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Home Working – Communication Habits

office computer
05 July 2021 | Updated 06 July 2021

One-in-five UK workers now have their work instant messaging app on their personal mobile phone, according to new research from by B2B furniture  e-commerce site  Furniture At Work.

The research, which asked 1,015 UK workers about their routine and habits when working from home, sought to uncover how attitudes to work had changed since the pandemic began, including the times when most workers are likely to take breaks and the measures they use to ensure their employer knows they’re working.

With workers now being out of sight from their employers, 51 per cent said they’ve started replying to messages faster to remind colleagues they’re working, 47 per cent have been checking in regularly with calls and emails and 49 per cent now sending emails either early in the morning or late at night.

Working from home paranoia is also reflected in the use of work instant messenger services, as 29 per cent of people said they make an effort to ensure Teams never goes onto an away status. 20 per cent workers have even downloaded Teams onto their phone – helping them keep in touch even when they’re on the toilet or out for lunch.

This adds to the findings of research by The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development that showed 77 per cent of employers have observed presenteeism in employees who are working from home in the last year. Presenteeism, is the act of continuing to work when unwell, and it's highlight an "always on" work culture, says the CIPD.


Productivity Paranoia


The survey also highlighted how some of this paranoia could be fuelled by workers changing work patterns at home. It was discovered that 10-11am every day is the most common time for workers in the UK to step away from their work and take a break, with 22 per cent doing this, equating to nearly 7,000,000 workers taking a break at that time.

When it comes to productivity, Monday is the day when workers are most likely to feel productive, with 24 per cent saying this is the day when they get the most work done. This is in comparison to the least productive day, Friday, which 36 per cent of UK workers said was their least productive day. However, this could be set to change with future generations – on average those aged 16-24 picked Wednesday as their most productive day, with 22 per cent saying Monday was actually their least productive day.


Flexible Working Arrangements and Adaptation


A Spokesperson from Furniture At Work commented on the findings:

“Working from home may have made it harder for employers to keep in touch with their staff, but we’ve also seen workers finding it a struggle to ensure their employers know they’re working hard. The fact that so many are extending their working days, responding to messages faster, and even downloading work instant messenger services onto their phones shows that working from home paranoia could really be a thing.

“It’s important for employers to understand the changes in people’s working patterns and act to reassure their staff that they see the hard work that’s being put in. Flexible working is now the future of work, and with one-in-nine workers still not feeling like they’re trusted by their employer to complete their set hours in a week, it could be damaging the morale and mental health of the workforce.”

We recently reported on a British tech start-up has launched a new app where employees and companies can find flexible office spaces nearer to where they live in more than 350 locations. 


Picture: a desk with laptop and smartphone held in focus.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 05 July 2021


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