While working from home might sound like a popular and practical option for Middle Eastern workers wanting to cut commuting and spend more time on their personal lives, the reality is somewhat different. According to a global survey by Regus, provider of flexible workplaces, nearly half of respondents say that they’re regularly put off by their kids or family demanding attention.
And that’s not the only thing getting in the way: bad posture as a result of working at makeshift home offices (affecting more than one in ten workers) could lead to serious health problems later on. Poor internet connections, no access to office equipment and even having to deal with pets are also said to be disrupting home-workers’ productivity levels, reveal the findings.
“Working from home can clearly affect your concentration and productivity,” says Joanne Bushell, VP for Middle East and Africa, Regus. “Employees are naturally keen to benefit from flexible working practices, so they can avoid lengthy commutes, and work the hours that suit them, in order to improve their work-life balance. But these findings suggest that a professional environment close to home is preferable to actual home-working, so as to avoid strain on families, to project a professional image, and to improve overall productivity.”
For Middle Eastern workers, the three biggest issues when working from home include, difficulty concentrating on work issues (55 per cent), children or family demanding attention (49 per cent) and children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls (37 per cent).
There are also important health related issues - 12 per cent complain of bad posture at home due to their unsuitable home office arrangements – good posture is critical to ensuring that workers do not suffer repetitive strain injury and permanent damage.
Slow or unreliable internet connection is also a problem for a quarter of respondents (25 per cent). Altogether, 15 different issues were identified as being obstacles to productively working from home.
“Working from home is becoming increasingly popular but as more people experience it, many are also discovering the downsides. Personal life needs to adapt to the professional activities that are taking place and that’s not always easy. In addition to our survey findings, there are reports of home-workers feeling lonely, alienated and cut off from colleagues. It seems that office ‘face-time’ also plays an important role in helping workers secure promotions, with employees that work from home being overlooked even in firms that actively encourage staff to work from home at least occasionally.
“But more worrying still is the fact that more than one in ten of our respondents complain that their posture is affected by improvised own office arrangements in the home. Bad posture can result in serious health problems such as repetitive strain injury for the individual – and lost time and productivity for the employer. The survey highlights that home-working may not provide a suitable professional environment and may well damage your health,” added Bushell.