More and more people working from home experiencing ‘digital overloads’

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Paper and Packaging Board reveals the work from home wishlist of many Americans (Photo by manny PANTOJA on Unsplash).

Nearly three in four Americans say working from home has increased their sense of “digital overload,” according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans working from home found that, since messaging, email and video chat are now the primary ways they communicate, 73% of workers are more digitally connected than ever — but 6 in 10 say they’re less productive.

Sixty-six percent of respondents blamed their diminished productivity on the people they live with, while 62% cited distractions in and around their home workspace, and 40% said it’s because they just don’t have the right tools.

Speaking of tools, while 74% of workers polled say they now spend the majority of their day looking at a screen, over half of respondents say they are now more likely to reach for paper and pen during the workday.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Paper and Packaging Board, the survey examined remote employees’ biggest challenges, as well as the workspace upgrades they’ve made since working from home and those that they still miss from the office.

The average respondent has cycled through three different at-home workspaces before finding the best setup since they began working from home.

A reliable internet connection, peace and quiet and high-quality headphones top Americans’ work from home wishlists.

Seventy-two percent have purchased a desk since beginning to work from home, and 62% have even invested in a standing desk.

Printers were also high up on workers’ wishlists, with seven in 10 respondents having purchased one since the pandemic began.

“There’s no question that digital tools have in many ways made the workplace more efficient. But we get blindsided by our digital environment when there are certain tasks for which paper is just more effective,” said productivity expert Holland Haiis.

The survey also illuminated some of the more lighthearted aspects of office life that those working from home have begun to miss.

Six in 10 miss being able to print personal documents for free at work.

And 65% miss being able to leave their coworkers notes or congratulatory cards at their workspaces.

In spite of the drawbacks, respondents were strongly optimistic about their work from home futures.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they believe that they can continue to be productive while working from home in the long-term.

Among respondents who had children, 82% said they believe they can continue to maintain a strong balance between working from home and supervising their children while they attend school virtually.


1. Peace and quiet (38%)
2. Reliable internet connection (38%)
3. High-quality headphones / headset for taking calls (36%)
4. Ergonomic chair (30%)
5. The ability to print as much and as often as I would like (29%)


1. Pens (77%)
2. Notebooks / legal pads (74%)
3. Sticky notes (74%)
4. Printer paper / pencils (74%)
5. Paper clips (73%)

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