Remote work has the biggest impact on professionals in shared housing

Young professionals living in shared households, living with parents, siblings, family, friends, housemates etc, have vowed to return to the office permanently once lockdown measures ease – as remote working takes its toll on UK’s ‘generation rent.’

Just 11% of professionals living in shared accommodation stated that they would like to move to remote working permanently (with office visits where required) – compared to 30% of the national average.

The findings come from a recent study from staffing business Walters People, who surveyed professionals around the globe about their experiences of working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Phill Westcott, Director of Walters People, comments:  

“Whilst in the workplace employers can create a somewhat universal environment that feeds into the company culture and ensures a way of working, this is slightly more challenging to do remotely – in particular for an entire workforce that has had to transition within the matter of days or weeks to home working.

“What this survey highlights is not only the breadth of challenges an individual faces when remote working – both professional and personal – but that these issues vary considerably depending on the type of household you live in.

“Following school and nursey closures, we have seen a lot of discussion around working from home if you are a parent, but one thing that hasn’t been bought to the fore is those in shared housing – a real issue for young professionals.

“In a house full of strangers or limited space, how are these professionals coping and operating, where are they basing themselves, and have they adjusted to spending a prolonged period of time around their co-habitants?”


55% of professionals who live alone stated that they are ‘very satisfied’ with their current work from home arrangements – with the satisfaction level dropping for those living with a partner but no children (44%), those with children (40%), and to below a fifth for professionals living in shared accommodation (18%).

The five biggest frustrations for professionals living and working in a shared household are:

  • 56% – Social isolation / Lack of socialising with peers
  • 31% – Impact to physical wellbeing (not having correct office furniture)
  • 31% – Working longer hours
  • 29% – Communication with co-workers and management is harder
  • 27% – Physical workspace  

Phill Westcott adds: “Despite young professionals living in shared or multi-occupant households, they are feeling an immense sense of social isolation. This is not surprising to see given that a quarter of professionals in shared accommodation have been working from their bed during this period – more than any other household*.

*16% of professionals work from their bed on average

“For UK’s ‘generation rent’ or young professionals, it is clear that where their living situation may be geared around functionality, the workplace plays a more central role in their social lives and wellbeing – the impact of which is now being felt as lockdown measures are enforced.”


40% of professionals in a shared household are more likely to use their commute time to work longer hours, compared to less than a third of professionals who live alone (28%), or who live with partner but no children (22%).

Despite the extra hours, just 6% of professionals in shared accommodation stated that their productivity had ‘significantly increased’ since remote working, the smallest productivity increase of any other household – living alone (16%), have children (16%), live with partner but no children (12%).

Factors that cause decreased productivity in shared household:

  • 72% – Less ability to focus / More distractions
  • 44% – Not having a proper office furniture or set-up
  • 44% – Too much autonomy / lack of structure
  • 33% – Less physical interaction with colleagues
  • 33% – More meetings / Managers checking-in more


A third of professionals (30%) in a shared housing stated that working from home during COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health and wellbeing.

The biggest causes of poor mental health for professionals in shared households is the inability to sperate home and working life (73%), lack of structure to the working day (47%), and the ‘pressure’ to deliver results (27%).

Phill Westcott adds: “If remote working is to continue for some time, or if employers intend to build this into their long-term plans then considerations must be given as to how professionals can better separate their home and working life.

“Now is the time for employers to look over HR and mental health policies and revise accordingly to ensure the right level of support, guidance, processes and changes are enforced to ensure positive mental health and wellbeing amongst staff when remote working.”

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