Most remote workers judge how co-workers’ home offices look in video calls

NEW YORK — Ever found yourself critiquing your co-worker’s background while you’re on a video call with them? You’re not alone.

In a recent survey of 2,004 Americans, half (54%) of all remote workers admit to judging their colleagues’ office décor or furniture during virtual meetings. However, this goes both ways — 64 percent say they’re so concerned about being judged themselves that they decided to upgrade their own space.

Getting the perfect Zoom background

Since early 2020, nearly half of remote workers have purchased new home office furniture, while 40 percent of all respondents have redecorated at least one room and 33 percent have bought new living area furniture.

Commissioned by Oliver Space and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found that it took an average of three months until respondents got tired of the décor and furniture in their home and
decided to buy some new items instead.

Of the 1,385 respondents who have worked from home at some point during the past 18 months, 85 percent of them regularly do it somewhere other than in a home office. Instead, the most popular non-office work locations are living rooms (28%), bedrooms (20%), and dining rooms (15%).

Remote workers often repurpose other household furniture such as chairs (37%), coffee tables (35%), or dining room tables (33%) to make these DIY work environments more comfortable. The average remote worker says they needed four weeks before finding the right work-from-home setup. They’ll also spend 40 percent of their day in a given room that isn’t meant to be an office.

“As much as possible, define a space that will be dedicated for work, so that you can keep some separation of working hours and non-working hours at home,” says Rebecca Andrews, head of merchandising at Oliver Space, in a statement. “A small fashionable desk paired with a stylish dining chair will still look cute in your living room — it doesn’t have to look like traditional ‘office’ furniture.”

No office, no problem

After more than a year-and-a-half of working from home, seven in 10 remote workers have become so comfortable, they have had some reservations about going back into an actual office. Staying at home isn’t just a work luxury, either: 44 percent claim they were homebodies both before the pandemic as well.

Two in three believe their home is the only place in the world they can truly be themselves. Nearly as many (61%) feel more comfortable at home now than they ever were before the pandemic began.

Comfort at home has always been a priority, but it has become doubly so over the last year and a half,” Andrews continues. “Curating your space can be a source of comfort, joy and even control when the outside world feels so out of control.”

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