By now, most of the connected world has viewed the footage of the children bursting in on dad’s TV interview, mum skidding into view to frantically drag the runaway rascals back through the door. For those professionals that work regularly from home, the laughs will have been tempered with a pang of ‘could have been me’ realisation. Admittedly, not many will have experience of broadcasting live to the nation from the living room, but conference calls and video-conferencing are commonplace – and equally open to the embarrassment of interruption.
In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Regus amongst over 1500 UK professionals, the unintentional starring role of children figures highly amongst the main challenges to productivity when working from home.
When quizzed, 49% of UK professionals nominated children or family demanding attention as a major distraction, and 43% specifically mentioned children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls.
Away from the disruption of family – whether two-legged or four legged – other difficulties arise with the work-from-home set-up. 35% of respondents cited the problem of distraction from household noises such as door bells ringing or the rumble of the washing machine or dishwasher.
Technology drawbacks also affect productivity. Difficulty accessing office equipment such as the printer or copier is recognised as an issue for nearly a third of professionals (31%), and over a quarter (27%) still battle with a slow or unreliable internet connection.
Conversely, over half of respondents (58%) believe that working in a professional environment near to their home can increase productivity.
Richard Morris, UK CEO, Regus comments: “The notion of working flexibly is taking hold but it is still being confused with working from home. In truth, the two are somewhat different.
“Working flexibly involves working out of a professional space that is typically near to the employee and that is specifically geared towards convenience, comfort and productivity. Working from home might offer convenience but too often comfort and productivity take a back-seat.
“Employers are right to think flexibly in order to boost the wellbeing and productivity of employees. However, the strategy should be to look for workspace that is close to home but which gets professionals out of the house and away from all domestic distractions. Certainly, workers will welcome the odd day spent operating from the home environment but our study suggests that if this pattern becomes the norm, performance may suffer as a result.”