Statistics That Need To Be Known About Home Office Ergonomics

In June 2020, Stanford University Economist Nicholas Bloom said that 42% of working people in the US worked from home full-time. A study by Pew Research Center concluded that while 20% of people worked from home before the Covid-19 pandemic, by December 2020, that number has risen to 71%.

The Pew Research Center also reports that out of the people forced to work from home because of the pandemic, 54% said they would like to work from home even when the outbreak ends.

The numbers above show that while the coronavirus outbreak may not have started the working from home trend, it has undoubtedly been a catalyst for the establishment of many a home office. Many of these offices do not fit the idea of good ergonomics. Ergonomics is the process of arranging or designing spaces and products to fit the individuals that use them.

In this article, we look at some home office ergonomic statistics need to be known.

Inadequate Workspace

Many people who started working from home because of governments’ restrictions on movement starting in 2020 had to shift to a home office overnight. A lot of homes were never designed to be used as an office.

Therefore, it is not surprising that almost 25% of people working from home say that finding adequate workspace was somewhat or very difficult. When a workplace is inadequate, it fails to meet the principle of good ergonomics.

The producer of web-based collaboration tools that facilitate teamwork, conducted a survey involving 856 people to determine the location within the home where these people were working from and the furniture they used. Results from the survey show that people worked from the following places:

Home office: 28.6%

Master bedroom: 28.5%

Living/family room: 19.9%

Dining room: 8.3%

Guest bedroom: 6.5%

Kitchen: 3.9%

Basement: 2.2%

Child’s bedroom: 0.5%

Outdoor area: 0.4%

Other: 1.3%

The inadequacy of workstations for some employees working from home has a negative effect on such employees’ work/life balance. For instance, reports that “As many people who work from home do not necessarily have a designated workspace, they experience a conflation between their living area and workplace.” This could lead to employees overworking and neglecting other important parts of their lives, such as exercise.

More Productivity From A Desk

The survey showed that more than half (58.5%) of the respondents working from home worked from a desk. From the results, concludes that “desk-workers were more likely to be productive than those who reported working elsewhere.” Adding, “The dining table, couch, and bed did not measure up.”

From their University of Cincinnati study, Davis and colleagues report a higher proportion of individuals who said they worked from a desk (88%). The same study concluded that a small portion worked from a table (7%).

Davis and colleagues’ study has some encouraging findings showing that out of the individuals who worked from a desk, four had standing desks while one had a treadmill workstation.

The importance attached by home employees to a desk is reflected in figures published by, which reports that “In 2020, 27 percent of consumers were prioritizing a desk when considering purchasing home office furniture in the United States.” Adding that “Demand for home office furniture spiked as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Neuroscientist Michael Larson and exercise science professor James LeCheminant, both from the Brigham Young University, conducted a study into the effectiveness of treadmill desks. They conclude that “the health benefits of a walking desk … appear to outweigh the slight drop in productivity that comes with such a setup.”

Based on the results of their study, Larson and LeCheminant recommend the introduction of sit-stand and treadmill desks as a way of creating good ergonomics in the office.

Computer Equipment

From its study on home office trends, reports that nearly 57% of respondents indicated that their employers would not allow them to use company equipment such as computers and laptops when working from home, with 31.8% saying that they had to buy their own equipment.

The study by Davis and colleagues concluded that in most cases, the monitor position in home offices was either off to the side or too low. Seventy-five percent of the surveyed employees were using laptops. For those using external monitors, the researchers conclude that the devices were set up too high (4%) or too low (52%)

Davis and colleagues also note that “Another common issue with the monitors was the lack of the primary screens centered in front of the workers (31%), resulting in twisting of the neck and/or back to view the monitor.” In most of the cases (73%), the secondary monitors were not centered.

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