A study, also known as a home office, is a room in a house that is used for paperwork, computer work, or reading. Historically, the study of a house was reserved for use as the private office and reading room of a parent/guardian as the formal head of a household, but today studies are generally either used to operate a home business or else open to the whole family.
A typical study might contain a desk, chair, computer, desk lamps, bookshelves, books, and file cabinets. A spare bedroom is often utilized as a study, but many modern homes have a room specifically designated as a study. Other terms used for rooms of this nature include den, home office, parlour, or home library. A "study room" is more commonly a communal working area in a school, office, etc.
The study developed from the closet or cabinet of the Renaissance era. From the beginning of the 18th century onwards increased literacy at the middle-class family level led to the setting aside of closed study and library areas within larger houses. Here commercial work, reading, correspondence, fact-recording and other activities could be undertaken in privacy and silence. Until well into the 20th century gender restrictions on social roles made the domestic study an essentially male facility. The 19th century clergyman would prepare sermons and interview parishioners in his study while his equally literate wife would undertake her social obligations in a nearby parlour.
The Internet has led to a transformation of the historic study with its localized functions into the present day home-office. The technological revolution has enabled individuals to engage in remote work while still being productive using the Internet, email, e-commerce, and videotelephony.
Government statistics record that in Britain 4.2 million people worked exclusively from home in 2014; an increase of 31% from the 1998 figure.
The COVID-19 pandemic increased demand for rooms suitable for remote work.
According to a Gallup poll in September 2021, 45% of full-time U.S. employees engaged in remote work, including 25% who did it all of the time and 20% did it part of the time.