Survey: Remote workers admit to slacking off (and worse)

Can you resist the temptations and distractions available when working from home? Staying productive in the relatively unsupervised environment of your home office takes discipline. You have your household projects nearby, your family at home, and easy access to all your entertainment devices.

With many more people teleworking right now, it seems that many are struggling to give their full attention to their work. In a recent survey, just 30 per cent of employees say that they are more productive when they work from home, compared with the 45 per cent who say they get more done in an office. The remaining quarter (24 per cent) say they can be just as productive whether they are working at the office or at home.

So, what is keeping us from reaching full productivity at the home office? With the internet, video chatting platforms, smartphones, and more – shouldn’t it be just about the same as working on site?

Well, a separate study found that eight in 10 workers admit to slacking off during the workday while they are supposed to be working from home due to COVID-19.

The greatest distractions continue to be technology. The biggest time-waster for respondents (61.6 per cent) was social media. However, smartphones and binge-watching tie for a close second at 53.7 per cent. Nearly half of the participants (44 per cent) admit to streaming movies or television series at the same time as they are working.

Slightly less distracting than our devices – but nonetheless taking a toll on productivity – are our families. Survey participants are distracted from work by their kids (33.8 per cent), pets (18.1 per cent) or partner (16 per cent).

Other workday activities that distract remote employees

    – Working out (35 per cent)
    – Gaming (33.5 per cent)
    – Household chores (31.5 per cent)
    – Snacking (27 per cent)
    – Connecting with friends (20.2 per cent)
    – Online shopping (17 per cent)

More alarmingly, 43.2 per cent admit to visiting adult websites on their work laptops. I say ‘alarmingly’ not because I’m judging their choice of content, it’s just that this can be a fireable offense. Viewing explicit content can violate technology use policies, and most companies do monitor employee behaviour on company-owned devices. (See: Your boss is probably watching every move you make – in your own home).

So, if you enjoy working from home, stay productive. This is your opportunity to prove to your employer that a flexible and remote arrangement can be successful. Here are our top tips for staying productive while working from home.

And here is how you can keep your kids busy and actually get work done during the pandemic.

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