SURVEY SAYS: Creating a New Workspace

PLANSPONSOR NEWSDash readers share whether they created an office or space to work at home and whether they work in a space that may be considered unusual.

Last week, I asked NEWSDash readers, “Did you create a home office or workspace this year?” I also asked them to share if they are working in what would be considered an “unusual” workspace.

The majority of responding readers (53.8%) work in a plan sponsor role. More than one-third (35.9%) are recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants, and 5.1% each are advisers/consultants or attorneys.

Nearly half (48.8%) reported they already have a home office, while 14.6% created a home office and 17.1% created a dedicated workspace. The rest (19.5%) indicated they just use the dining table or some other place already in their house.

Asked if they are working in what would be considered an “unusual” workspace, respondents revealed:

  • In the bedroom with door closed. Small home so only place I could shut the door without being in the dark, depressing basement.
  • Unusual if you consider being able to open the window unusual.
  • We have an employee that converted the kids tree house to his office. He added glass windows, power and AC, but he did keep the hammock. Happy to send a pic if you like.
  • My wife converted our former very formal living room into an awesome office. We have lots of sports memorabilia from our favorite teams hanging everywhere. Every time I enter the room it makes me so happy!
  • My husband and I work for the same company and for the first time began working remotely in March. We work across from each other on a table in our sunroom.
  • I have a home office and I use the other side of the desk as my “work” office with my work computer.
  • I am working from the guest room on three snack tables in a corner, squeezed in between a chest of drawers and recliner.
  • I am working on our glassed-in sun porch. I have a space heater for cold weather and an air conditioning unit for hot weather. I raise and lower the shades depending on time of day, (angle of sun and heat index).

Responding readers who chose to leave comments mostly expressed that they enjoy working from home, even if it was an adjustment in the beginning. I really enjoyed reading about the activities they can enjoy when working from home that they can’t when working in the office, such as eating lunch with family, watching birds that come to the bird feeder, spending time with pets. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “My dog may never forgive me when I have to return to the office.”

A big thank you to all who participated in the survey!

Verbatim

Nothing unusual here besides the 2 birds, 7 cats and the dog.

For my setup, I use the dining room table. You forget how much space you actually need to work until you start to lay out all your stuff!

Downsized to a 55 and older home and tried to put 2700 square feet of furniture into a much smaller space. Didn’t plan for needing a home office, so the dining room table has to work!

kitchen table

my bedroom

Spouse moving into same office when both of us are trying to have phone calls, Zoom meetings, etc. has presented some challenges.

I have upgraded my home office. New paint. Adjustable height desk. New windows. Mat for office chair. I do find it to be desirable to periodically change up my space. Work in the dining room … or the kitchen … or the deck … or the patio!

Once the routine was in place I’ve actually enjoyed it. I never thought I’d enjoy working from home but now that I’ve been forced, and don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything in the office, I see the benefits. I have toddlers so it’s also been nice to not feel like I’m missing out on milestones.

I am finding that I am more productive, less-stressed and have a much better work-life balance by working at home.

I love it!

It is great for getting things done, but lousy for face to face contact and casual contact that you would have in an office. The social contracts are so different.

LOVE the short commute – miss interaction with co-workers.

I have been working from home since 2012, so this is nothing new for me. My husband, however, had to make an abrupt transition to work-from-home in mid-March. He misses the personal interaction with his colleagues. Our work schedules are mostly the same, but occasionally one of us has a “light” day, and we need to be cognizant of not disrupting/interrupting the other’s ability to work. That’s really been our only challenge. Meanwhile, the dog has never been happier!

My dog may never forgive me when I have to return to the office.

It was a relatively easy adjustment to work from home 5 days a week because I was already working from home 2 days a week. My employer allowed us to bring home additional technology and “comfort” items from our desks to help make life easier. My dogs certainly enjoy me being home and I’m glad they are there as well so I have someone to talk to during the day…

Keeping the cats off the laptop has become a daily chore.

I have really enjoyed working remotely. Not having to commute gives me more time to do other things like exercise classes. I can even go to our community pool after work for a few hours. I also have a much better view working from my sunroom then from my cubicle in the cube farm and less interruptions!

I was doing some work from home in 2019. So, it wasn’t much of an adjustment for home to be my primary work place.

It is actually better than I thought it would be. I like the down the hallway commute. Even though working on three snack tables is not the best, I prefer it to going into the office now.

The best thing about working from home is that on nice days in the summer, the ability to work by the pool was a nice perk.

I’m amazed at how well I’ve adapted to working from home. I am definitely working with less paper than I did while in the office. I’m doing my part to help the environment!

A couple of things: within the first week, we increased our internet capacity and are much happier and productive. Probably my favorite benefit is having lunch with my wife and kids every day. I realize that some may use a different “b”, such as “burden”.

Really didn’t care for working at home. We are a small office and came back in the office in May, but can still work from home if the need arises. Glad to have the routine back. Much easier to focus.

While there are advantages of working from home, it is not as efficient as going into the office. I do a mix, working about 3 days in the office and 2 days at home.

My husband is working remotely too. I took over the dining room, he is in the living room using a laptop tray and the sofa. He is a little bit more lowkey than I am. On another note, since it is just my husband and I (and the dog), I have truly enjoyed working from home and getting to spend lunch everyday with them. It truly gives me something to look forward to every day “going to work”.

Adjusting to work from home after being in the office every day for 42 years has been an adjustment. However, I’ve adjusted. I’m afraid they will have to drag me kicking and screaming back to the office when the time comes.

Having a home office made the transition almost seamless, although it was somewhat challenging. Going forward I will be splitting my time between my home and work office

Have become more efficient. Printing way less paper. Have stored much more documentation on our server so it can be accessed remotely, which is actually a good thing.

Fortunately, my employer embraced virtual work prior to the pandemic so I was prepared. Prior to March I worked virtually 1 -2 days/week. Moving to full virtual still required adjustments but those were minor.

I was already used to dealing with recordkeepers and corporate support primarily through email and conference calls. The transition to working completely from home was easier than I thought it might be.

Took some getting used to, but now I feel as though I can accomplish as much as I could in the office.

I am up to 8 bird feeders and have attracted 11 different kinds of birds, 2 chipmunks, rabbits, a squirrel and a ground hog. My favorite birds are the Baltimore Orioles and the humming birds. I love working at home. I love not having to drive to work and being able to spread out my work. (My home office is bigger than my work cubicle.) I also love being able to choose the radio station at home!!

My “space” has continued to evolve as I come to the realization that it is not ending any time soon!

 

NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.

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