Remote work (working from home) became a norm rather than an exception for the global workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, influencing every facet of life in both positive and negative ways. The stringent action of the Malaysian government in enacting the Movement Control Order (MCO) motivated the investigation of its impact on the energy consumption behaviour of working people regarding air-conditioner (AC) use. To this end, this study conducted a cross-sectional survey through an online platform. An ordinal logistic regression model (ORL) was used to analyse the collected data of 1873 respondents to determine the factors influencing the ordinal variable of interest, AC-usage behaviour during remote work. Next, the variable with unordered categories, the MCO-induced change in AC-usage behaviour, was analysed using a multinomial regression model (MLT) to identify the potential determinants. Finally, a reason analysis unveiled aspects behind the transition in AC use during remote work. This study identified stopping AC use during remote work despite using it at the office before the MCO period as the most significant change in AC-usage behaviour due to MCO. This change was frequently adopted by people with medium-level incomes and high electricity bills. By contrast, participants unfamiliar with their electricity bill were most likely to start AC use during remote work, although they did not use it before the MCO. Participants working remotely in the communal spaces of their houses preferred to stop using ACs during MCO compared to private room users. Furthermore, age group and ethnicity significantly influenced AC-usage behaviour in remote work and changes in such demeanours. These findings recommend policy interventions to expedite limited AC use for a sustainable energy sector, even during future climatic emergencies.
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