Coronavirus: Two in five work in an inappropriate home-working environment

A woman sits at her desk at home and works. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Two in five office staff are now working in an inappropriate home-working environment as a result of the coronavirus crisis, resorting to make-shift work stations at dining room tables, sofas, and beds.

Only one in four of 2,200 adults polled by the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) said they had a separate home office.

Half of respondents reported difficulties staying motivated and focused when working from home, and almost as many faced distractions.

READ MORE: Does working from home help the environment?

The report also said that working from home has caused a blurring of lines between work and personal life. Many find it difficult to switch off at the end of the day, or feel pressure to respond to calls or emails outside of working hours.

Almost a third said they wanted more support from their employer. This could involve providing office chairs, desks and screens. Almost as many wanted better IT support.

Chris Moriarty, of the IWFM said: “As lockdown measures begin to ease, Government and business attention is turning to the mammoth task of how, and when, to get employees across the UK safely back to work.

“Yet it would be naive to assume that ‘business as usual’ will look the same post-crisis, and many are considering the long-term implications of this national experiment in home working.

“Businesses looking to cut costs, or respond to increased employee demand for flexible working, need to also consider the implications to the nation’s productivity of allowing employees to work from home without investing in an adequate home-working environment.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Half of managers say workers are more productive at home

Despite this, more than two-thirds of business owners and managers alike believe remote working is “the future” for their organisations even after the coronavirus lockdown eases, a survey suggests.

In a survey of more than 1,000 UK office workers by Hoxby, a virtual agency and consultancy firm, also suggests managers have been pleasantly surprised by teams’ performance from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 52% of leaders said workers had even been more productive than in the office.