Working Moms Have Unique Home Office Needs

    Posted by TASC Large Markets on Nov 29, 2021 1:58:38 PM

    For decades working mothers have tried to balance the demands of home, childcare, and work — striving to excel professionally while nurturing their families and taking on the majority of cooking, cleaning, and general household chores. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and sent office workers, preschoolers and school-aged children home, working moms faced an increased challenge — how to attend to work and family simultaneously, while adjusting to virtual school and virtual career demands.



    According to a New York Times article, during the pandemic 66% of mothers reported having the primary responsibility for taking care of the kids, as compared to only 24% of fathers, even though both parents worked.1 Compounding the problem of divided attention between family and work, women were also less likely to have a dedicated office space in the home, instead opting for a central location like the kitchen table or living room. Men, on the other hand, were much more likely to work in a home office, where it was easier to focus on work without being interrupted.2

    Now, after a year or more of mandatory working from home, many professionals — including working moms — have decided not to return to the office full-time, and companies are changing their expectations about in-person attendance. As an emergency measure morphs into a new flexible workstyle, it’s more important than ever for working moms to have a home office that maximizes their comfort and productivity, and establishes boundaries between their home and family obligations and their work.3

    What Should Working Moms Include In A Home Office?

    Ideally a home work space should be separate from the rest of the house, complete with a door that can be closed for quiet and privacy. Creating a distinct area for work helps moms focus and keep their office time separate from family time. By closing the door during virtual meetings, moms can signal to their children that this is a time when they should not be disturbed. During less structured work hours, an open door invites kids to stop in and ask questions, get help with homework, or ask for snacks. Having a separate room for the home office also helps with organization — bills, shopping lists, and school papers can be stored elsewhere, while work documents have a permanent home.

    What if the house doesn’t have an extra room? Office nooks can be created from closets, alcoves in living rooms and dining rooms, and unused areas of attics and basements can even serve in a pinch. The most important part of setting up a home office is that it is a distinct area where only work is done.

    Principally, it should be technologically equal to the company’s office space. High speed internet connections, multiple computer monitors, and printers and scanners that were standard at the office should also be installed at home so there are no technological roadblocks to productivity.

    Ergonomically designed office furniture and computer equipment is also a must. One real downside of working from a dining room table is that the chairs are not designed to be supportive and comfortable for long periods of time, and the height of a dining table is not the same as an office desk, so working there is harder on the body. Home offices should include office-grade furniture and computer stations that are placed at eye level or on standing desks, with keyboards and mice that are designed for professional use instead of personal computing.

    In addition, the office should be comfortable, well lit, and large enough to accommodate work projects. Storage for files, reference books, and past projects is also desirable. And just like a corporate cubicle, a home office can have a few personal touches, such as pictures of family, houseplants, a favorite coffee cup, a wall calendar, and a white board for making to-do lists.4

    How Companies are Supporting Working Moms in Home Offices

    Some innovative examples of companies providing support to moms working at home include the following:

    • Citigroup reimburses employees for any home office supplies that they need, helping them turn their homes into comfortable, efficient offices. Once they are set up, Citi also offers a mix of global and region-specific virtual workshops and webinars to its remote workforce.
    • Facebook gives full-time employees an annual $2,000 stipend for any expenses related to setting up and maintaining a home office.
    • The global accounting firm BDO provides virtual activities and classes for employees’ children to keep them entertained while parents are working.
    • HealthCareSource goes above and beyond to actually engage the families of its employees. Instead of keeping children and homelife off-camera during video meetings, the company issued “Best Coworker Ever” t-shirts for employees’ kids, and the children are often invited to pop up on screen and say hello.5

     How Can Your Company Best Support Moms Working from Home?

    The best way to find out what moms working from home need to be successful is to ask them. When Forbes surveyed remote employees across the country, the top response to that question (53%) was they needed the right home office equipment, like a desk chair, monitor, or printer. The second-highest response, at 48%, was a better internet connection. This is particularly helpful for parents who have trouble with video conferences because the kids are simultaneously attending class online (or playing video games).6

    Many workers also observed a dramatic increase in their utility bills after offices switched to work-from-home when the pandemic began. Employees not only need to pay to keep their computers and office equipment running, but they also need to pay for the overhead that companies typically incur, like air conditioning and heating costs. To relieve this economic burden, companies can subsidize these increased costs.

    Consider a Work-From-Home Stipend

    Employers can help lighten this new financial load for moms working at home through a fixed or flexible monthly stipend to cover costs like furniture, electricity bills, internet, and office supplies. Beyond simple compensation for expenses, a stipend shows appreciation to moms who have made working from home a success, despite all the challenges. Also, by providing a fixed or flexible stipend, employees will feel supported and stay motivated in their roles, which ultimately feeds into overall satisfaction and engagement. This is key to staff retention at a time when working from home has the potential to give moms more choices of employers.7

    Editor’s Note: TASC offers a Home Office Expense Reimbursement Account, and an Office Supplies Reimbursement Account, from more than 50 benefit offerings that can be configured into custom plans that meet employee needs – where they are in life.


    1. “Nearly Half of Men Say They Do Most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree.” New York Times, May 2020:
    2. “Five Ways Companies Can Help Mothers Struggling with Remote Work,” Forbes, May 2021;
    3. “The pandemic gave parents the chance to work from home. Now they don’t want to give it up.” Washington Post, April 2021:
    4. “Working from Home: Creating a Productive Workspace,” Mom Life, July 2020:
    5. “These Are the Best Places for Parents Working Remotely,” Fatherly, April 2021:
    6. “Five Ways Companies Can Help Mothers Struggling with Remote Work,” Forbes, May 2021;
    7. “The cost of remote work: Who’s paying? Why and how employers should consider introducing a home office stipend to their remote work force.” Benefits Pro, August 2021: