Around 59% of employees working from home (who do not live alone) leave their work aside to help other house members with different tasks.
This is only one of the distractions challenging employees who are working from home.
With the progression of the global pandemic as well as the increasing trend of companies allowing employees to work from home (WFH) permanently, it is interesting to see how employees are adapting to it.
We conducted a short survey* to find out what activities employees working from home get up to during working hours that they are not supposed to be doing. Do you think you are the only one doing other things during work? Read on to see what others get up to!
THE MOST INTERESTING SURVEY FINDINGS
- 61% of survey participants have been working remotely for over 12 months
- mobile phones are the biggest distraction for 56% of remote workers
- 34% spend over one hour watching Netflix during working hours
- 29% cook food for 30 minutes to an hour while working from home
- 26% spend 30 minutes to an hour doing house chores when WFH-ing
- 23% go offline from time to time when they are not supposed to
- 8% get high or drunk during working hours once a week
How Long Have They Been Working From Home For?
The COVID-19 pandemic broke out more than a year ago. It is not surprising that so many of the survey participants have been working from home for over 12 months – that is 61% of them!
We can also conclude that the work-from-home trend is still actively spreading, as more than 1 in 5 (22%) of the surveyed employees revealed they have been working from home for the last 6 months or less.
The WFH experiment has started way before, though. And with the arrival of computer and information technologies, it became stronger. Permanent work from home, part-time work from home, as well as other hybrid-work models including remote work have been emerging.
The Biggest Distractions When Working From Home
There is potentially an endless list of things that can distract us when we are working from home. Trying to set up a home office for productivity can be hard. Especially when you are tight on space that you can make your own and distraction-free.
We asked what the biggest distractions of working from home are, and here is what the participants have disclosed.
Mobile phones and social media are the main culprits for employees getting distracted. The majority of them have admitted that mobile phones (56%) and social media (44%) distract them the most when WFH-ing.
What about other distractions, you might ask? Well, over 39% of the surveyed participants also marked people they live with as a big distraction when working from home. After that, owners of furry friends also identified pets as a big distraction – i.e. over 27% of all participants.
Finally, more than 1 in 10 employees working from home (14%) who took the survey identified incoming calls as another distraction. Separating the work from private matters within your own home is a hard task. Discussing it with other house members and distancing yourself from things that distract you could help. For productivity, use the Pomodoro technique, working for 25 minutes then take short breaks between.
Social Media Use Unrelated To Work Purposes
Escaping social media in our everyday lives is hard and not something we are used to. Often, we consume it even during work. You might be working and then you decide to check your social media. Next thing you know, you’ve been scrolling for minutes.
We asked people who work from home how long they spend using social media unrelated to work purposes.
One in four (25%) stated they spend under 30 minutes using social media during working hours. Moreover, around one-third of the participants (30%) admitted they spend between half an hour and an hour using social media unrelated to work purposes. All while they are working from home.
Finally, over 28% of polled participants spend over an hour using social media during their working hours while working from home. On the other hand, 16% don’t use social media for purposes unrelated to work during their working hours.
Usage Of Social Media & Other Apps During Working Hours
The majority of the participants who took the survey use Facebook during working hours (65% of them). Following behind Facebook, Instagram is used by almost 52% of people working from home during working hours. Forty-eight percent of participants who took the survey admit they also use Youtube. Also, they use other social media: Twitter (24%), Snapchat (12%), and TikTok (14%).
Instant Messaging Apps
Besides the usual social media apps, employees can use many other apps to get stuff done or kill time and procrastinate. Our respondents identified instant messaging apps as their favorite, as 50% of them use those during working hours when they are not supposed to.
Shopping apps are also popular, with 41% of people using them during their working hours. Just over one in three (35%) also use gaming apps on their phones, laptops, and PCs while working from home. Twenty-nine percent of polled employees who work from home use educational apps when they are not supposed to, as well. Finally, 24% of employees use utility and 19% business apps.
55% Of Participants Watch Netflix When Not Supposed To
Netflix and other such providers allow us to watch our favorite shows, documentaries, series, and films any time we want. We have all binged it at one point in our lives or another, right?
Well, some people working from home also find time to watch Netflix and other providers during working hours. Forty-five percent of people working from their homes say they do not watch Netflix and other similar streaming providers during their working hours when they are not supposed to.
However, 34% also stated that they spend over an hour watching films and series on Netflix and/or other such streaming services. Under 10% watch it for under half an hour. Meanwhile, 10% spend between half an hour and one hour of their working day watching it when they are not supposed to.
15% Play Video Games For Over 1 Hour During Their Shifts
While 64% of all the participants state they do not play video games on their phones, laptops, PCs, or consoles, 36% of them do so when they are not supposed to.
The majority of the participants who play video games while working from home when they should be working are aged between 25 and 40 years. Out of them, 57% are female, while 43% are male.
Moreover, around 42% of the ones who play video games do so for between 30 minutes and one hour (15% of all the participants). An additional 42% of them do so for over 1 hour (15% of all the participants). Meanwhile, a small percentage of them play video games for less than 30 minutes (6% of all the participants).
How Long Do They Spend On Phone & Video Calls
Do you also have that family member or neighbor who does not understand that you actually work although it is from home? Instead, they call you and tell you about stuff that could definitely wait until you finish work? Well, you are not alone.
Over 31% of the participants spend under 30 minutes on the phone and video calls (unrelated to work) when they are supposed to be working. On the other hand, over 7% spend over an hour doing so. Meanwhile, over 12% spend between 30 minutes and one hour talking on their phone or on a video call, which is also unrelated to their work tasks.
Just over 49% of remote workers who participated in our survey say they don’t do phone and video calls when they are not supposed to during their working hours.
Going Offline When Not Supposed To
Remote workers are mostly bound to telecommuting, requiring them to be online on Skype, Slack, Zoom, and other platforms. One message after another, it might become hard to stay on track with everything happening. That is why we asked remote workers if they ever disconnect from these platforms and go offline when they are not supposed to.
Twenty-three percent of them answered that they do go offline by disconnecting from those platforms sometimes. On the other hand, only 6% of them do that every day. Meanwhile, 71% of remote workers who participated in the survey never do that.
Is Working From Home A Time To Snooze?
Sitting in front of a screen, staying up late, waking up too early? Your eyes, body, and brains might need a rest! But have they ever needed it so desperately that you just decided to nap or accidentally did so during working hours?
If yes, let me make it easier on your conscience. You are not the only one!
How Long Is Nap Time?
While over 6 in 10 of our survey participants (67%) never nap during working hours when they are not supposed to while working from home, there are still some that do it. Most of the people who nap when working from the comfort of their homes (and possibly beds) do so for 30 minutes to one hour (18%).
Ten percent take a snooze for under 30 minutes, while only 5% sleep for over an hour when working from home during working hours when they are not supposed to.
WFH & Personal Hygiene
Some wake up too late to shower before work. Some just like to do so in the middle of the day to refresh. But how much time do workers from home spend on showering or taking a bath during their working hours when they are not supposed to?
Forty-two percent of workers who took the survey do shower or take a bath when they are not supposed to during their working hours. Just over 29% of them make it quicker than 30 minutes. On the other hand, around 9% take more than half an hour and less than a whole hour to shower or bath. Some seem to like showering for longer periods during their working hours (i.e. around 5% of them).
We do hope the other 57% who don’t shower or take a bath during working hours do it sometime after their shift or before they start their daily WFH adventure.
Cooking While Working From Home
To be able to work, we need fuel to keep us energized. Our bodies need food and drink not just for physical, but also for mental health. To feed the body and mind, some cook or eat prepared food during working hours. Perhaps even treat themselves to takeaway meals from time to time.
Thirty-three percent of the survey participants responded they do not cook during working hours while they work from home. However, another 33% spend under 30 minutes cooking food during working hours.
Twenty-nine percent of employees who work remotely spend more than 30 minutes but less than an hour cooking during their shift.
Finally, under 5% cook for longer than an hour while they are supposed to be working from their homes.
35% of Pet Parents Walk Their Dogs Every Day During The Shift
Out of all of our respondents, over 65% were dog parents. We asked them if they walk their furry friends during working hours when they are not supposed to. Here is what they told us:
The majority of them (59%) do not walk their dogs when they are working from home. However, 30% walk their dog every day during working hours while working from their homes. On the other hand, over 11% walk their dog sometimes when they should be working.
35% Go Shopping & 30% Grab A Drink Or Coffee From Outside
Change of scenery is needed, as well as getting some fresh air after being stuck inside working. Especially after staring at that screen for so long.
Out of the 33% of survey participants who go shopping when they are not supposed to during their working hours, 27% do so sometimes. The rest, i.e. 6%, do so every day. The rest, 67%, do not go shopping when they are supposed to be working from home.
Besides shopping, some also like to go outside to get a coffee or a drink. Just under 32% of the remote workers who took the survey admit they go outside to get a drink. Out of them, only 5% do so every day, while the rest only do it from time to time.
77% Do House Chores During Working Hours
Hoovering, cleaning, loading, and unloading the dishwasher, washing the dishes, dusting, laundry, and more. An endless list of things awaiting you once your shift is done?
It wouldn’t hurt to scratch just a few of these off your list during your shift, would it?
Well, many people seem to be doing it. Out of all the people who took the survey, 77% admit they do house chores while they are supposed to be working from home.
One-third (34%) spend under 30 minutes on house chores when they are not supposed to be doing it while working from home. Twenty-six percent of them need even more time, spending between 30 minutes and an hour doing house chores when they are actually meant to be working.
Finally, just under 17% of them need over one hour to clean their home while they are working from their homes.
Parents Who Work From Home
The majority of the survey-takers (58%) are parents. Children demand attention during all hours of the day, especially the ones younger in age. It comes as no surprise that almost half of the ones who do have children tend to them at least sometimes or even every day.
Around 31% of all the parents who work remotely take care of their children during working hours every day. On the other hand, over 13% of them tend to their children sometimes. Meanwhile, 56% of them do not help their kids with homeschooling, feeding, playtime, and more during their working hours while working from their homes.
Are you interested in the percentage of mums and dads who tend to their children while working remotely? Out of the parents who are remote workers and tend to their children sometimes or every day, 29% are male. On the other hand, 71% are female. Out of those mums, three quarters (75%) tend to their children every day.
37% Of Remote Workers Work Out Or Train During Their Shift
Working out, training, and any kind of exercise can help workers get energy and take a small break after long hours of work. Perhaps they spend too much time sitting down or standing up. Physical activity is very much welcome in that case.
Out of the 32% who say they work out, exercise, or train during working hours, 15% do so for less than 30 minutes during their working time. Meanwhile, 17% of them take more than half an hour to train during working hours when they are not supposed to.
Working While Other House Members Are Around
Eighty-eight percent of the employees working from home do not live alone. Moreover, many identified other house members as their biggest distraction while working from home.
Around 59% of the survey participants who do not live alone say they leave their work aside to help other house members with different tasks when they are supposed to be working. They do so at least from time to time.
Having People Over At Their House
Thirty-four percent of surveyed remote workers have people over at their house, such as family and friends while they are supposed to be working.
Out of those, just 31% have someone over from time to time. Meanwhile, 3% have someone over every day during their working hours while working from their home.
As there are no colleagues to spend time with like in the office, having someone over can act as a substitute for that.
11% Get High Or Drunk During Their Working Hours
We asked remote workers if they ever get high or drunk during their working hours when they are supposed to be working. While over 86% of them said they never do it, some do it once a week or every other day. However, 3% preferred not to answer.
Just under 8% of the survey participants disclosed that they get high or drunk once a week. They do so during their working hours while they work from home. Another 3% of them stated they do so every other day.
Listening To Music & Playing Instruments
Forty-five percent of all the participants say they listen to music or play instruments from time to time. They do so during their shift while they are working from home. On the other hand, 30% of them do so every day.
Working from home means that music won’t bother any colleagues. At the same time, it might uplift the mood during long days of being stuck inside.
*How Did We Conduct The Survey?
The online survey was conducted from 26 May to 28 June 2021 with 670 participants from around the globe. The majority of the respondents (66%) were female and the average age was between 25 and 40 years old. They have been practicing working from home for the following industries: computer and information technology (20%), media and publishing (12%), customer service (6%), sales (6%), education and training (6%), administrative work (5%), accounting and finance (9%), fashion (1.5%), entertainment (1.5%) and other (24%).
In conclusion to this survey, we can say that employees working from home feel more at freedom than they would in an office. However, many research studies also show that employees tend to work even more from home. Both could be the result of feeling relaxed in a homely environment. Finally, work from home is a growing trend so remote workers will be adapting in the future, as well.