December 3, 2014
When I worked for a large publishing house in the 90s, occasionally one of us would ask to work from home. My then editor always had an enlightened policy towards the home-working concept, telling people that she didn’t care if they worked in their pyjamas as long as they met their deadline. In the digital era, home working is a lot more accepted, and according to a new survey, working in your pyjamas is still in vogue, though the 10 per cent of people who admit to working naked must have huge heating bills. The study by Altodigital reflects the usual trade-off associated with flexible working, with 40 per cent of homeworkers claiming their productivity more than doubles, but motivation has a limited scope; peaking at just four hours a day, before it trails off. I’d argue that exactly the same thing happens in the office. Just because people are perceived to be ‘at work’ it’s assumed they are working.
The study, which questioned 1,000 UK employees, also found that maintaining a professional dress code also seems to create an issue for some, with one-in-ten admitting to having at some point worked naked while fielding client and colleague phone calls.
A slightly more modest 35 per cent preferred to stay in their dressing gown or pyjamas while working and, interestingly, men are twice more likely than women to dress in smarter ‘office wear’.
Although the survey says a ‘staggering’ 41 per cent of respondents admitted to regularly skiving off when WFH, (Working From Home) I’d say they were the honest ones, though maybe it’s really not good practice by the 6 per cent that reveal that they have skived off 100 per cent of a working day. The top distractions were watching TV (24%), household chores (27%) and playing with children (26%), with 1-in-20 of respondents confessing to having a relaxing bath and even taking a nap while ‘on-the-clock’.
Where employers should really take note is in the contribution technology makes to productivity levels, with one-in-five facing server connectivity issues, slow internet (40%) and an inability to connect to a printer (11%) while WFH, showing that many business still don’t have the appropriate technologies in place to cater for effective homeworking.
Reassuringly the research also revealed the very real benefits of WFH, including helping to support employee’s family commitments (23%), workers benefitting from improved concentration (20%) and saving on travel costs (15%).
Tony Burnett, Group Sales Director at Altodigital comments: “Over the past few years we have seen a clear trend in businesses looking to implement effective WFH policies for their staff and though the many benefits are undeniable, firms must work sensibly to ensure they are getting the most out of their employees when they are working away from the office.
“In order for WFH to work successfully, firms must have a clear and concise WFH policy in place which sets measureable and specific goals for their employees. This should be supported by an appropriate IT infrastructure that makes it easy for employees to connect to the server, print and access their relevant documents and feedback their progress to the rest of the team quickly and easily.”