Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Working remotely has increased demand for tech and space – World Economic Forum

  • Since the first lockdown in the UK in 2020, the number of remote workers has increased significantly.
  • This has increased the demand for home office equipment, which has increased the number of worldwide shipments.
  • The need for home office equipment and larger housing may have a negative impact on the environment.

Just 5% of employed people in the UK worked from home in 2019. The onset of the pandemic and the overnight shuttering of offices during the first lockdown meant 47% of employees were doing the same in April 2020.

Although returning to work in offices full time is now possible, the latest figures from May show 26% are still working from home while a further 11% are hybrid working: splitting their work time between the office and home.

In February 2021, 52%

Image: Vox EU

With fewer people commuting and less food wasted as previously catered work events were held online instead, many hoped that a shift to remote working would benefit workers and the environment.

But that may not be the case. Not everyone can afford a home office, nor the additional heating or internet bills. And the loss of scale involved in heating and cooling individual homes during the day compared to offices may mean remote working is less energy efficient.

Our research into the adaptations office workers made to work from home during 2020’s first lockdown revealed two troubling trends: the duplication of office equipment and demand for more space and larger homes.

The duplication of stuff

Interviews with 17 UK households, selected for their diverse professional backgrounds, ages and sizes, uncovered how and why some people went from working at kitchen tables and on sofas, expecting lockdown to last a few weeks, to creating more permanent and higher quality set-ups.

To accommodate this and recreate offices at home, workers bought tech and furnishings which were often transported across the globe. Worldwide sales of laptops and desktops increased by 11.2% between April and June 2020, with 72.3 million units shipping. Monitor sales also spiked and webcams were temporarily sold out across the UK. Online searches for office desks and chairs increased by 438% and 300% respectively on the previous year.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media has partnered with the World Economic Forum to improve the safety of digital environments, addressing harmful and misleading media while protecting consumers and brands.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, now a flagship project of the Forum’s Media, Entertainment and Sport Platform, is led by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and brings together advertisers, agencies, media companies and industry organizations to improve digital safety at scale.

Together, they collaborate with publishers and platforms to address harmful and misleading media environments, developing and delivering against a concrete set of actions, processes and protocols for protecting brands and consumers.

Partners involved in the Global Alliance for Responsible Media include companies such as LEGO Group, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, NBC Universal – MSNBC, Dentsu Group, WPP (through GroupM), Interpublic Group, Publicis Groupe, Omnicom Group, Facebook and Google.

Together with members and partners on our Media, Entertainment and Sport platform, we are aggregating solutions to major industry disruptions while driving greater social cohesion and helping companies remain accountable to the global social good.

Read more about our impact.

Office equipment and furniture purchases peaked during the …….


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