Brits who work from home lose over two days a year through distractions from children, pets and friends popping round, according to new research.
A study of 2,000 office workers showed that despite the supposed benefits of working from home, one in four confessed they never get into ‘work-mode’ and lose track of tasks an average of four times a day.
Dealing with personal phone calls, watching TV and doing household chores were among the diversions when away from the office.
A spokesman for Furniture at Work*, which commissioned the study, said: “Having the option to work from home is an increasingly popular option for office-workers, and can be seen as a novelty.” But the amount of distractions can have a negative effect on productivity, particularly when working somewhere we associate with relaxing such as the bed or sofa.
“No matter where you prefer to work, it’s worth bearing in mind that the office environment – particularly the modernised offices of today – have been designed to get the most out of our skills.”
The research showed the average employed Brit works from home around five days a month, and spends 30 minutes each day being distracted – in addition to lunch time and breaks.
Two out of three admitted they don’t have a designated work space at home, with a fifth confessing they just set up a laptop from their bed.
Ten per cent admitted their makeshift workspace – often involving the bed and cushion set-up – causes them to be badly organised and ‘too relaxed’.
And while a quarter confessed they don’t get dressed on a work-from-home day, a carefree 16 per cent don’t even make it to the shower.
The average home-worker will spill five food or drink items over the course of a month, and delete up to ten important documents.
Temptation to get household chores done was named as the top distraction, while watching TV instead of working was also seen as a problem.
Over a fifth said playing with the dog or cat causes them to ignore doing work in a domestic space, with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter also proving hard to resist.
The doorbell brings more distractions, along with parcel deliveries and visits from unexpected guests.
While 12 per cent said answering PPI and personal calls on the home phone left items on on their to-do list un-ticked.
Standards can also slip in other areas – a quarter said they don’t get dressed when working from home, while one in 10 admitted to barely leaving the bed.
Only one in five said they have a real home office set up specifically for professional use.
Over 70 per cent said they found it hard to distinguish between working and relaxing when at home, with a similar percentage admitting they function better from a real office.
A spokesman said: “Specialist seating and a clear workspace are key for getting the most out of your work day.
“Rather than going home for a change of scene, thinking of ways to modernise your environment at the office means you will be less inclined to be distracted.”
TOP DISTRACTIONS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME
- Household chores
- Spilling food/drink
- Getting dressed
- Chatting online
- Unexpected guests
- Personal phone calls
- Social media
- Kids in the house
- Improper workspace
- PPI calls on home phone
- Balancing laptop
- Bad seating
- Bed/sofa too comfy