Wisemetry Research: 37% of employees working in a mixed work setup – remotely and at the office – say they work more hours when working remotely

The study, which was carried out by Wisemetry Research between October 30th and November 4th 2020 aimed to highlight the challenges caused by the mobility restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the SARS-COV-2 virus. The study touched on topics such as the organisation of remote work, care and education of children and gender imbalance in household chores and supervision of online schooling, mechanisms people adopted to cope with isolation or habits that people wish to adopt or keep for the following 12 months.

The study is mainly addressed to those companies that wish to promote a healthy work environment for their employees and improve their mental well-being, as well as develop an efficient system for remote work management which supports a healthy work-life balance.

What do the data say?

People say they work more when they work from home

37% of the respondents who experienced both working from the office and telework say they work more hours when working from home. 35% noticed no pattern or work the same in either setups, while 28% think they work more hours when they are physically present in the office.

The main reasons for the extended work hours when working remotely are:

  • More work-related issues that require assistance – 47%
  • Wanting to prove that they can work just as efficiently or even more so while working remotely – 42%
  • Would rather not break their rhythm/ concentration, so they just take fewer breaks – 38%
  • Repeated interruptions caused by family members or due to household activities – 30%

Interestingly, women are more likely to work more hours than men when working from home. Moreover, among those that interrupt their work to do household chores 78% are women and only 22% are men.

Interruptions throughout the day may impact actual time allotted for work by fragmenting the focus, or could create the feeling that more work was performed due to increased mental exhaustion and an accelerated work rhythm/ effort during the day.

As opposed to working from the office, remote work encourages creative thinking, yet for some workers it might foster anxiety or negatively impact communication flows among co-workers.

Over a third of respondents consider themselves to be more creative when working from home, while one in four consider that it is the office environment that fosters creativity. Additionally, working from home seems to encourage several healthy lifestyle choices, such as having lunch or doing some form of sports/ exercise.

On the other hand, 31% of employees experience feelings of anxiety more frequently when working from home, compared to the 25% who feel anxious when working from the office.

Most agree that working from the office improves communication among colleagues: over 50% of the respondents relate with their team members better when working from the office, while more than a third believe they lose their grip on what other team members do while working from home.

Remote work has advantages and drawbacks: it may increase work related satisfaction, but at the same time people might struggle with feelings of alienation due to the lack of physical interaction with others, or experience difficulty in separating their personal and professional lives.

“Employees list flexibility and being able to adjust their work schedule to meet their own needs and responsibilities/ personal circumstances among the benefits of remote work; this sense of freedom may increase work-related satisfaction. Social exchange theory states that a satisfied employee will be more efficient and will work harder to prove their utility. The fact that 42% of the employees interviewed try to prove that they are efficient when working from home is a hint that they wish to continue working in this setup in the future, yet the increase in working hours is a warning sign for the HR departments, that should carefully monitor employees’ wellbeing during this time and set up online team building sessions to improve team cohesion. We shouldn’t ignore the atypical conditions that accelerated the adoption of telework; the share of those who stated that they have been working harder out of fear of losing their jobs should not be overlooked – 8%. Moreover, the data clearly show that housework disproportionately falls on the shoulders of women, who struggle to balance work tasks and household responsibilities on the daily.” stated Tania Chilin, sociologist, and consultant for Wisemetry Research.

The study was carried out online, on a sample of 1000 respondents, of whom 592 were actively employed and experimented both working from the office and from home in the 12 months prior to being interviewed. The sample is representative for the Romanian population of Internet users with regards to gender, age, and regions. The maximum sampling error is ±3.1%.

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