Fewer meetings and fractured days – how people are adjusting to working from home

Over half of UK employees are working different hours than they used to, with many spreading work out over a longer period as they adapt to working from home. Those are two of the findings from a new report from Asana, which looks at how British, American, Japanese, Australian and German employees have adapted to remote working. The UK findings are based on 1,016 respondents working full-time and, due to the pandemic, remotely.

According to the Anatomy of Work: Remote Teams report, one month into the lockdown, the UK working day has completely transformed with many workers embracing homeschooling, new working hours, fewer meetings and more breaks.

Only 41 percent of UK employees are working the same hours since remote working – as the traditional 9 to 5 becomes a thing of the past. Additionally, over half (57 percent) say they’re taking more breaks and 36 percent are having fewer meetings.  30 percent say they are starting their working day earlier, 27 percent are working later in the evening and 24 percent are working while juggling other priorities such as childcare.

In fact, 85 percent of UK employees with school-age children are balancing homeschooling with work – the highest across all surveyed countries. 16 percent of these parents are starting work later, 32 percent are starting work earlier, 41 percent are blocking out time over lunch to be with their family and 25 percent finishing work earlier and then working into the evening. Nearly four in five (79 percent) say this situation is significantly impacting their work and 77 percent admit to finding it hard to switch off in the evenings.

The research also unveiled that when the remote work instruction came in, the majority of British workers weren’t set up to do so. 67 percent did not have at least one of the following: a desk to work from, PC/laptop or a reliable internet connection. While 31 percent say they are working from a desk, the majority (35 percent) are working predominantly from a dining/kitchen table; 20 percent from their sofa and 5 percent work from their bed!

A key way many employees and businesses have facilitated better connections with teams and an easier, more transparent way of working is through the adoption of work technologies. Since working from home nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of full-time workers have increased their use of collaboration tools and one in five (19 percent) are using these tools for the first time.

The study also revealed the biggest distractions and challenges from enforced remote working are self-discipline (45 percent), stress about the current health and/or economic situation (36 percent) and “feeling like I can’t switch off” (23 percent). And in typical British fashion, how to deal with this? More than a third (34 percent) say they’re taking more tea breaks.

Image by Pete Linforth