Survey finds most remote employees are not really ‘working’

Be honest: If you’re working from home, there are probably times when you find yourself doing the dishes or laundry, running after your kids, or even watching a little television when you should be working. 

And, you would not be alone. 

Gallop found that nearly 60% of Americans worked remotely at some point during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, it is estimated that nearly 25% of Americans will be working remotely in 2021 and beyond. 

If we are not careful, the added freedom we have working remotely can spur on some bad working habits if we don’t keep ourselves in check

Are remote employees actually working?

According to Joblist, more than 12% of work-from-home employees do not have a dedicated workspace, which can increase distractions during the workday. 

In fact, almost everybody surveyed by Joblist admitted to doing things like cooking, laundry, watching television, playing with their kids or pets, and online shopping during working hours. A large majority also acknowledged that taking frequent 20-minute breaks is fine. 

And, let’s not forget about those little white lies that a lot of us tell our boss. 

For instance, almost half admitted to using the line “I’m working on that right now” when they actually weren’t. 

Further, 40% lied about having “Internet access issues” as a way of avoiding a meeting. And, more than a third said they routinely fake paying attention during calls or conferences while working remotely. 

These statistics underline the importance of how employers help their staff work effectively from home. For instance, Zoom Fatigue is a real thing. Keep meetings to a minimum.

And while monitoring software can make some workers feel untrusted, this technology could keep staff more honest and around their computers longer during the workday.   

Is working from home more productive?

Some studies have shown a nearly 50% boost in productivity when we work from home but only when we make an effort to ensure a healthy and productive working environment at home. 

For instance, having a reliable Internet connection is a vital aspect of working from home. The better your connection, the more productive and dependable you will seem. 

Also, a dedicated workspace will make a big difference. 

The best rooms to work from at home are those without distractions and feel not only comfortable but look and act like an actual office. 

Your sofa might work for a while. Or, maybe your dining room table or throwing up a folding table next to the TV. But, our work environment has an impact on how productive we are during the day. If we feel like our home office was hastily put together, or is only temporary, or has too many distractions, then chances are we are not as productive during the day as we could be.

You get extra credit if you put up sound dampening material on the walls or choose a room with carpeting to help reduce echo when you’re on a conference call.

Pro tip: Every now and then, try working from a coffee shop. Believe it or not, it can boost your productivity almost instantly. 

And, set boundaries with your family. During working hours, your focus and concentration should be on work, not playing with your pets, running errands, or doing the laundry. Ensure that your family knows your working hours and how to properly respect those hours. 

Again, a separate office with a closing door can help you to physically establish the boundaries that you need. Using the kitchen table or sofa provides very little distinction between you – as a parent or spouse, and you as a professional responsible for getting your job done.