- Nearly half of remote workers are working in their kitchens, living rooms or randomly around their houses; only 36% have a dedicated space for work
- Even after working from home for six months, 31% still don’t have a proper desk or chair
- Of those planning to modify their workspace, nearly 58% are considering a move to a larger home
Many of the companies that transitioned to work from home during the pandemic have extended their plans through the new year or longer — if not indefinitely. But, with so many of us homebound for at least half the year, how have we adapted our living spaces for work?
To answer this question, we surveyed 4,384 individuals who have been working from home. Specifically, we asked participants about their living situations, their professional setup at home, their must-haves for an in-house office and what (if any) plans they had for a work area within their living space going forward.
No Home Office? No Problem
Working from home may not be ideal for everyone — especially those that lack the proper space or equipment. Even so, many are content with their current setup. In fact, while only 36% of respondents reported having a dedicated workspace in their home, nearly half said they were satisfied with their current work-from-home setup. And, that’s a fairly high satisfaction level considering that, presumably, nearly half of all respondents are working from locations in their home that were previously dedicated to their personal life — not their professional career.
Indeed, having a dedicated space makes it easier to have Zoom meetings and phone calls, especially when you have roommates who are either doing the same or kids who are running around playing. To that end, fewer than one-third of respondents reported living alone, which means that the vast majority are working in the same house as their spouses, children, parents or relatives — or all of the above.
Bring Your Office Office to Your Home Office
While there’s not much we can do about who we share our space with, there’s a lot we can do to improve our home working environment. Ironically, having a space at home that resembles the office is high on the list. Consequently, of the respondents who reported being satisfied with their home office, 69% said they had a dedicated space for work.
Along the same lines, a solid, fast internet connection is imperative. Without quality internet, business can’t get done when working from home. Similarly, more than half of the survey respondents reported that they also needed a proper desk and chair, and had yet to create a dedicated space also. Achieving such a setup goes a long way toward establishing a place specifically for work in order to create a work/home balance that may not have been necessary before. Plus, a well-selected set of desk and chair can also provide more comfort and better ergonomics than working at the kitchen table or from a couch.
Nearly 60% Plan on Renting or Buying a Larger Home
A full 65% of respondents said they weren’t sold on their existing home office set up. They’re either not convinced it’s working or it’s simply not working for them at all. And, of those who plan to make changes, most plan on moving to a larger home. Specifically, 58% of those making changes said they were planning to either rent a larger apartment or buy a home that could incorporate an office.
While the vast majority of respondents said they wanted a different place, 46% also reported wanting better equipment to improve their existing space. Meanwhile, more than 20% said they planned to convert an existing room or area in their home to a dedicated office space. Specifically, respondents noted that certain features — including more or larger monitors, better internet or other technical equipment — could really improve their work environments and expand their capabilities. However, having a more defined space for work was key for most people.
Not Changing Anything: 53% All Set
But not everyone is making these changes. In fact, more than half of respondents who reported that they weren’t considering making any changes indicated that it was because their setup was currently working for them. Meanwhile, about 21% have only a temporary timeline of working from home, another quarter don’t have enough space or funds to create a dedicated workspace in their homes.
Expert Opinions: People Really Do Want More Space
We asked industry professionals if they were also experiencing these trends. Use the slider below to see what they had to say.
*responses were edited for length and clarity.
The survey ran on RentCafe.com from August 21, 2020 to August 27, 2020.
A total of 4,384 respondents working from home in the U.S. participated.
Respondents were able to choose multiple options for questions regarding home office must-haves, things missing and future changes. All other questions were single answer.
Answering all questions in the survey was not mandatory. Respondents could select which questions they respond to, resulting in an unequal number of responses to each question.