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The four things that prevent home-based staff from working

Printerland.co.uk research has unveiled the four things most likely to prevent home-based staff from working – and you may have suspected them all along.
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There have been some bizarre excuses from employees wanting to miss a day in the office, but what about those that don’t have to make the trek to work? They’re also prone to “taking the day off”. As such, here are four specific things that prevent home-based staff from working.

Excuses for skiving work will always be more colourful when you’re expected at the office. This was highlighted by CareerBuilder back in 2014. It surveyed 3,000 employees and 2,000 bosses to find these gems: “I just put a casserole in the oven”, “My uniform was set on fire by drying it in the microwave” and “I didn’t realise I brought a child’s train ticket and got caught by the transport police”.

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These were allegedly real excuses. But what about staff working from home? Much of the flexible working debate revolves around whether staff are actually doing their jobs – they don’t need excuses to skive. But if anything were to prevent home-based staff from working, Printerland.co.uk suggested, it would be these four particular things – and they come as no surprise. 

1) The call of the internet 

A TalkTalk survey claimed 27 per cent of flexible workers were prone to online shopping. The need to make use of the internet was further highlighted by the Captor Group. While its statistics come from 2005, the situation seems to have stayed the same. 

It said one in three staff spent 14 days a year just browsing the internet or using a mobile phone instead of working. Some eight per cent even claimed they “shopped” and used Facebook for what amounted to 14 weeks a year. The reason? They were bored, though 30 per cent suggested browsing was a consolation prize for working long hours.

2) Who wants to work when the TV is within reach 

This find was backed up by Citrix. While some home workers decided to sleep in, the TV was most likely to draw them from their beds like a siren call. Some 43 per cent claimed they skipped work to watch soaps or recorded movies.

It seems TV series will hook your staff whether they’re working from home or not though – some 47 per cent confessed in April 2016 they planned to call in sick to watch the season launch of Game of Thrones.

3) Playing video games may not be so bad after all 

That same Citrix survey suggested 20 per cent of staff gave way to boredom and played video games, with Fifa topping the list. While the number seems to have decreased, video games shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a bad thing – of course that all depends on how long they’re playing for. In fact, a 2013 study claimed real-time strategy games improved a person’s decision-making skills.

It’s even been advocated by several bosses as a means of keeping staff productive – in the office as well. The BBC cited one William Bauer, head of Royce Leather, as admitting to having gaming sessions in order to unwind. “It reawakens me,” he said.

4) Ditching the home office to spend time with family 

Printerland.co.uk emphasised that getting out of the house to do something with family and friends wasn’t rare among home workers. Research in 2015 even gave light that one in ten felt “stir crazy” being cooped up in the house – but there will only ever be one cure to this “problem”.

Work-life balance should never be looked down upon as there are only benefits to be had from boosting staff time with family. The University of North Carolina’s Barbara Fredrickson researched the topic, and found 21 per cent of those with a good work-life balance would worked harder than those without. She explained that it also reduced absenteeism and turnover.

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Shané Schutte

Shané Schutte is a senior reporter at Real Business, with a particular specialism in employment and business law, human resources, information technology and sales/marketing.

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