Thriving or surviving? How the physical work setting at home was experienced globally during COVID-19

Saija Toivonen, Ina Blind, Riikka Kyrö

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


One of the most prominent and widely adopted COVID-19 countermeasures globally was the recommendation to work from home for all non-essential workers. Working from home (WFH) already entails many challenges, including difficulties in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Moreover, the COVID-19 enforced remote working differed from planned remote work, as it was unplanned and involuntary, not based on individual work activities, and excluded the use of third places. This study aims to establish how, on a global scale, demographics, time with company, and
the social and physical work setting at home affected employees’ satisfaction with their physical work setting during the pandemic. The study employs a quantitative research approach utilizing secondary data comprising 137,289 respondents from 77 countries globally. Employees’ experienced suitability of their physical work setting at home are regressed on demographic factors (age, gender), time with company, presence of others at home, type of work space, satisfaction with desk and chair, access to IT devices and tools, and country, using a linear probability model.
The study finds that the majority of the respondents globally, ca 61%, felt that their physical work setting at home was suitable. Women had a higher probability of being satisfied than men, and older employees a higher probability of satisfaction than younger employees. Recent recruits also had a higher probability of satisfaction. The presence of family members reduced the probability of satisfaction, presence of friends and flatmates even more so. No having a dedicated work room also reduced the probability of satisfaction, while satisfaction with desk, chair and access to IT
devices and tools had a large positive effect. This study is among of the first to analyse employee experiences during COVID-19 on a truly global scale. As hybrid work continues to gain foothold, our findings are useful workplace managers in the post-pandemic era.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd Transdisciplinary Workplace Research Conference
EditorsChiara Tagliaro, Alessandra Migliore, Rossella Silvestri
PublisherPolitecnico di Milano
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-909641-8-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventTransdisciplinary Workplace Research Conference - Milano, Italy
Duration: 7 Sept 202210 Sept 2022
Conference number: 3


ConferenceTransdisciplinary Workplace Research Conference
Abbreviated titleTWR


  • COVID-19
  • Employee experience
  • Hybrid work
  • Working from home (WFH)
  • Work setting


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