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One year on from first lockdown – research on reality of working from home

reality of working from home

This year’s Home Improvement Trends Report from Rated People has revealed that many of our home office set-ups are less than ideal, and our productivity and motivation could be affected as a result.  

One in four people who work from home (24%) say they’re embarrassed by their background on video calls, 41% don’t have a proper desk, 22% often work sitting on the floor, and a third (29%) have to clear toys off their ‘desk’ each day before they start work.  

Despite this, almost half (47%) of people who worked from home in 2020 say they prefer working remotely – 43% went on to say they now intend to work from home more in the future than they ever had done previously (even if COVID-19 were to completely disappear) and 38% don’t think they will ever go back to working every day in the office.

Recipe for success 

The study also revealed more than a third (38%) of the UK is planning improvements to the design of their home office this year. So, to discover how to create the perfect home office, Rated People studied more than 100 of the most stylish and most-liked home office designs on Instagram to discover the core components each of them shared – from the optimum number of houseplants, to the most motivational wall colours, and even the best art to have on the wall. 

To arrive at the formula, Rated People looked at seven key elements in each image, including: wall colour, floor colour and material; style, features and colour of the desk; chair type, colour and material; the total number of houseplants, type of shelves, and key decorative features such as artwork. 

The perfect home office  =   

White walls + medium wood bare floorboards + a wooden, writing style desk with no drawers + a white, fabric fixed leg chair + two houseplants + fixed simple shelves + a framed print of the outdoors 

(The full research can be found in the appendix at the end of the release)

The Reality of Working from Home 

The research also revealed a change in our behaviour when we’re not working in a traditional shared office. One in six (17%) people in the UK have taken a nap during the day when working from home. 15% say they often work in their pyjamas, 10% have woken up just minutes before they need to be on a call or virtual meeting, and 9% claim to join calls whilst getting on with other tasks like housework, exercise or even going to the shops.  

The trends research found that only 11% of us have a dedicated home office room indoors, with the majority having to use existing spaces in our homes that are not geared up for homeworking. A fifth of us (21%) set up shop in the living room, 15% work in their bedroom, 7% work in the kitchen, and a few people (2%) decided the garage was the best place to get down to business – either for peace and quiet or due to not having anywhere else to go. 

Adrienne Minster, CEO of Rated People, commented: 

“In amongst the challenges of 2020, one positive to emerge is the progress that’s been made around flexible working for so many people in the UK. Although working from home has its benefits, it can also make separating work and home life very tricky. As our report revealed, lots of us are working from rooms that are designed to be relaxing spaces once work is done for the day. 

“As we continue to adapt to the changes that 2020 has brought us, we think 2021 will be the year many of us improve our home-working environment – whether that’s building a dedicated home office room in the garden, converting a cupboard, or even just upgrading your desk and chair to work more comfortably. Our environment can have such a huge impact on our health and happiness and sometimes even making the smallest of changes can reduce stress and lift your mood.” 

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