WFH Consumers Try to Maintain Structure and Upgrade Home Offices

April 30, 2020

With consumers adapting to the current “normal," they’re looking for ways to normalize their routines working from home. It comes as no surprise that consumers are upgrading their home offices and are trying to maintain a schedule during these trying times, according to a Ripple Street Research survey of their community of local influencers, conducted from April 20th to 22nd.

This is the sixth in a series of weekly surveys that Ripple Street Research is conducting in the coming months. We hope these consumer insights will help brands and agencies navigate these unprecedented times, and better inform their strategic marketing programs going forward.

Key takeaways from Ripple Street Research’s sixth Consumer COVID-19 survey:

  • 88% of consumers working from home are eating their lunch at home versus snacking throughout the day
  • Chips are twice as popular as any other snack item among consumers working from home during the day
  • Buying groceries dominates as the top reason for people to go to the store

Many states are planning to uphold stay-at-home orders well into May. Consumers that are working from home are trying to stay focused by making their time at home more like a typical workday, despite the challenges that come with working virtually.  

Finding structure in ambiguity    

Working from home can seem like a dream come true for some employees, but it can have its own set of challenges. Even though 59% of consumers were able to set up a workspace in their home office or living room, they’re confronted with pressing priorities. Additionally, 41% reported the need to balance work with homeschooling their children. This aligns with recent reporting by the U.S. News that despite the pandemic and school districts shutting down, continuing children’s education at all levels must continue:    

"Most families right now are supporting their children's learning at home," GG Weisenfeld, assistant research professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University—New Brunswick in New Jersey, wrote in an email. "In this instance, connecting with your student's current school is key."

Time to upgrade

Many consumers surveyed had a lack of proper office space or too much noise at home. In fact, 46% of consumers said a better home office ranked number one in helping them get more work done. Thirty-seven percent of them acted, purchasing supplies to upgrade their home office. Over half of those buying home office supplies purchased them from Amazon, while Walmart was a distant second at only 12 percent. Everyday items that consumers purchase to upgrade their home office involve their setups, such as a keyboard, monitor, and mouse.        

Normalizing lunch hour

With the undeniable aversion to eating from restaurants, 88% of respondents are eating their lunch at home. Many respondents are also striving to maintain an eating schedule, with 69% of consumers making lunch versus snacking throughout the day. When consumers do snack, 22% of them are eating chips, which was double any other option from those presented, including but not limited to trail mix, nuts, pretzels, and popcorn.  

There was a nearly even split between those who eat their lunch while working (53%) and those who take a break during lunch (47%). When consumers do decide to venture out, 90% said they would only go to the store for groceries. Toilet paper and prescription medications followed.  

Taking a break

When the workday is over, keeping active is essential in fighting boredom. Many consumers started purchasing items to keep themselves occupied during their downtime. Arts and crafts and streaming services were at the top, followed by children’s toys and exercise equipment. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have seen a significant surge during COVID-19 for consumers to kill time.  

While consumers do their best to maintain some sense of structure in this “new normal,” brands can provide products that promote safe, fun experiences at home.

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