Working from Home Research

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Working from Home Research

A list of reports detailing the physical work-at-home spaces of remote workers in the U.S. has been compiled. A summary of relevant data pulled from each is detailed below along with a link to each report. Some key highlights are as follows: Many people are combining their personal spaces with their work spaces and mixing personal and work-time by multi-tasking in these spaces. Most people have found a way to set themselves up with everything they need to work from home, however, many are also still lacking key essentials such as suitable desks and chairs. A large number of people have invested their own money into developing their work-from-home space, including buying new equipment and home office furniture. Most people are not working in a dedicated home office, but in other areas of their home. Living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms are the most popular places to work aside from a dedicated home office.

'Resilient, Committed, Engaged and Worried: The Experiences and Risks of Americans Working from Home During COVID–19'

  • A link to the source can be found here and here.
  • Date Published: June 2020
  • Conducted By: Dynata, commissioned by Chubb.
  • Demographic: 1,202 Americans who were working at home as a result of COVID-19.
  • Work station location: dedicated home office (43%), living room (20%), kitchen table (17%), bedroom (11%), finished basement (4%), other (5%).
  • 57% are unable to maintain a separation between work and family activities.
  • "Nearly 60% report that distractions from family, housemates or pets sometimes make it difficult to work from home. Younger workers (74%) as well as wealthy respondents (68%) were most likely to report that such distractions were an issue."
  • 65% are maintaining regular working hours.
  • Many are using their work station as a place to socialize as many respondents reported using virtual meeting tools to socialize with coworkers (50%), socialize with friends (46%), socialize with family (36%), and participate in a virtual happy hour with colleagues from work (21%).
  • When asked what they did, if anything, to prepare their work-from-home space the following responses were given: set-up an ergonomically sound work station (24%), bought new equipment or gadgets --i.e. headset/mouse/dual monitor (27%), swapped out the chair in their existing home office (22%), changed the lighting (18%), moved or reorganized the furniture in their home office (25%), and some took no action (43%).
  • 41% of respondents said they have experienced new or increased physical pain in their shoulders, back or wrists since they began working at home; this was true for 51% of 20-35-year-olds,49% of 26-44-year-olds, 37% of 45-54-year-olds, and 28% of 55-64-year-olds; this was also true for 54% of wealthy respondents, 37% of upper-middle class respondents, and 40% of middle class respondents.

'Home office purchasing: Surveys reveal surprising trends and investment opportunities'

  • A link to the source can be found here.
  • Date Published: May 2020
  • Conducted By: SurveyMonkey Audience & Second Measure
  • Demographic: 2,759 adults in the U.S.
  • "According to the survey, over 45% of workers that are now working remotely have purchased office supplies in the last 30 days as a direct result of working from home due to COVID-19."
  • When asked which types of office supplies they have purchased, respondents stated the following: paper/pens/ink/other consumables (65%), electronics--phone, tablet, etc. (29%), desk/chair/other furniture (26%), computer monitor (26%), printer (19%), and something other than these (8%).

'YouGov RealTIme Work from Home - Sample: 23rd-24th April 2020'

  • A link to the source can be found here.
  • Date Published: April 2020
  • Conducted By: YouGov
  • Demographic: 1,327 U.S. adults.
  • Important Note: This survey provides a wealth of answers broken down in terms of demographics (gender, age, region, race, education, marital status, parenthood status, income, geographic area type). The data below is summarized. Please access the source above to see the full demographic breakdowns.
  • When asked who else is generally in the household during the time they are working from home the following answers were given: a partner (48%), children (35%), roommate (8%), parents (11%), siblings (9%), grandparents (7%), another family member (5%), other (4%), and no one (17%).
  • 32% of respondents say technical issues are among their biggest work-at-home challenge; 36% say their biggest challenge is finding a proper workspace.
  • 60% of respondents say they do small household tasks while also working.
  • When asked where they spend the most time working, 22% of respondents say they are working in a den/office, 6% in the kitchen, 20% in the living room, 15% in the dining room, 20% in the bedroom, 5% in the basement, 3% in the garage, 4% outside (yard/porch/balcony), 3% said other, 3% said they don't know.
  • When preparing for a video conference, 29% of respondents say they move their laptop to an area with flattering lighting.

'Procurify Work From Home Survey Results: Remote Work Statistics 2020'

  • A link to the source can be found here.
  • Date Published: April 2020
  • Conducted By: Procurify
  • Demographic: 600 remote workers.
  • Among respondents, 69% said their company did not off any additional perks to ease their work-from-home transition, 47% said companies did not cover the cost of supplies their team members need, and 41% of respondents said they don't believe they will have their expenses reimbursed in a timely manner.
  • When asked which home office upgrades they are most in desire of, respondents gave the following answers: a sit/stand desk (18%), an ergonomic chair (15.67%), a new computer monitor (14.67%), headphones (11.50%), a printer (9.67%), a laptop stand (9%), a wireless keyboard/mouse (7%), a Keurig coffee maker (6%), a yoga mat and ball (4.67%), and a high-end water bottle (2%).

'Global Work-From-Home Experience Survey'

  • A link to the source can be found here.
  • Date Published: May 2020
  • Conducted By: Workplace Evolutionaries & The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA).
  • Demographic: 2,865 global respondents, including 61% from the U.S.
  • 72% of respondents said they have access to everything they need to work at home successfully. This is true for 60% Gen Z respondents, 74% of Millennials, 80% of Gen X, 67% of Boomers, and 37% of Silent Gens.
  • 22% said they have a sit-stand desk at home vs. 59% who say they had one at their workplace office.
  • 46% said they have dual-screens or an ultra-wide monitor at home vs. 78% who say they have this set-up at their workplace office.
  • 41% said they have an ergonomic chair at home vs. 83% who say they have one at their workplace office.
  • 76% said they have a quiet, suitable workspace in their home.
  • 70% said they can isolate themselves from domestic activities and distractions.
  • 80% said they have the technology they need at home to work effectively.
  • 80% said they have reliable and easy access to their company's network.
  • 31% say they experience equipment/technology issues or delays while working at home, while 43% say they experience unwanted interruptions and distractions.

Additional Information

  • This article features various images of people's real alternative work-from-home setups.

Research Strategy

To conduct this research, we analyzed numerous surveys, reports, and media articles that survey Americans about their at-home work spaces and isolated those which provided the most significant and relevant information regarding the physical aspects and experiences of the workspace. In doing so, we aimed to seek out information about what types of homes they are working in, where they sit while they work, what their work space set-up is like, how much physical space they are using while working, how many people are working with them, etc. It should be noted that the publicly available information on this topic appears to be vastly high-level rather than diving into specifics. For example, most of these surveys ask consumers if they have a proper desk in their workspace rather than asking them about whether they keep a plant or a photo of their loved ones in their workspace. Likewise, most surveys asked about what room of the home the person works in, while none asked about the size of the workspace itself. For the information that was not readily found in existing surveys, we did attempt to zero in on finding this information (e.g. size of the workspace) however, we could not find such insights that were recently relevant. Along with this, we focused on reports and surveys that have been published since the lock down rather than those that were published before in order to maintain relevance. It's possible that a more concentrated round of research could be conducted in attempts to seek out more of these specific insights that were not found in this round (e.g. size of the workspace), especially if the time parameters are expanded to include insights published pre-pandemic. Despite a lack of specifics, we were able to find some interesting photos showing the actual work-at-home spaces of various individuals, which has been included in the Additional Information section above.
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