Home Insights & Advice More than a third of Brits ‘less productive’ working from home

More than a third of Brits ‘less productive’ working from home

by John Saunders
29th Jul 20 8:19 am

For a lot of Londoners, working from home has become part of what is being dubbed the “new normal”. The government restrictions that saw people to staying indoors wherever possible to contain the coronavirus outbreak encouraged a widespread shift to remote working. But a new nationwide study reveals that it might be having a negative impact on productivity.

Online printing specialists instantprint spoke to 1,000 people around the UK who are currently working from home to find out how it was affecting them. The survey found that more than a third of employees (37%) confessed that they were now putting in fewer hours while working at home. A further 3% admitted to not working at all – and yet still getting away with it.

How do Londoners come out from the research?

One thing instantprint research does show is how the productivity picture is differing from city to city. It seems that, for the most part, Londoners are either putting in the same number of hours (44%) – or working a lot more (19%). It’s not all good news for the capital though. The number admitting to working a lot less is up there in line with the national average (37%).

To put that in the overall regional context, cities such as Bristol (47%) and Birmingham (35%) have the highest share of workers putting in more hours than usual from their home. Sheffield (55%) and Cardiff (54%), meanwhile, saw a high share of workers who believe they are doing as much work at home as the office – though not as high as Edinburgh at a staggering 80%.

Even though in line with the national average, however, Londoners are nowhere near to being the worst offenders when it comes to low productivity from home. Natives of Liverpool (59%), Newcastle (47%) and Nottingham (44%) confessed to working fewer hours, while nearly a fifth of people from Sheffield said they were doing nothing.

Just 0.6% of Londoners could say the same.

‘WFH’ comes top of the list of most-hated WFH phrases

It’s not all about productivity, however. In its research, instantprint also deep-dived into what British workers miss, enjoy and even detest about working from home. Looking at the phrases and things we’re now saying to each other, it’s almost ironic that WFH – a short way of saying working from home – is hated by nearly three in 10 of workers.

Even the sharing of good wishes is proving unpopular, with more than a fifth (22%) confirming they would rather not hear “hope you’re keeping safe”. On the flip side, instantprint’s research found that tech-related phrases are among the least-detested. Given that video calling is a big part of home working, 11% don’t mind hearing the phrase “let’s have a Teams/Zoom call”.

What’s distracting the capital’s home-workers?

One of the reasons it can be hard to be productive when working from home is the distractions that simply don’t exist in an office environment. And the instantprint research suggests we are more than happy to pin some of the blame on our pets. A of fifth of men (21%) and women (21%) admit to walking their dogs when they should be remote working.

But pets aren’t the only distraction. More than a third (37%) of those who were surveyed said that TV and video streaming was an unhealthy distraction, while almost a quarter admitted to literally sleeping on the job – taking a nap during working hours. And there was a broad range of other reasons why those who are working from home might not be sticking to the day job.

instantprint’s research supplies an intriguing insight into how workers are adapting to a brand-new work-life balance. It is clear that there are far more distractions at home than when in the office. But, at the same time, the split between those doing at least the same amount of work and those doing less is quite an even one.

So, it is not a foregone conclusion that workers are more likely to take liberties when working in the comfort of their own home. But it is something for employees to perhaps watch out for?

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