Home workers are skiving: working just six hours a day

Sarah Coles
Woman on bed with laptop
Woman on bed with laptop

Everything that office workers have long suspected about home workers is true. New research has revealed that employees who are allowed to work from home are taking the Mickey. They don't start work until 9.28 on average, and then put in a little more than six hours before taking the rest of the day off.

The survey, by TalkTalk, found that people working from home find all sorts of excuses to do something else instead. Apparently people find it difficult to get out of bed, and then they're distracted by the allure of TV. Some 18% take a break for TV and 27% go internet shopping during the day.

They fall into all sorts of bad habits to, with 21% of people refusing to get out of bed to work, 24% working in their pants, and 17% admitting to taking part in a conference call while sitting on the toilet.

Another issue is that with nobody watching over their shoulder, 55% of people say they are less productive.

The more people who work from home, the more productivity will be lost to these dangers, so it's alarming that more than 15 million people work from home for at least one day a week.

The flip side

The researchers aren't claiming that working from home is necessarily a bad thing, but that people need to make an effort to stay productive. They have been working with author of Time Management for Dummies, Clare Evans, to compile tips and life hacks to help boost productivity.

She suggests using the time you would usually commute to have a 'power hour' of exercise, breakfast, and personal admin. She then recommends having a dedicated work space to avoid distractions, and says you can even consider working from a local coffee shop if it helps you stay energised. Having said that, she doesn't recommend working non-stop, and says you should build in 'treat breaks' through the day to do things like play with your pets, so it keeps you motivated.

For those who work from home infrequently, this may be useful advice. People who are used to being tied to the office, tend to want to kick back when they have a bit more freedom, and are not used to the kind of motivation required to keep going all day without human interaction or a boss asking you how that report is going.


For those who work from home very regularly, however, the research and the advice don't ring true at all. Of course working from home doesn't mean being glued to your computer for eight hours. You need to pop to the fridge and the toilet occasionally for a start. However, working from the office doesn't mean intense work for the full eight hours either. Just because nobody is adding up how long you spend chatting to colleagues, making cups of tea, or popping out on a coffee run, it doesn't mean these things aren't going on.

However, if everyone who worked from home regularly short-changed their employer by a couple of hours every day. Would they really be allowed to work from home? Surely if the member of staff who works from home is dramatically less productive than those in the office, someone is going to spot it, and they'll be coming back into the office or be out on their ear.

In reality, most people find a balance, it's just not necessarily one that people in the office would recognise. Some people start at 9.28 and work through lunch. Others start on time and spend their lunch break watching TV. Others start at 6am and take a break for the school run. They put in the same amount of work, and are just as productive: they might just do that in their slippers or from the sofa.

But what do you think? Am I being too generous to those who work from home? Let us know in the comments.