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Home Office Survey: Work From Home Trends in 2021

We surveyed 217 consumers about their work from home preferences. Here’s what they said.

Work from home – it’s one of the (many) buzzwords that came from the pandemic. As a result of stay-at-home orders, millions of us found ourselves performing our jobs in home offices, whether that looked like working from our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, or, for the luckier among us, actual home offices.

Of course, we don’t have to tell you any of this; turning on any TV and scrolling through any social feed, it’s impossible to escape the fact that, like it or not, home has become the new workplace. With such unprecedented numbers tasked with balancing the demands of home and work life all under the same roof (according to pewresearch.org, as of October 2020 71% of employed adults surveyed reported working from home), we found ourselves asking: how exactly do Americans prefer to work from home?

Our Consumer Insights team surveyed 217 consumers to get a snapshot of how Americans are spending their time working remotely. Check out the results below to see how your own work from home habits compare to those of your peers – and take inspiration from the favorited home office designs and trends!

“Do you currently work in your home?” The vast majority of respondents – 66% – reported currently working from home, reflecting the national trend.

“Do you currently have a designated workspace in your home?” 92% of respondents said yes, much higher than the percentage who said they were working from home. This could mean that either some of the yes responders here don’t use their workspace, or that some of the no responders from the previous question use their workspace but don’t consider themselves as ‘working from home.’
“Where in your home is your home office?” If you work in a designated home office space, you’re not alone; 58% of respondents said they have a separate home office.
“What is your favorite office design style?” When it comes to work, the modern style seems to inspire the most. 44% say they prefer modern in a home office, followed by 28% who prefer industrial.
“What is your favorite office desk style?” The majority of people agree: a bigger desk is better. 29% of respondents prefer a pedestal desk (a desk with large columns of drawers) and 24% prefer an executive desk (L-shaped desk, for example). Working from home, it seems, brings out your inner boss!
“What is your favorite office chair style?” Adjustable chairs take home all the awards! A whopping 71% choose adjustability over any other feature or style. The first runner-up? Chairs with casters, at 17%.

“What is your favorite bookcase style?” When it comes to bookcases, people are more divided. 28% prefer a classic wood style, 22% prefer etagere, and 21% prefer the taller varieties. Meanwhile, the bottom 29% prefer cube, metal and small space, proving that sleek and efficient are out, while warm, large and showy are in.

“What type of desk or table do you use to work from home?” In line with the answers from above, people prefer a designated home office space. 83% use an actual office desk, while everyone else prefers to repurpose their living room or dining room furniture.
“What décor items do you decorate your home office with?” 66% of the people surveyed prefer to decorate their home offices with wall art, 45% with plants, 41% with books, 33% with candles, 26% with sculptures, 23% with trays and 13% with other. (10% said they don’t decorate at all.) With wall art so high, we can only guess people prefer to have something nice to look at behind their computer screen that’s not another computer screen!
“What is the biggest challenge you face working from home?” 44% say that the biggest challenge working from home is distractions, 40% say it’s the lack of human interaction, 29% say noisy surroundings, 24% say lack of space, 19% say balancing childcare and 9% say other. We wonder if the 44% here might take a cue from the 66% in the previous question – by hanging up peaceful wall art to help stay focused in a home office space!
“How do you store your files and important documents?” 71% of those surveyed say they store their work electronically, 40% say in an actual file cabinet, 25% say in a desk drawer and 10% say other. Paper-free is always the norm, but, as the survey shows, it’s also hard to resist a chic file cabinet every now and then!
“What paint color do you prefer for a home office?” Neutrals win again! Perhaps it’s because a calmer palette helps to calm. In the midst of the WFH craziness that was 2020 (and is 2021), the people have spoken: less is more (when it comes to color) in a home office.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.