Almost half of employed Canadians work from home at least occasionally, but their home offices may be impeding their productivity. New research from Ipsos Reid and Brother Canada reveals that one quarter (26%) of employed Canadians work from home at least once a week, with another quarter (23%) doing so on occasion.
However, despite the popularity of working from home, many home offices have room for improvement. According to the study, only two in 10 Canadians (22%) who work from home like the fact that their home office set-up is efficient and functional. Only three in 10 (28%) like the fact that their home office has resources that are equivalent to those at an outside office. And, not surprisingly, this has a negative impact on productivity: only two in 10 (23%) respondents say they like the fact that they are more productive from home.
According to Marc Ruel, Home Office Expert at Brother Canada, the survey results are proof positive that most Canadians are not taking the right approach to working from home. “Being productive when working from home is a direct result of being organized,” he said. “The right workspace is essential. Your home office does not need to be decked out with all of the latest bells and whistles, but it does need to be properly equipped and carefully planned. Most important, people who work from home must treat their home office like it’s their real office – no pyjamas, no folded laundry, and no distractions.”
When it comes to home office technology, the study indicates that many home offices are not up to par. When questioned about what they would expect to find in a home office, most respondents listed a high-powered computer or laptop (79%) while seven in ten (72%) would expect to have a printer. However, only 65% of respondents actually have a printer in their home office, and only six in ten (60%) have a high-powered computer or laptop.
Other things that working Canadians would expect to have in a home office include a quiet room (64%, just 43% have one), a scanner (61%, just 45% have one), home office products with wireless capabilities (57%, just 31% have one), a fax machine (52%, just 28% have one), and a smartphone (36%, just 24% have one).
According to Marc Ruel, the right home office equipment depends entirely on the worker: “There is no set rule for the technology that’s required in a home office, although it’s worth noting that recent innovations have brought us affordable all-in-one machines that can perform multiple tasks and save on both money and space. If you’re just starting out, make a list of your daily tasks and consult with a professional at your local office supply store to find out what machine is best for you.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between September 30 and October 4 2011, on behalf of Brother. For this survey, a sample of 1,025 working Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and political composition to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of working adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.