Telecommuting is boosting office furniture sales
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Working from home in times of the coronavirus are contributing to the rise in sales of office supplies and furniture.
In the U.S., some companies are offering employees a stipend to buy what they need to make the transition from office to home easier during the current pandemic, according to a report by Fox Business.
E-commerce software company Shopify, which employs 5,000 people worldwide, is providing them with a $1,000 stipend to buy equipment such as office chairs, a new desk and lamps as they work from home until further notice. Music-streaming service Spotify, has allowed employees to spend $250 for a monitor and $250 for a chair or desk. And Facebook is giving workers free Portal video chat devices upon request, Protocol reported.
Apartment Therapy, a lifestyle blog focused on home design and décor, has seen a 50 per cent increase in “likes” on Instagram posts related specifically to home office settings and a spike in searches related to home office furniture for small spaces or new homes.
IKEA: Sales of office furniture holding up
Demand for office furniture is holding up as many people are working from home in the health crisis, Henrik Elm, global supply manager at brand owner Inter IKEA Group, which is in charge of supply, told Reuters in a report.
"The sales pattern is changing. One area where we are selling pretty well compared to others is office furniture. People are working from home and they have identified needs in their homes for it," Elm said.
Telecommuting on the rise in Japan ahead of the Olympics and coronavirus outbreak
Although the telecommuting trend arrived late in Japan, it is expected to gain momentum this year as the nation gets ready for the Tokyo Olympics. The coronavirus outbreak is also pushing employers to implement telecommuting, reported Nikkei Asian Review.
More employees will consider working from home in the months ahead as Greater Tokyo residents begin to dread the added crush of people on their peak-hour trains during the Olympics and Paralympics, in addition to a surge in tourists and new traffic regulations.
According to a Nikkei survey of some 700 companies across Japan, the share of those taking up telecommuting programmes exceeded 50 per cent even back in 2019. The demand for office furniture among the country's increasing number of work-from-home employees is growing because most home furniture is not designed for long hours of work.
Office furniture makers are adapting products for telecommuters. Osaka company Kokuyo sells a line of desk chairs with spring-loaded seats that can tilt in all directions as the user shifts. Ing chairs are targeted at both private and business users.
The growth in manufacturers' sales is evident. Although high-performance office furniture is more expensive than kitchen chairs and tables, Itoki sold 47% more via its e-commerce site, used mostly by individuals, in fiscal 2019 than in the previous year.
Kokuyo sales of office chairs for personal use in 2019 also soared by 150%, compared to sales in 2015.
News compiled by PFA.