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Employees Report Increased Distractions, Irregular Work Hours When Working From Home

  • A recent survey finds that about eight in 10 workers use their smartphone for personal use during work hours, and fall victim to numerous other distractions as well
  • Respondents say distractions are a key factor in disrupting their workflow, forcing them to work irregular hours
  • Few want permanent work from home arrangements, but favor an office/home mix

Employees who have found themselves working from home due to COVID-19 have enjoyed aspects such as flexibility and a lack of commute, and many companies are saying they will continue to offer a remote work option after the pandemic. However, a recent survey finds that few workers have escaped distraction during this work arrangement, and that most are eager to return to working outside the home at least some of the time.

SellCell, an online marketplace for cell phones and tablets, surveyed more than 2,000 remote workers in June. A total of 83.2 percent admitted to personal use of their phone during work hours, with 61.6 percent saying social media platforms were a major distraction. Many respondents also admitted that activities such as binge watching TV, playing with their children, or gaming disrupted their workflow.

Seven in 10 respondents said they weren’t able to maintain normal work hours with a remote arrangement, with 72.4 percent blaming heavy phone use for their irregular workday. A total of 67.7 percent blamed technical issues, while others said they had to catch up later in the day after they slept in, completed household chores, or otherwise were distracted from their work.

A majority of respondents also said remote work had adversely impacted their sleep habits, diet, or exercise routine. Fifty-five percent said their workload had increased, with just over half reporting more stress.

Only 23 percent said they wanted to continue a permanent work from home arrangement after the pandemic. Thirty-two percent wanted to return to an office environment, while 45 percent said they would prefer a mix in work arrangements.

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