Is this procrastination or healthy variety?
Viking – Work from home is the new normal, but what are we really doing at home during office hours? Are we spending the whole day sitting in front of our screens minus a couple of coffee breaks or are we finding a bit more freedom at home? [Viking/Office Depot] found out for you.
Viking collaborated with Searchlab on a small-scale study that surveyed 122 employees about their activities while working from home. And what did they find? Outside of typical work tasks, household chores top the list. For example, more than half of the respondents (56%) took care of full laundry baskets during office hours and more than a third (36%) cleaned their houses. Shopping is also in the top three, at about 33 per cent.
The results, however, prompt a key question: what should we think about this? Is it good to interrupt your work regularly or is that actually just procrastination? Opinions on productivity while working from home vary widely, as do the results from studies. Advocates of working from home cite the impossibility of focussing for eight hours straight. Our brains need occasional downtime. Opponents of working from home fear that not everyone has enough discipline to stay productive whilst working outside of the office. That’s something most of us can understand.
A change in perspective
It’s clear that working-from-home productivity is under dispute. For us at Viking, however, we find the ergonomic aspect of working from home particularly interesting. From an ergonomic perspective, breaking up your workday is extremely helpful. Sitting on an office chair all day can have quite an impact on your posture. Movement and variety are the magic words for a healthy working position. From that perspective, interruptions for shopping and full laundry baskets can be good.
Feelings of guilt
Sometimes, we hear that employees feel guilty for vacuuming or doing the wash while they’re at home. It feels to them like study-shirking behaviour, but the reality is that their guilt is unnecessary. Slowly, we’re seeing more and more employers realize that eight hours of intense concentration (which is often the expectation in the office) isn’t actually feasible. It’s good to clear your head and move a bit between tasks.
Additionally, we’re increasingly seeing that practical working hours are no longer set in stone. Spending an hour with your laptop in the evening because you had a long lunch in the city during the afternoon is no longer a problem for many employers. This, in turn, makes office work more flexible, airier and healthier.
All this makes us welcome the trend towards alternating tasks. When you are at your desk, meanwhile, think about maintaining a good working posture! Most home workers forget to do this. You read all about it in our earlier blog “We work in the office as the King and at home as Quasimodo”.