Remote workers fess up to these bad habits

Surfing the web, shopping online, perusing social media and binge-watching Netflix are some of the distractions of telecommuting, Plugable finds in a WFH survey.

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Image: nathaphat

More than one year after the first cases of COVID-19, many companies continue to operate remotely. While some organizations have started to bring employees back to the traditional in-person office space others have made long-term commitments to telecommuting. As a result, many homes and apartments serve as both living spaces and offices. A new survey takes a look at some of the advantages of remote work, the social implications for couples, telecommuting "bad habits" and more.

SEE: Working from home: The future of business is remote (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Working from home: How to get remote right (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

WFH perks and bad habits

Overall, the results are based on a Plugable survey conducted from Jan. 21 to Jan. 22 involving 2,000 US adult respondents. A portion of the findings delves into the various reported benefits of telecommuting and the bad habits enabled by this environment. The top reported perks of remote work included the lack of a daily commute, the option to "wear whatever you choose," flexibility (errands, medical visits, etc.), and the ability to wash clothes and cook during the workday.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

On the flip side, respondents made note of some of the bad habits remote work enables. For example, 37% of respondents said they browse the internet or peruse social media on the clock and 34% said they shop online during work hours. One-third said they binge-watch Netflix shows and about one-quarter (26%) "leave home for non-essential trips" such as "shopping nail/hair appointments" during work hours.

Workspaces and IT issues

With the shift to remote work, many people have festooned improvised home office spaces with varying degrees of success. The survey found that one-third (34%) of respondents lacked a "productive space for work." Perhaps this is why 59% of telecommuters "typically spend their time working somewhere other than a home office," per Plugable. One-third of respondents (33%) reported technical issues such as the internet cutting out.

SEE: The future of work: Tools and strategies for the digital workplace (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

About half of respondents are working remotely with a spouse or partner and this dynamic presents both benefits and disadvantages, according to Plugable. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said their partner/spouse distracts them, and 64% said working with their significant other causes them to feel less productive and have difficulty focusing.

However, there are reported positives to note for coworking couples. More than three-quarters of respondents said working alongside a spouse or partner has improved their relationship and 81% said they "communicate more often."

Among Americans working remotely, approximately half would prefer to telecommute in the long-term although 42% predict a return to the traditional office in the spring or summer of this year, according to Plugable.

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