Spaces   //   April 15, 2024

When working from home means anywhere but the home office

People are still working from home at least some days in hybrid arrangements, and on those days many are ditching their home offices to work literally anywhere else in the house. The kitchen is one crowd favorite, especially a kitchen countertop or island, along with some other spaces and rooms that typically aren’t designed to work out of — like living rooms, sunrooms, and even swimming pools. 

“I would actually rather work anywhere than my home office,” said Lou Crane, a senior account manager at PR agency Lem-uhn. She generally uses her home office only for meetings, but prefers actually working from her newly decorated kitchen or her front room.

The value of a dedicated home office is being called into question as workers are heading back to the office for part of the week. They’re rethinking which areas actually make them feel the most comfortable and productive, and they’ve toyed with a variety of arrangements during their years now of working from home. 

The average remote worker has spent about $1,700 of their own money on equipment and tools to work more comfortably in their home, and about 30% say they have remodeled their workspaces at least three times since they first started working from home, according to a survey last year from Office Depot of over 2,000 U.S.-based respondents.

“I would actually rather work anywhere than my home office."
-Lou Crane, a senior account manager at PR agency Lem-uhn.

But even last year with the return to work in full swing, people were still looking for home offices they thought they’d need. From March to July of 2023, there was a nearly 17% increase in the number of real estate listings containing the word “office” compared to the year prior, according to a report from Rocket Homes.

Hannah Williams, senior account executive at Uproar PR, recently moved to a new spacious house in South Carolina. She’s worked remotely since 2020, but previously lived in a small apartment in New York City with her boyfriend who also worked from home. Back then she worked from the kitchen table and he worked from the living room couch. Today she’s somewhat of a nomad, rolling her new standing desk from room to room to change her scenery often. 

“It’s actually funny because in New York all I wanted was the space to have a real desk and an office, and now that I have one I’m like I don’t want to sit there, ever,” Williams said. “I have just hated staying stationary at my desk all day, I just get very antsy and I need to move around,” she said. 

The kitchen island is a favorite spot for Cristal Steuer, an executive director of strategy and placement at TVP Communications. She’s worked from home for about eight years, and only uses her home office for Zoom calls or when the kids are home. She feels most productive at the kitchen island, adding it might be due to the way she sits upright rather than slouched in a lower seat at a desk.

Eric Katzman, a senior media strategist and RLM Public Relations, also describes himself as a kitchen counter guy. He works remotely and starts his work day at a desk in his bedroom in NYC, but migrates to the kitchen once his kids are off to school. The kitchen counter makes him most productive, and working from the counter feels much better than working from the room he also sleeps in, he said.  

“With people I’m closer with I definitely do Zoom calls from the pool, and try to make as many people jealous as possible."
-Chad Teixeira, CEO of agency Inspire Network.

For Chad Teixeira, CEO of agency Inspire Network, the bed is actually his favorite spot to work from, and he’ll even take zoom calls with his team from there, he said. “Sometimes when I work crazy hours, I really just cannot be bothered to get out of bed,” Teixeira said. 

He works remote and has for most of this career, but about two years ago stopped using his home office entirely. “I can’t tell you the last time I sat down in the home office and actually went on my laptop and worked from there,” he said.

Other than the bed, he also often works from his swimming pool and hot tub in the backyard. He sometimes takes Zoom calls from the pool but not with new clients or those he feels the need to be more professional with. “With people I’m closer with I definitely do Zoom calls from the pool, and try to make as many people jealous as possible,” he said.

Ultimately he’s found that working from anywhere but his home office is boosting his productivity and satisfaction with his job. “I think a lot of people might get the opposite impression that you know, being in the pool is quite unconventional and actually gonna make it harder to work, but for me, if anything, it improves productivity and makes me happier with what I’m doing,” he said.