Millions still working from makeshift ‘home offices’ after 12 months

Millions of employees are still working from their original makeshift ‘home office’ set-ups – on the ironing board, behind the sofa and even on the bed.

A study of 2,000 adults working from home found 61 per cent still consider the environment to be temporary despite having been there for almost 12 months.

Three per cent of respondents even claim to still be working inside a walk-in wardrobe, while nine per cent have simply set up their office in the middle of a room.

And three in 10 grumble they have no natural light over their working area – with 65 per cent convinced this affects their productivity.

It also emerged the average worker is getting just 22 minutes a day of natural light, during two short snatched breaks from the ‘desk’. And at least one day a week is spent indoors for the full 24 hours.

Perhaps understandably, British workers are therefore feeling fatigued by 2pm in the afternoon, experiencing a slump in energy and focus.

The study found a lack of natural light makes 24 per cent of adults feel less creative, while 36 per cent think it definitely contributes to a lack of motivation. Just under half feel more tired if they haven’t sat near a window or been outside, while 35 per cent claim to be grumpier.

However, it emerged productivity and inspiration at home isn’t just affected by a lack of lighting and a terrible desk set-up. As many as three in 10 adults polled via OnePoll suffer body discomfort from sitting down for too long, while 25 per cent are easily sidetracked when experiencing technical issues.

Not having the right equipment, and experiencing headaches from too much screen time – as well as too many Zoom calls – also mean workers struggle to focus.

Says Stephen Beresford, from window expert REHAU which commissioned the research: 

“Brits will soon be likely to make the decision whether to move back to the office full time, or invest in home renovations and preparations to make a permanent suitable set-up at home.

“As well as securing a calm and tidy working environment, being situated near a window, so that you can get natural light all day long and open it up for fresh air on a nice day, can really help productivity and enthusiasm.”


1. Body discomfort from sitting down for too long
2. Technical issues
3. Boredom and lack of stimulation from ‘real life’ people and teammates
4. Household chores
5. Headaches from too much screen time
6. Having someone at the door/ your home phone ringing
7. Thinking ‘I should really go for a walk’
8. Getting side-tracked reading / watching the news
9. Knowing the sun is shining outside
10. Making tea
11. Notifications pinging from your phone
12. Other people in the house walking into your workspace / chatting
13. Partner being at home
14. Kids
15. Going outside for a walk
16. Not having a proper work space
17. Seeing dust/mess and deciding to clean the room/house
18. Too many Zoom calls
19. Waiting for a delivery to come
20. Noise from neighbours
21. Home-schooling
22. TV on in the background
23. Not having the right equipment (e.g. desk/chair/computer screen)
24. Listening to music
25. Going to the shops for groceries
26. The food in the kitchen
27. Noise from building work going on in the street
28. The dog
29. Feeling like you have to be ‘seen’ by other colleagues, rather getting on with work
30. Hearing the bins have been collected so bringing them back in

Chris Price