NEW YORK — With the uptick in people working from home, “office” etiquette has gotten much more laid-back. In fact, more than a third of employees spend an average of an hour a day working from bed (35%), according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 people who work mostly or entirely remotely explored how working from home has evolved over the last few years. Prior to the pandemic, when respondents worked outside of the office, they reported working from a hotel (43%), a friend or family member’s home (36%) or coffee shop (28%). Nearly a third of those surveyed even worked from their car (28%) and others worked while wave-watching at the beach (8%). That mobile office mentality has given way to the home office. Now, most respondents work primarily from a dedicated home office (63%).
Conducted by OnePoll for Office Depot, the survey found that 55 percent of people who recently moved did so, at least in part, because they needed a better home office workspace. The lack of a dedicated home workspace is even more of an issue for those who have had roommates. A quarter of those who live with others report needing more space since they share a workspace with other members of their household (25%), and 31 percent of these respondents said they have a hard time evenly dividing the time.
In addition, creating a successful home office space that encourages productivity requires both time and money. The average remote worker has spent about $1,700 of their own money on equipment or tools to work more comfortably from home, with 30 percent claiming they have “remodeled” their workspace at least three times since they first started working from home.
Respondents said the most underrated products for having a productive and enjoyable work environment are an adjustable chair (24%), a spacious desk with storage (22%), organizational tools like planners or desk organizers (10%) and a laptop stand/riser (9%).
While working remotely may not be perfect for everyone, respondents said the pros outweigh the cons. They reported being able to dress comfortably (57%), having no commute (54%) and working on their own schedule (53%) as the top perks. And with more than three in four (77%) saying at least half of their time is spent in their home office compared to all the other rooms in their home, workers are looking to customize these spaces more than ever.
“Working from home has evolved from makeshift workspaces using countertops and barstools to more thought-out home office setups that rival even the best corporate office spaces,” says president of Office Depot Kevin Moffitt, in a statement. “As fully remote and hybrid work models continue to gain momentum, we expect people will continue to invest in optimizing their home offices.”
The evolution of remote work is evident. More than a third of those surveyed (35%) said that if they had to use the same home office setup they had when they first started working remotely, they would not even be able to do their job today.
In terms of what prompted their decision to set up a dedicated home office space, most people did it to help make working easier or more efficient (63%) or because they needed a more comfortable workspace (52%), while 43 percent needed to remove distractions from their environment and another 37 percent needed more space to do their work.
But not all respondents are comfortable with their current at-home workspace — 44 percent said that lately, their home just feels like their workplace and most agree that it still needs improvement (68%).
Seven in 10 said there are still items that they haven’t purchased yet that would make their work-from-home life better, including storage (36%), office décor (34%) or a larger desk (34%). Others would love to add another monitor (30%) or a high-quality camera for video calls (27%).
“The positive impacts of a comfortable and efficient home office environment cannot be overstated,” adds Moffitt.
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 remote and hybrid employees who primarily work from home was commissioned by Office Depot between March 20 and March 23, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).