It’s strange to think that, just a year ago, working from home was a practice that only a handful of privileged workers were able to indulge in. It’s taken an unprecedented pandemic to force the hand of hesitant business leaders, and to propel millions of home workers into the wonderful world of telecommuting.
Some workers have found tremendous benefits to working from home; others have found themselves longing for a return to the office. A recent survey from instantprint, an online printing company specialising in premium business cards, has shed further light on this divide and helped us to understand how Britain’s workers really feel about working from home.
2,000 Brits took part in the survey – and, sure enough, they were polarised on their enjoyment of home-working. 34% reported a positive experience, claiming that they hoped they’d never have to go back to the way things were before. 34% were a little less keen, saying that they’d at least like to go back into the office part-time.
Among the biggest advantages for those who enjoyed home-working was that it allowed them to be more flexible with their daily schedules, and to fit in leisure activities and breaks whenever the fancy took them. Flexibility was cited by 23% of respondents. Being able to accommodate personal errands was something that 15% of respondents cited; a balance between professional and personal life is something that just about everyone’s looking for, and home-working, it seems, can help us to achieve it.
Not everyone is so thrilled with working-from-home, however. 11% of those surveyed claimed that they found the home environment too distracting for them to be really productive. Among the most common sources of distraction were children (28%) and pets (20%). The establishment of boundaries and dedicated workspaces in the home might help to alleviate these issues. 44% of those surveyed claimed to work from the living room, while 20% and 17% worked from the bedroom or kitchen. Just 17% had a permanent office space.
The study identified Belfast as the best city for home-workers, thanks to a combination of reliably fast internet and low living costs. These advantages can also be a source of distraction, however; residents were more likely than average to report a fall in productivity. At the other end of the spectrum is Bristol, where 29% of residents report that they’ve actually been more productive in lockdown.
The authors of the study had a number of recommendations to make; distractions must be eliminated; routines must be established and stuck to; and positive mind-sets must be forged. They also recommend daily mindfulness practice, which can help home workers to become more aware of the thoughts and feelings they’re experiencing – which during a pandemic can easily run out of control!