Recent research from Gartner found that 82% of business leaders plan to allow employees to work from home at least part-time even after the pandemic ends. Many leaders see it as an option to reduce costs, or allow more flexible working arrangements, Johan Botes writes in Bizcommunity. Employees definitely got the message.
Rather than treating Covid-19 working patterns as a blip in normal conditions, workers are instead investing in getting more comfortable, productive and happy in their home offices.
These are the areas of the home office that have seen spikes in demand since the pandemic began.
It’s natural that during a pandemic keeping many people indoors – away from offices, gyms and even any commute they may have enjoyed – employees are turning to at-home workout equipment to stay active. Standing and walking desks allow people to do the work they need to do, while also moving around a bit more than they would. During a pandemic that has everyone feeling like they’re glued to their laptops, it makes sense that trends indicate standing and walking desks are becoming more attractive to employees.
There are plenty of reported benefits to both standing and walking desks that encourage workers to invest in this kind of equipment. The Standing Desk Report, which looks at forecasts for 2020-2028 standing and walking desks, reports that employees feel more energetic and productive compared to sitting desks.
The health and productivity benefits mean that remote workers are considering investing in these larger pieces of equipment more than pre-pandemic times. Google trends search data for standing desks and desk treadmills suggests that the spike of interest began at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, but continues unabated to this day.
At the start of the pandemic, when many office workers became remote workers, all those in-person meetings weren’t cancelled. For the most part, they were simply shunted to virtual methods. This meant that many remote employees invested in high-quality webcams.
The inbuilt webcam many computers offer are of lower quality as external webcams. When the only connection employees have with a client or boss is a 2D representation of their face, it makes sense that employees are investing in making sure it is as crisp and clear as possible.
Especially as employees expect to continue working from home at least in part for the long-term, high-quality webcams saw rises in demand, with many being very hard to find even today, nearly a year after the start.
The BBC reported in July 2020 that webcam suppliers were still “chasing demand,” while the NPD research group showed that in the first month of the pandemic, especially, webcam sales were up 100% compared to a similar period in 2019.
In South Africa, an estimated 9.2% of the total population is reported to use glasses as some form of eyesight correction device, according to this 2017 paper. Globally, most individuals have experienced a rise in screen time as we both work more and play more hich has detrimental effects on productivity and sleep.
An Ipsos report that surveyed Americans during the pandemic found that “a majority admit they have been spending more time on their smart/mobile phones (59%), watching television (59%), or in front of a computer screen (55%).”
As a result, it makes sense that more people are buying glasses that help them feel more rested and productive while working from home. Optician Oliver Torres explains that oleophobic coatings can filter out about 20% of harmful blue light.
Consumers have taken note. Thanks to heavy screen time usage, sales of blue light glasses skyrocketed. The Business of Fashion reports that some retailers have seen sales of blue light-blocking glasses double in 2020.
Athleisure clothing, or clothing that is both athletic and comfortable, is experiencing a surge of interest during the pandemic on top of a trend that was already growing. Now that so much of the working population is working from home, many remote employees are beginning to see it makes sense to invest in clothing that makes you look good on Zoom, is comfortable for all-day wear, and helps you get more done.
Francesca Muston, VP of fashion at the trend forecasting firm WGSN, told Refinery29 that the biggest fashion trend her firm had originally predicted for 2020 was something they called “Considered Comfort,” or a trend of clothing centered around the home. Before the spike of at-home workers, this trend was rising anyhow. Now, Google search data shows that interest in sweatpants spiked to a 14-year high just this past December.
But it’s not just comfort. Remote workers are also looking for clothing that lets them look presentable on camera. Searches for “zoom shirt” skyrocketed in April 2020, and are still trending.
As employees and companies both become aware that work-from-home is a long-term trend that isn’t going to go away when Covid-19 does, employees are spending more to ensure that their home office is a place for them to work productively and happily.
Trends such as comfortable clothing, anti-blue-light glasses, high-quality webcams and standing desks show every sign of becoming remote work staples in the years to come.