Most people spend up to ten hours cleaning each week, but did you know that six in ten Brits admit to cleaning up between work tasks? In fact, more people clean on a Monday than any other day of the week, with 81% participants saying they tidy on a Monday, based on a survey of 1,000 people.
Our data also encapsulates the difference between those who primarily work in an office vs those who primarily work from home. Among the latter, 48% say they do some cleaning during their lunch break.
For many of us, the additional flexibility of our jobs enable us to do some basic cleaning tasks throughout the day.
However, Elissa Thursfield, Consultant Solicitor in the employment law team at Richard Nelson LLP shares that it’s important to check your contract and have an open discussion with the company:
“If an employee has been approved to work either on a hybrid, remote or at home basis this does not necessarily mean they can work flexibly in terms of their hours. It is purely an agreement for their work location to be changed.
“Where the contract of employment specifies set working hours, and if an employee is not completing them due to undertaking personal tasks, this could be classed as very serious misconduct that in some cases could result in dismissal.
“It would be unfair to penalise an employee when you haven’t set out your expectations and the rules you expect employees to follow when working from home.
“Employers should determine what the boundaries are and where there is flexibility, particularly if they are going to start enforcing consequences.”
On whether an employee can be forced to work from the office surrounding concerns of productivity, Elissa added:
“This should never be done without a process. An employer should get to the bottom of what has happened, and ensure they are fully apprised of all the facts before coming to a decision.
“We would always suggest caution before dismissing someone. If they are completing all their work to an acceptable standard and are using excess time to complete personal tasks, employers should always consider how reasonable the decision to take action is in the circumstances.
“If an employee does not have the contractual right to work from home, the employer could revert the employee back to the office, however it is always advisable to build in review periods when such decisions are made, and if the employee is able to rebuild trust, keep the decision under consideration.”
Nancy Emery, cleaning expert at kitchen and bathroom retailer, Tap Warehouse, said, “While remote working, it’s too easy to think about everything you need to get done around the house, but cleaning while working can certainly be a topic of debate.
“Some would argue that breaking away from work can disrupt the flow of tasks, and provide too much of a distraction, while others would say short breaks provide a mental reset and can increase productivity.
“The key here is to get the balance right, and to avoid getting too carried away with the housework, going from a quick blitz to a full reorganisation of all the kitchen cupboards!
“The popular Pomodoro time management technique actually encourages a five-minute break every 25 minutes; during this time you could certainly vacuum a room or two, wash a few dishes or empty the dishwasher. Just make sure to put a timer on so you don’t get swept up in what you’re doing, and what still needs to be done.”