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More work from home, less dining out: Nationwide survey reveals changes to habits and travel in the US

June 17, 2021

As normalcy begins to come back into our lives, what habits that we adopted during the pandemic are we most likely to continue? In a new article released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Arizona State University highlight their findings from a nationwide survey documenting potential behavioral changes Americans see themselves making.

Most notably, many Americans see themselves continuing to have telecommute, or work from home, options. In our pre-pandemic world, only 13% of survey respondents participated in telecommute work. But as this method of work became more normalized, 26% of respondents noted that they will be likely to continue telecommuting at least a few days every week.

“This is a large shift, and it comes with a number of cascading effects, including changes to rush-hour traffic patterns, changing demand for downtown services and changes in where people want to live and what they are looking for in a home and a neighborhood,” said Deborah Salon, associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU and lead author of the article.

The article does note that these changes in work habits are not equitable and are more likely to be among sections of the population who have bachelor’s degrees or live in households earning $100,000 or more annually.  

This shift in work may also have negative impacts on demand for office rental spaces, parking lot usage and service industries that depend on commuters, such as those in business complexes.

The survey also highlights that people will be less likely to dine out in restaurants as frequently, as much as a 20% decrease when compared with pre-pandemic habits, and people see themselves traveling via air less, especially for business.

Other habits that are likely to continue include increased online shopping, especially for groceries, as well as more people expecting to continue habits of increasing their time walking and biking. With over 20% of respondents indicating that they plan to continue walking and biking, the article authors suggest cities make permanent changes to infrastructure to help accommodate these shifts in behavior.

“Knowing that big shifts are likely can help us plan better for them,” said Salon.

The nationwide survey, known as the COVID Future Survey, was conducted between July and October 2020 and included responses from 7,613 individuals from across the country. The data are weighted to represent the U.S. population along the dimensions of gender, age, educational attainment, Hispanic status, income, vehicle ownership and presence of children. This research was supported in part by three National Science Foundation grants, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience at ASU and a CONVERGE COVID Working Group.

The principal investigators of the COVID Future Survey research group also includes Ram Pendyala, director and professor in ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment; as well as Sybil Derrible, associate professor, and Kouros Mohammadian, professor, with the University of Illinois Chicago.

Top photo courtesy of

Megan Martin

Manager, Marketing and Communication , School of Human Evolution and Social Change


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Sweet Sun Devil success

June 17, 2021

Top 100 alumni-owned companies feted, ranked at virtual Sun Devil 100 ceremony

Overnight success doesn’t happen overnight.

But it sure helps if you have a degree from Arizona State University.

The university on June 17 celebrated grads who have gone out in the world and crushed it, entrepreneurially speaking. They call them the Sun Devil 100.

This year, the ASU Alumni Association honored 132 alumni representing 146 degrees — the largest cohort ever.

The top spot went to Anthony Sarandrea, who graduated in 2013 with a business management degree.

Sarandrea is the president, managing partner, owner, founder and CEO of Pocket Your Dollars, a customer-centric company targeting debt-ridden and struggling Americans with debt relief solutions, credit score fixes, help with navigating insurance options and a host of other money-saving tips.

Pocket Your Dollars has had 1,650% growth over the past three years. Sarandrea started in sales, including door-to-door and cold calling. His advice for future entrepreneurs? Be “addicted to failure and find confidence in failure.”

Two members of his executive team were best friends and freshmen at ASU together.

“I really have to thank ASU,” he said. “None of this would have been possible without the support ASU offers.”

This year’s cohort by the numbers:

  • $6.67 billion in total revenue (as of 2019).
  • 8,477 full-time employees.
  • Locations in 11 states.
  • An average of 20.2 years in business.
  • 16 schools and colleges represented.

To be eligible for the Sun Devil 100, candidates must have been in business for three years, have had revenues of $250,000 for three years and must operate in the spirit of ASU’s charter.

The rankings this year are based on the year-over-year revenue growth from 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The top three companies averaged year-over-year growth ranges from between 600% to more than 1,600%.

The fields represented include marketing and PR, engineering, nonprofits, law firms, marketing, manufacturing, insurance, architecture, consulting, interior design, banking, real estate, food and beverage, electronics, construction, health care and transportation.

“As leaders, each of you has a unique success story and have one commonality, you are all Sun Devils!” said ASU Alumni Association President and CEO Christine Wilkinson.

Snagging the No. 10 spot was the Ybarra Maldonaldo Law Group. Ybarra Maldonaldo earned a BA in religious studies in 2002.

“I was heavily involved in social justice issues when I was a student,” he said. “Here I am in the future still in contact with the same professors and friends from when I was a student.”

Greg McMillan, owner and founder of B&B Pet Products (No. 3 on the list), with four stores in Kansas and Missouri, shared one secret to his success.

“As far as advice to someone on campus, find an area in the economy where there’s strong demand, go into it and outperform the competition,” McMillan said.

University President Michael Crow encouraged the honorees to share their knowledge with students.

“We hope that you can, as one of your things, not only as great innovators and as great developers, become teachers yourselves, work with more ASU students, drive the whole entrepreneurial spirit forward,” Crow said. “It really is the case that that's the way for our country to be the most successful. That's the way for us to be the most competitive. That's the way for us to create the most jobs. It all is about, at the end of the day, building a more resilient economy, building a more adaptive economy. And you all as top alums that are out there doing this: You really set the stage. You really move things forward.”

Top image by Charlie Leight/ASU News

The Sun Devil 100 Top 10:

Rank Number






Pocket Your Dollars

Anthony Sarandrea

'13 BS management

President, partner, managing partner, owner, founder, co-founder, CEO


Lever1 and Lever2

Erica Brune

'98 BA theater

President, co-founder


B & B Pet Products LLC

Greg McMillan

'85 BS finance

Owner, founder



David Freedman

'05 BS real estate



Casa Unlimited Enterprises Inc.

Joya Kizer

'04 BS zoology

President, CEO


PC Sportscards

Joshua Cohen

'05 BA business administration, small business sales and marketing

Partner, owner


High Rock Accounting PLLC

Melissa Diaz

'10 Master of Accountancy



High Rock Accounting PLLC

Liz Mason

'10 MS information management

Founder, CEO


SLP Toolkit LLC

Sarah Bevier

'05 BS speech and hearing, '12 MS in communication disorders



SLP Toolkit LLC

Lisa Kathman

'97 MS communication disorders



Willmeng Construction

Keyvan Ghahreman

’02 MS construction management

Director of client and preconstruction services


Willmeng Construction

Michael J. Mongelli

’83 BS construction



Willmeng Construction

James P. Murphy

98 BS construction, '09 MS construction



Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

Angeles J. Maldonado

02 BS justice studies, philosophy



Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado

'02 BA religious studies


Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU News