Home workers experience fewer distractions, finds study

  • Cold callers on the phone is the number one distraction for home workers
  • Office based workers experience three times as many disturbances per day
  • 34% of home workers said they were able to ignore distractions at home

Home workers have always claimed to be more productive than office based workers – even though Managers often have concerns that they won’t work as effectively.

However, new research has identified that home working provides a more productive environment than office working, because workers are less likely to be interrupted.

A survey of 1,135 UK workers, made up of both home workers and office workers, carried out by CartridgePeople.com, and published in the How to ‘Win’ at Home Working’ Report, revealed that home workers experience three times fewer disturbances and distractions during their working day than their office based counterparts.

In fact, as many as 1 in 3 (33%) office based workers admitted that they experience an average of 10 or more distractions during their working day.

Whilst some bosses imagine that employees working from home will be distracted by daytime TV, the data found that cold callers were the number one distraction for home workers (56%), closely followed by deliveries (54%), both of which can happen in the office, too.

45% confessed that their partner often distracted them by trying to talk to them when working from home, but despite this, more than a third (34%) of home workers said they were able to ignore such distractions.

More than a quarter (27%) said that even with such disturbances they still felt they were more productive than when they work from the office.


Andrew Davies, spokesperson for CartridgePeople.com, commented:

“There is a common misconception that offices are a more productive working environment.


“It’s clear that distractions in the office are a bit of an issue for many workers. Employers looking to reduce this problem could provide their workers with opportunities to occasionally work from home – particularly when working on complex projects requiring a lot of concentration; and if this isn’t an option they could create quiet spaces or breakout areas for staff to use to focus on their work, away from distractions.”


Commenting on the study, absence management expert Adrian Lewis, who allows staff to work flexibly if needed, said:

“It doesn’t surprise me that staff working from home are productive – that’s been my experience in practice, too.  However, getting it right takes a little planning and good HR practices.


“For example, it’s important to set clear productivity guidelines and SMART objectives, so staff know what is expected of them, whether they work from home or at an external location – and employers need to think how achievements will be measured.  Employers also need to maintain regular contact with the employee, and make sure that they are not excluded from company newsletters and are invited to company events, as they should still be part of the team.  They should also be notified of any changes to HR policies or the staff company handbook, even if they work remotely on a permanent basis.


“We can’t do anything about external distractions while staff work from home, but it is equally important that we don’t interrupt employees when they AREN’T working from home, and are on holiday or off sick.    Thankfully, the absence management module of our HR software, Activ People HR, gives us clear visibility of who is working, where, when and how.  It’s far easier to allow people to work from home if you have good HR systems in place and follow best practice.”

Author: Editorial Team

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