Survey: Work-from-home Hurting Employees’ Productivity


Dike Onwuamaeze
The latest edition of the Lagos Workforce Productivity Report (LWPR) which studied experiences of employees working from home has revealed that 58 per cent of its respondents stated that they were less productive working from home.

The report which was carried out by the MusterPoint WorkSpace Solution (MWS) stated that, “most respondents (58 percent) are convinced of not being as productive as possible working from home.

“It probably goes without saying that employees will certainly be more productive when they have access to more comfortable workspaces rather than just a ‘dedicated workspace.’”
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the MWS, Mr. Tunde McIver, explained that the survey showed that irregular work schedule hindered employees’ productivity adding that only an inconsequential proportion of the respondents, 18 percent, were able to categorically affirm to keeping a regular daily work schedule.

McIver, noted that lack of a regular work schedule was one of the reasons that productivity suffered.
He said: “Seventy-five percent of the respondents have no work schedule,” while only, “31 per cent of the respondents identified keeping to their work schedules on ‘most days’ despite the several challenges working from home.”

Another reason that accounted for low productivity among those working from home, according to the survey, was the non-availability of appropriate working place in several homes.

He said: “Employees have become very creative in these trying times, creating workspaces around their beds and on their dining tables. Only 58 percent of the respondents answered in affirmation of having a dedicated workspace while 42 percent resorted to any available space to carry out their assigned responsibilities.

“The effect of an uncomfortable workspace cannot be over emphasised as it will most certainly have a negative ripple effect on the productivity of the respondents.”
The survey further stated that domestic distraction was the major downside of people working from home with interference from family members taking the lead.

It added that, “since many residential accommodations in Lagos did not make provision for home office, the lines between home office space and living space has been blurred giving room for distractions.”

However, the survey observed that working from home does not necessarily meant that employees were doing less work as the opposite might be the case, particularly for diligent employees. “Working from home makes one end up working round the clock with no end in sight thus, burning out from lack of adequate rest. Sixteen percent of the responses gathered from the survey said the lack of distinction of work hours has been a major downside for them working from home. Employees complained of lack of physical collaboration (14 percent) and lack of physical human contact (9 percent) as the downside of working from home.”

Other downsides, as indicated by respondents, included long work hours (12 percent); inappropriate work environment (12 percent); reduced productivity (nine percent) and loneliness/mental health issues (seven percent) as the downside of working from home.
Yet, working from home has its advantages as 21 percent and 16 percent of the respondent identified zero commute time and having quality time with family, especially for married workers, as the highest benefits of working from home.

“Without a doubt, the amount of time wasted on the road while going and returning from work has been eliminated giving employees more time to be productive while also reducing the stress associated with long commute time.
“Interestingly, 16 per cent of the respondent identified the opportunity to spend quality time with family as the second-highest benefit of working from home.

“Sixty Six percent of the married respondents identified with this benefit. This has led to having more exercise sessions, with 45 percent of the married household actively involved in yoga and exercises, which can be said to easily encourage family bonding.

“Working from home, as shown in the survey, also boosted the productivity of staff that loved to work without supervision. “Furthermore, not every employee performs optimally under strict supervision or micro-management and about 15 percent of employees are excited about the opportunity that working from home has provided for them to work independently. Some employees cherish this opportunity and are able to deliver their tasks on time without a supervisor breathing down their neck,” the survey said.