Western European At-Home Workers Grapple with Space Constraints

New Survey Shows 30% Lack a Dedicated Workspace



What’s one obstacle to working from home in Western Europe? Having enough space. About 30% of people in Germany and the United Kingdom who are now working at home (because of the pandemic) consider this a challenge compared to just 23% of their US counterparts—according to a new Keypoint Intelligence survey.


What Business Challenges Do You Experience Whilst Working from Home?

Source: The Western European Future Office Survey: Working from Home During COVID-19
(Keypoint Intelligence, 2020)


This makes sense. According to data from the World Bank, many countries in Western Europe are relatively dense from a population standpoint. For instance, Germany and the United Kingdom have 237 and 275 people per square kilometer of land area (respectively), compared to just 36 people in the United States.


Population Density in Various Countries (people per square kilometer of land area)
Source: The World Bank


There are a number of ways in which not having a dedicated workspace could impact at-home workers. For instance, we can imagine:

  • Lower productivity due to a lack of quiet space, access to technology, etc.
  • Privacy laws violations, with corporate data more in the open (especially an issue in Europe, with the General Data Protection Regulation)
  • Embarrassing situations, with video showing family members, personal objects, etc.


These potential issues align with the top three work-from-home challenges shown in the first chart above (i.e., collaboration with colleagues, security, and access to materials).


When it comes to a lack of workspace in Western Europe, it is employees between 35 and 49 years old that are most likely to fall into this category—possibly reflecting children taking over their “offices.”


So, what does this mean for print manufacturers and vendors? It means that European at-home workers may be particularly interested in printers or MFPs with a lean footprint. These kinds of devices may also offer benefits from a sustainability and energy sufficiency standpoint—something that Europeans are really seeking in their print environment.


What Would You Change about Your Work Printing Environment?
Source: The Future of Office Printing (Keypoint Intelligence, 2018)


It may also be helpful for these devices to be portable in the event that the individual’s workspace changes based on the situation. With the newest survey suggesting that 87% of printers were acquired by the at-home worker (in some cases they were expensed back to the company), it means that vendors traditionally targeting IT decision makers must expand their marketing communications to employees themselves who clearly have different needs than the company owners.


The need for space in Western European home offices is just one of the many findings in our new survey entitled The Future Office Survey: Working from Home During COVID-19. The 85 questions explore remote working and print/document opportunities from a wide variety of angles, including:

  • Remote work printing purchases and behavior: This includes the primary work from home device, top features considered for the device, change in work print volume, breakdown of optional vs. required printing, and most printed document types.
  • Attitudes toward working from home: Work from home challenges, the impact of remote work on productivity, and how the right technology could impact productivity are just a few of the areas explored.
  • Changes in personal (non-work printing) printing during lockdown: This covers the change in personal printing, the change in household printing, the impact of home schooling on print, and the most printed document types for personal purposes.
  • Remote work scanning behaviors: This includes COVID-19’s impact on the move to business process digitization within companies, how scanning behavior has changed, and the extent to which scanning with smartphones is practiced.
  • Other technology purchases and behavior: Areas explored include the devices/services that have been acquired during lockdown, how the items have been paid for, and the cost for the technology.


Clients can access the full results of the Western European survey, which has a 292 sample of new COVID-19 work from home office workers and an additional 70 sample of people who worked from home prior to the pandemic for a total of 362 person sample size, in the Office CompleteView Europe consulting service (Excel data and PowerPoint analysis). Future analyses will also be available to subscribers of our office-related syndicated services as well as US versions of the survey and analysis.


Are you an office print vendor with an opinion on these findings (or this topic)? Feel free to email me at christine.dunne@keypointintelligence.com with your perspective. If you are interested in accessing this research, please contact sales@keypointintelligence.com.