that the average American could save up to 30 hours each week if they could simply get online for work, he says.