Office workers waste more hours than remote employees

Recent research from Reboot found that office-based employees waste more time during the day than those who work from home or in a hybrid setting

One in three employees searched for new jobs in January 2023 due to the rising demand for work-from-home opportunities, new data discloses. 

Although remote opportunities are predicted to continue to rise by 25%, many bosses are concerned about employees' productivity when they’re not in a company office.

Increased flexibility is often paired with the assumption that more employees have more time to waste, yet new research from Reboot shares that this is not the case. Those who work from home were found to waste an average of 2.5 hours each week, compared to office-based workers who wasted almost double the amount of time – 4.26 hours. 

The survey was based on 5,265 people. 

What industries are the most and least productive when working from home?

The greatest productivity disparity came for those in public services and administration roles, where employees were found to waste 10+ hours in the office compared to only three hours at home.

Those in retail, sales, PR and advertising roles all wasted nine hours in the office while wasting five (retail) or three (sales, PR and advertising) while working remotely.

In contrast, employees in the environment and agriculture, law enforcement and security, and sport and tourism sectors were found to be more efficient in the office, wasting five hours at home and three hours in both a hybrid and office setting.

Property, construction and social care were found to be the least productive when working from a hybrid set-up, wasting five hours, compared to only wasting three hours when working from both the office and remotely. 

Why do employees tend to waste more time in the office?

The average US employee received 56 distractions a day while at work. Although the distraction itself can be a contributing factor to wasting time, the employee then also needs to take time to refocus. Zippa states that this alone can cost employees two hours of their day. 

Emails have been shown to be another big distraction, with some employees checking their inboxes 36 times an hour, receiving 304 emails each week.

How flexible working and working from home promotes gender equality  

A LinkedIn study that included more than 2,000 workers and 500 hiring managers found that 21% of women feel that the lack of flexible working is negatively impacting their careers, resulting in 25% taking a career break. 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the workforce has seen a huge influx of requests for remote work. Now, 80% of employers say they offer greater flexibility, with 73% believing employees are largely satisfied and 78% thinking it’s enough to balance work and personal commitments.

Richa Gupta, Chief Human Resource Officer at G-P (Globalization Partners), says: “Remote working brings all kinds of benefits with it, but perhaps the biggest of all is the flexibility it provides. While remote work environments are valuable to both men and women alike, there’s growing evidence to suggest it’s intrinsically more meaningful to women. For instance, a recent study found that 68% of women prefer to work remotely post-pandemic compared to 57% of men.

“Flexibility plays a critical part in closing gender gaps and empowering women to advance their careers. Flexible work environments can also help to reduce gender inequality by enabling working mothers to stay in the labour market longer, which is why it must be a baseline for companies aspiring to build women up.”


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