Working from home has downsides - survey

By Gill South

New Zealanders business executives said a challenge of working from home were children, family or pets disturbing work phone calls. Photo / Thinkstock
New Zealanders business executives said a challenge of working from home were children, family or pets disturbing work phone calls. Photo / Thinkstock

Working from home might sound like a dream come true for many New Zealand workers wanting to cut commutes and spend more time on their personal interests, but over half of respondents in a new Regus study say they are regularly put off by their kids or family demanding attention.

Participating in the global survey, New Zealand business executives said other challenges they found when working from home were children, family or pets disturbing work phone calls.

They also experienced difficulties of accessing office equipment. A slow or unreliable internet connection was another problem for 33 per cent of respondents and not being able to access company documents was a hindrance for 27 per cent.

"Working from home is becoming increasingly popular but as more people experience it, many are also discovering the downsides," says John Henderson, Asia Pacific Director, of global serviced office company, Regus.

"Having to adapt your personal space to accommodate professional activities is not always easy, and maintaining the right mind-set for work while balancing family demands has been flagged by many New Zealanders as the main obstacle to working from home," he says.

Teleworking is a fast growing global trend, and is leading to the rise of the "Third Place", spaces in which people work that are neither the home of the office. In Europe, for example, this year Regus has rolled out a series of partnerships creating drop-in business spaces at railway stations and petrol forecourts with organisations such as SNCF in France, Dutch National Railways, Swiss Railways and Shell.

"While employees are naturally keen to benefit from flexible working practices, so they can avoid lengthy commutes, and employers see the cost benefits of telework - home workers also often feel lonely, alienated and cut off from colleagues," says Henderson.

Business can help avoid this by providing workers access to appropriate physical touchdown workspaces outside the home to help them feel connected to the world of work, he says. This way they can avoid strain on families and maintain a professional image as well as improving overall productivity.

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