Redefining work-life balance: how remote work is changing our relationship with our homes 

  • Over 3 out of 4 Brits reveal that their relationship with their homes has changed since working from home
  • To keep their home their safe space, 56% of Brits have a designated workspace 
  • 1 in 9 Brits have fallen out of love with their homes since remote work shift 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many Brits have shifted from working 9-5 Monday to Friday in the office to working and spending more time at their homes than ever.

But is it affecting the way Brits view their homes? To find out how much Brits’ relationships with their homes have changed, Barratt London surveyed 1,510 UK homeworkers (working from home on a hybrid basis) to shed light on how Brits feel about their sharing their home and workspace.

3 out of 4 Brits (76%) agree that their relationship with their homes has changed since working from home. Just 9% stated that it hasn’t changed.

How has working from home changed your relationship with your home?
Rank   Reasons why % Of Brits  
I have started loving my home since I started working from home / hybrid working 44%


2 I love my home more since I started working from home / hybrid working 21%
3 I love my home the same as before I started working from home / hybrid working 20%


4 I love my home less since I started working from home / hybrid working 11%
5 I have stopped loving my home since I started working from home / hybrid working 2%

Despite spending more time in their homes, 3 in 4 (75%) homeworkers stated that their home has remained their safe space – with just 7% declaring it isn’t.

How do Brits keep their homes as a safe space?

Diving deeper, the study revealed how Brits keep their home their sanctuary.

What do Brits do to keep their home their safe space?
Rank   Rules Brits Follow % Of Brits  
Have a designated workspace 56%
2 Keep on top of the house chores and keep it tidy 49%
3 Position myself near a window so natural light comes in 48%
4 Never work in bed 42%
5 Tidy my laptop away as soon as I have finished work 41%
6 Never work in the bedroom 34%

Over half (56%) divulged they have a designated workspace, with those who are 55+ scoring highest for this question (64%).

Almost half (49%) of Brits keep on top of their home chores and keep the house tidy and nearly five in ten (48%) of Brits position themselves near a window so they have access to natural light.

Many Brits agree that working in bed can blur the lines between relaxing and working with 42% stating they would never work where they sleep.

Says Rose Pullan, senior marketing and communications manager at Barratt London: 

“It has been three years since our lives changed and COVID-19 came into effect. 

“We wanted to conduct a deep dive into how Brits feel about their homes now that they are spending more time in them – has their relationship with their homes changed?

The results from the study pleasantly revealed that despite spending more time in our homes, this hasn’t dwindled Brits’ love for their abode”. 

How to improve your work-life balance

We talk to clinical psychologist Dr Gurpreet Kaur, at Dr Kaur Therapy about how Brits can improve their work-life balance. 

With Brits who have a desk or dedicated work set up – can we dive into the psychology of this – how much better it is for your work-life balance and mental health? 

“Having a desk for work will probably work well for people who like organisation and a distinction from home life. It can encourage routine and can allow for a space to be created which envelops all of the work necessities, making work potentially more productive and encouraging the workflow as everything that is needed should theoretically be in one space.

“However, for people who find it harder to organise, a work desk can be triggering as it can easily become chaotic and overwhelming. Whatever space is dedicated to work, it is important for it to feel welcoming, and time should be spent every couple of days, if not daily, to keep on top of clearing the workspace.

“Tidying away can help to close down the workday and prepare for the next day which enables a sense of control and satisfaction.”

What can Brits do to improve their mental health with their working-from-home setup? Are there any desk items they can have that can be positive mood boosters? 

“As well as the tips above, finding your mood booster and putting it in your workspace can help you to feel more grounded and connected to yourself instead of getting lost in the work stress. A way to do this is to reflect on your senses and which one of those are the most powerful.

“Perhaps you find that the smell of citrus invigorates you and gets your creative juices flowing, perhaps having the sounds of nature playing on YouTube on another tab helps you to focus. Some people may prefer a weighted blanket on their lap when they are working or a fidget toy to hold while they work.

“Another approach is to think about what mentally empowers you. Are you someone who likes a good quote and therefore you benefit from a quote a day calendar or are you somebody who is driven by your desire to reach your goals in which case a vision board might work wonders to keep you boosted?

“Finding your way to connect with mind-boosting tips can happen through reflection and thinking about what has worked in the past but also through trial and error of what works now.”

If people are negatively impacted by working from home, what do you suggest?

“Taking time to reflect on mood is important as it gives us an idea about how we are doing and more chance of understanding what has contributed to the change in mood. Doing a mood check every day by rating yourself on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being low and 5 great is a good way to touch base with your mood. If it is lower than you would hope for, the next step is to understand what triggered the low mood, which would involve some reflective backtracking and detective skills, looking for the trigger to your change in mood.

“Finding ways to improve mood can be easier once we know what has triggered us. As a rule of thumb, if we are stuck with heavy emotions or negative thoughts, getting the body moving can be a useful way to temporarily break those patterns.

“Creating space between tasks gives us a chance to pause, reflect and ground ourselves and exercising can help us to feel more connected to our body. Social contact is very important and getting lost in something which takes your thoughts away from work for a short while can also help to detach from negativity.

“Ultimately, working through the issues which are causing a negative impact on mood should be the priority. A number of people are now more willing to have therapy during the daytime – this has been a big change since COVID and something you might want to consider for anything which is impacting you negatively on a longer-term basis.”

You can find more information about the study here:

Chris Price