Working from Home? Results May Vary.

Aside from home offices, living rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms have also become productive workspaces.

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A recent study by The Harris Poll and Fast Company finds Americans prefer a variety of rooms when working from home, and most report feeling as productive as ever despite the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, of those who have worked from home during the pandemic, two in five (39%) feel most productive in their home office. However, other where Americans say they feel most productive include the living room (18%) and bedroom (18%).

Men and women prefer to work in different parts of the house to maximize productivity. While overall both genders rank home offices and the number one place for work from home productivity, more men report feeling most productive in home offices compared to women (44% vs. 32%, respectively). On the other hand, women are more likely to say they feel most productive in the living room compared to men (24% vs. 15%, respectively). Additionally, nearly one in ten men (7%) feel most productive working from home in the garage, and one in ten women (11%) feel most productive when working in the kitchen.

Three times as many White Americans (56%) say they feel most productive working in a home office compared to African and Hispanic Americans (17% and 18%, respectively). In fact, Americans of color feel most productive working in a bedroom (29% of African Americans, 26% of Hispanics) or living room (24% of African Americans, 22% of Hispanics).

Productivity preferences also vary by age. For example, Americans ages 18-34 say they feel most productive in the living room more often than any other age group, but over a third of those ages 45-54 prefer the bedroom. Less “professional” areas of the house also have a small following. About one in ten middle aged Americans (ages 35-54) say they feel most productive working in the basement, and the same amount of those ages 18-34 say the same about the garage.

When it comes to virtual meetings, Americans who have worked from home during the pandemic aren’t interested in chasing the best lighting. Home offices (42%), bedrooms (16%), and living rooms (16%) are where these Americans prefer to conduct virtual work meetings and video calls. Only 1% go out of their way to use whichever room has the best lighting at the time.

Regardless of the room Americans prefer, though, the majority of those who have worked from home during the pandemic (70%) don’t feel their productivity has been negatively affected. Forty-two percent say they feel just as productive working from home as they do working in an office, but another 29% say that they actually feel more productive working from home. With companies trying to maintain pre-pandemic productivity levels, this could be welcome news for those who have yet to determine when their employees will be returning back to the office — if they ever do.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on January 22-25, 2021, among 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For more information on methodology, please contact Dami Rosanwo.

Download full data here.