UK’s ‘lockdown office workers’ get physical while working from home

May 4, 2020
  • Staff working from home say they use additional non-working time to undertake physical activities including home workouts, dog walking and having more sex!
  • Productivity has decreased in lock down – but creativity is on the rise
  • 63% miss daily interactions with colleagues – with one in five building new relationships via Zoom

With the UK about to enter another week of lockdown, a new nationwide study has revealed that us Brits are choosing to spend our free-time when working from home on physical activities – with one in ten admitting to having more sex during the workday week.

The survey of 1,000 office workers* who are now working from home, was commissioned by build-to-rent neighbourhood operator Get Living, to understand how people’s work/life balance has been impacted since lockdown.

Almost a third of people questioned said that they’re using the additional time not commuting (the average Brit spends 68 working days commuting annually) to get the blood pumping by working-out (18%), walking/dog walking (16%) and one in ten are having sex (10%).

Other preferred uses for this extra time include getting some extra sleep (12%) and cleaning the house (8%) – with just 5% using this time to get extra work in.

In an earlier survey conducted in January by Get Living – before the UK’s Coronavirus outbreak – 49% of people believed working from home would improve their productivity, with only 32% surveyed during lockdown believing it actually has.

Around 53% stated increased distractions such as children, pets, partners has had a negative impact on their working day, with many (38%) struggling to find the perfect work/home balance.

Pre-lockdown, workers believed working from home more often would reduce stress (33%). However, with many now juggling work and family life, on top of the anxieties of a global pandemic, 64% believe their stress levels remain the same or have worsened.

Despite staring at the same four walls for weeks, respondents felt their creativity has increased since working from home permanently (33%) and more than two thirds (67%) feel as connected, if not more, to their colleagues during lockdown than they did when together in the office, with many using online platforms such as Zoom to maintain regular contact. Though 60% of workers crave daily ‘water cooler interactions’ and nearly a third miss face-to-face meetings the most.

April’s survey revealed that clearly designated home working space is important, with almost half of home workers creating their own working area in their homes and in the anticipation that working from home will become the new norm 21% have invested in buying new furniture. Just one in five Brits admit to working from their bed and sofa.

When it comes to physical appearance, 38% admit that they’ve since put less effort into how they look – even on video calls – and 30% are working in their pajamas, with 16% saying they often wake up just minutes before the first call of the day.

Unsurprisingly for a nation which spends around £920 a year on snacks when in the office, 28% of us are snacking more at home since being on lock down.

All in all, 63% would still want homeworking in some capacity once lock down is over – a contrast to Get Living’s January survey which saw just 30% asking for home working from their employers, suggesting that they can fulfil their roles remotely and appreciating some of the perks.

Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods at Get Living, comments: “Whether we like it or not, we are now a nation of homeworkers and our survey shows that despite these being uncertain times, we are resilient in our ability to adapt to this new working environment.

“This global experiment in homeworking will no doubt change the way we live and work forever and highlights what we really need to be able to work well at home. Not all of us will have the benefit of having a spare room to convert into an office, but a productive work environment is key; shared work spaces, like we have in our resident club rooms, which allow people to work closer to home, will become more sought after.

“When choosing a place to live, local amenities which support a positive work/life balance – green spaces, gyms, cafes and restaurants, as well as grocery stores – will play an even more important role as we think about what we really need on our doorstep.

“This time has also highlighted the power of neighbourhoods and strength of community. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen neighbours pulling together to help one another and witnessed some special moments, like balcony opera performances. As a team, Get Living has been working hard to support residents, from making personal calls to check in with our more than 3,000 residents and hosting virtual social events to keep them entertained and connected.”

To help ensure its residents maintain a healthy work/life balance while at home, Get Living has launched online community events, offering weekly pub quizzes and arts & crafts workshops. It has also partnered with independent retailers and businesses to provide ‘Live Sessions’ including cookery classes, workouts and guitar lessons.

Get Living offers fully-furnished homes for rent across London at East Village E20, Stratford (Zone 2/3) and Elephant Central, Elephant and Castle (Zone 1) and New Maker Yards in Salford, Manchester with no deposits**. Victory Plaza in East Village offers 1.5 and 2.5 bedroom apartments for extra space for a work-from-home office.


*Survey of 1,000 UK office workers conducted by 3Gem Research in April 2020.
**Subject to referencing

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