Office workers who have been forced to work from home during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown have found themselves developing a number of new habits in their extra free time.
These include sleeping more (40%), spending more time with their families (33%), taking more breaks (20%), and setting more boundaries with their employers (10%), according to a new survey of 2,000 office workers by Hammonds Furniture.
|Habits developed by office workers during lockdown||Percentage|
|Waking up later||40%|
|Spending more time with family||30%|
|Working fewer hours||23%|
|Taking more breaks||20%|
|Taking more time on lunch||18%|
|Spending more time outside||17%|
|Feeling less stressed||17%|
|Setting more boundaries with work||10%|
|Habits office workers intend to keep after lockdown ends||Percentage|
|Spending more time with family||20%|
|Spending more time outside||19%|
|Waking up later||11%|
|Taking more breaks||8%|
|Taking more time on lunch||8%|
|Working fewer hours||7%|
|Feeling less stressed||7%|
|Setting more boundaries with work||7%|
In April 2020, statistics released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed 49.2% of adults in employment were working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is compared to before the pandemic hit, when only 30% of workers had ever worked from home, even for a small amount of time.
This new normal has brought benefits to many, six in ten (62%) claim to enjoy working from home more than from the office, with only one in ten claiming to ‘dislike’ home working (11%) and just three in 100 claiming to ‘hate’ it (3%).
However, younger people are seemingly missing the camaraderie of the office. One in ten office workers aged 18-24 ‘hate’ working from home, and one in five claims to ‘much prefer working from the office’. However, three in four millennials aged 25-34 (75%) ‘much prefer working from home’, as well as 63% of those aged 35 to 44-years old 57% of those aged 45 to 54-years old and 65% of those aged 55 to 64-years old.
As well as new habits, almost six in ten workers (57%) believe they are more productive when working from home, even with added distractions like childcare. Fewer than one in five (18%) believe they are less productive while at home, and a quarter of people (24%) see no difference in productivity whether at home or in the office.
It looks like many will be able to keep up the new habits, as over one in four office workers (26%) now believe they will be working from home indefinitely. Only 14% believe they will be going back to the office full time, with just under half (49%) predicting a mix of home and office working (49%). Just under one in ten (9%) are still unsure of what the future will hold for them.
Carl Cross, 34, HR Administrator from Manchester, has been working from home for the first time since lockdown began and has been told by his company that this will be continuing full time until at least 2021.
He said, “At first, I struggled with working from home. Some of the systems on my computer didn’t work very well on my laptop, and I found it hard to get into a routine. But after my laptop was sorted and I started to get used to my front room as an office, I started to really enjoy working from home.
“Instead of pre-packaged, processed meal deals, I’m eating freshly cooked meals for dinner. I’ve started exercising more, going for a run in the morning when I would have been on my commute. I get my work done during my working hours, with fewer distractions than in the office, and I’ve found myself with more free time when I’m not working.
“It would be nice to see my colleagues face-to-face for a catch-up, but other than that I feel perfectly happy working from home for the foreseeable future.”
Kirsty Oakes, Head of Displays and Marketing at Hammonds Furniture added, “Working from home came as a bit of a shock to all of us at first. Trying to fit an office space into our homes was difficult for some, and managing a family, a home, and a job all in one place took a lot of getting used to.
“It’s so great to see how people have adapted and even thrived in less than ideal circumstances. Hopefully, business leaders can now see that working from home is the best option for many different people and can adapt a flexible plan where the preference of the employees is taken into consideration.”