Working from home has quickly become normalised in UK industries, as the swiftness with which companies were able to institute remote working accommodations during the coronavirus pandemic revealed its true viability. Reports and studies suggest that working from home can work wonders for employee satisfaction and retention, and in some cases even improve productivity.
However, working from home also introduces new challenges, in the form of distractions. The home working environment is unavoidably different to the office, and presents a variety of ways in which you the worker might get pulled from your flow. But what are the most common distractions when working from home, and how might you combat them?
The Most Common Remote-Working Distractions
Social media is a perennial distraction for workers of any stripe, with our phones providing instant access to engaging content and the small dopamine hits they inspire. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are evergreen distraction platforms, allowing instant communication and engagement with bite-sized information dumps.
Meanwhile, short-form content platforms like TikTok continue to thrive – with TikTok boasting over 9 million active users in the UK alone. As other social media platforms jump on the short-form video revolution, digestible distractions from the drudgery of everyday tasks are becoming all the more ubiquitous.
Family and Friends
But not all social distractions present themselves from the digital sphere. Indeed, working from home can introduce new challenges in the form of your co-habitants; engaging with other members of your household can be hugely distracting from your tasks-at-hand.
The urge to procrastinate can come on especially strong when your mug is empty; all too often, you may find yourself in the middle of your fourth tea-and-biscuits round of the day instead of knee-deep in your upcoming presentation.
Of course, one of the biggest distractions you’ll face at home comes in the form of your best furry friends. When working in offices, we grow accustomed to leaving our pets behind for the working day – but in a remote working scenario, we find ourselves sharing more time with our pets than ever before.
A report by no-win-no-fee solicitors National Accident Helpline revealed the extent to which our pets can be distracting; according to the data, a mere 13% of pet owners claimed to be able to fully concentrate on their work without being side-tracked by their pets. Further to that, 82% of adults between 45 and 54 reported being consistently distracted by their pets – serious statistics, indicating a little-addressed issue with a big impact on productivity.
Overcoming Distractions at Home
There are many ways in which the home worker can become distracted – but there are also ways in which you can mitigate the impact of these new distractions, and help to sharpen your focus on your day-to-day work. For starters, a common mistake made by workers at home is to stay dressed in comfy clothing such as pyjamas. Getting dressed, even into relatively casual wear, can help shift your mindset from one of relaxation to one of focus.
Working in a dedicated office space will also help you rediscover your focus, while enabling you to effectively ‘banish’ distractions in the form or pets, housemates or family members. You can also ‘banish’ your phone from your working space, to eliminate the likelihood of losing an hour to scrolling on TikTok.