How People Get Distracted While Working From Home

Over the last few months, millions of Brits have gotten acquainted with the pleasures (and pains) of Working From Home. This is a style of work with plenty of advantages. It allows us to maintain a safe social distance, for one thing, and thus limit the spread of the virus. It also means we can cut down on the amount of time and money we spend commuting, which is good for environmental reasons.

Some of us thrive in a home working environment, achieving new heights of productivity. But some of us aren’t quite so prosperous. There are lots of distractions in the modern home, and therefore focussing on the task in hand can be tricky. Instantprint commissioned a survey into our behaviour while working from home, and the online printing company who specialise in business cards made some interesting discoveries. For one thing, the term ‘WFH’ is actually the most often-cited phrase when people are asked to identify terms that they hate the most, with 28.7% of the 501 people asked claiming to despise it.

But another interesting part of the survey concerned distractions. The surveyors asked participants which activities they did during work hours that they probably shouldn’t. But what were the most often-cited distractions?

Watching TV

The most popular response by far was ‘watch films/Netflix/TV’, at 36.7%. Nowadays, we all have access to premium entertainment at the touch of a button. But when we have other, more important things to do, the availability of this distracting media isn’t often a good thing!

Taking a Nap

24.8% of us decide that it’s fine to take a quick nap during work hours – which is something that hardly anyone would dream of doing when they’re not working from home. Given that we all tend to grant a little bit of leeway when it comes to email responsiveness during lockdown, it’s quite easy to get away with being away from the keyboard for thirty minutes or more, which is plenty of time for a brief siesta.

Household Chores

You might not think that household chores would be a particularly tempting form of distraction – but some of us just can’t bear to work in a cluttered environment. Plus, we understand that taking care of the chores in the daytime will free up leisure hours in the evening. 24.4% of us decide to do household chores while we’re working from home.

Gender Roles

There’s a significant gender gap when it comes to many means of distraction. Women are more likely than men to ‘cook or bake’ (10.9% compared to 6.9%). They’re far more likely to do household chores (that’s 31.4% compared to 17.9%), or to catch up with friends and family (13% compared to 9.2%). Where men hold a distinct advantage is in television-watching, with more than 40% electing to spend time in front of the screen, compared with 32.6% of women.

Age Breakdown

You might think that younger people would be more inclined to start watching Netflix – but it’s actually 25-44 year olds who are more likely to indulge in television. What younger people (that’s 18-24 year olds) are more likely to do is run errands, like visit the shops, or go outside for a walk – which might be explained by the fact that, since they don’t own homes themselves, they’re eager to get out of the house, and away from family members for a few minutes.

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