Home Sweet Office

The COVID-Effect. It’s an all-encompassing term I use for the problems and disruptions caused by the virus. One of those effects is the shift from working in an office to working at home. This is a trend that seems to have gained popularity amongst employees and employers. Here at SPI, our team has shifted to a hybrid schedule of working at home a few days a week.

According to Global Workforce Analytics, an estimated 56% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is compatible (at least partially) with remote work. Current numbers show that 3.6% of the workforce works at home half the time or more. It’s believed that those who worked remotely prior to the pandemic will increase the amount of time they spend working remotely. Those who were new to working remotely will begin to embrace it even more.

Employers are quickly embracing the work-at-home model. A survey noted by Forbes indicates a 47% increase in employee productivity. When working from home, employees are working longer, getting more done and are much happier with their work/life balance. The same survey estimated that employees who work at home at least half the time are saving $2,500 to $4,000 a year. Those savings are due to reduced cost for commuting, parking, tolls and eating out.

The COVID-Effect? The workplace of the future will likely look much different. It’s estimated that 25 – 30% of the workforce will transition to working at home on multiple days of the week by the end of 2021.

There are two very important things that remote workers will need to be successful:

  1. A Comfortable Workspace – Sitting in a hard-back mates chair at the dinette table for 8 hours a day may have been a temporary work-from-home solution, but it’s not going to be a permanent one. As more people make the transition to working from home, they are going to want to create a comfortable workspace for themselves.
  2. A Dedicated Workspace – Remote workers will need to create a space that they view as their “office away from the office.” Whether that’s a room over the garage, a spare bedroom or a corner in the den, they will be creating a space dedicated to “work.”

Hey Mr. and Mrs. Furniture Retailer, sounds to me like there will be a real demand for home office furnishings in the coming year!

It’s something to think about as you prepare to head off to High Point in October. We all know IKEA has a lot to offer in the home office category. The real question is, will people view IKEA-style, knock-down furniture as a solution to creating a comfortable home office space that they will be proud of? Some may. I believe many will choose to “take it to the next level.” They’ll be looking to create unique spaces that express their personal tastes and fulfill their individual needs.

This is a real opportunity for furniture retailers. It may be time to dedicate more square footage in your showroom to home office furniture. Create room vignettes that make it easy for the customer to imagine how it will look in their home. Add chairs, occasional items, accessories and seasonal accents to make the space look complete. You could incorporate a “home office corner” into a few of the living room or bedroom vignettes on your showroom floor. Show your customers what a dedicated, comfortable workspace would look like in their home.

Limited showroom space should never limit your business. Expand your home office offerings online. Have a computer available on the sales floor where your consultants can show customers everything you have to offer. To be successful, you’re going to need to look for the opportunities. I think giving more attention to the home office category is an opportunity to score a win in 2021.

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