Working 9ish to 5ish: UK embraces 6-hour 'work from home in your pyjamas' days

Man in BathroomThe research was inspired by the moment when a member of the family that features in the TalkTalk TV ads answers a work call from home in the bathroom.

Millions of Brits will today shun the office in favour of working from home in a bid to combat the onset of winter and commuter woes.

According to a new study from TalkTalk, the lure of bed, working in pyjamas and being able to play with our pets when we get bored or distracted is leading more Brits to work from home – with Monday, Wednesday, Friday being the days when most UK workers will swap their desk for the kitchen table. Almost half (47%) of those surveyed said that the pursuit of a better work life balance was one of the reasons they chose to work from home.

For around half of us, being out of the office leads to an increase in productivity, however the new research reveals that we don't always live up to our best intentions.

On average the working-from-home day begins at 9.28am but we clock off shortly after 4pm – a meagre 6hrs 14min of work, the equivalent of 80% of the typical work day. Workers admit that the remaining time is spent doing chores, browsing the internet, sneakily catching up on a favourite boxset or TV show, or entertaining our four-legged friends.

Some workers have even managed to squeeze in afternoon naps, gym workouts and spray tans while supposedly working from home.

Dress down Fridays

Being in a relaxed environment has also led to a relaxed approach to work tasks. Over a fifth of Brits working from home do so from their bed. One in ten fail to get dressed and spend the day in pyjamas. A fifth even go so far as to stay in just their underwear all day, with those working in legal and financial services the most likely to do so.

Social norms also appear to go out of the window. 17% of Brits have picked up a work call or participated in a conference call while on the toilet. While a further 13% have gone so far as to flush mid-conversation.

Mastering the art of productivity

To help get the most of the working day, TalkTalk has partnered with productivity expert and author of Time Management for Dummies, Clare Evans to compile tips and life hacks to help boost productivity.

"Although it may seem that some home workers cut corners, the beauty of flexible working is that it allows us to fit work around the things in your life that matter – whether that's spending more time with the family or sneaking off for a spray tan," said Evans. "Everyone works in different ways and if you're more productive doing your spreadsheets between the bed sheets, that's fine."

"By creating structure and staying focused, you can get more done in six hours working from home than eight hours with colleagues - a theory being explored by Sweden with the new 6 hour working day format."

Working from home guide

1. Start your day with a power hour

Getting out for a morning walk or run can boost your energy, get the endorphins going and ensure you hit the ground running and work productively for the rest of the day. Use the first hour of the day and the time you've saved commuting, to get your exercise in, have a good breakfast or reply to personal emails before you start.

2. Have a designated work area

It'll help you switch to work mode and make it easier to resist distractions.

3. Treat yourself

Breaking up the working day with rewards and breaks, like play time with the kids, TV viewing or pet cuddle time, will help incentivise you to get tasks out the way while boosting your mood and motivation.

4. Get out of the house

Relocate your 'office' to the coffee shop down the road if you need a little bit of human interaction to stop you going stir crazy.

5. Real people, real lives

The study into our working from home habits was inspired by insight from a real family which allowed their home to be rigged with unmanned cameras, filming non-stop for two weeks. The footage, which captures the charming, heated, poignant and silly moments that make up the fabric of family life, now feature in TalkTalk's advertising.
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