Booze, Netflix and shopping all in a day’s work
Cheeky Aussies have been taking advantage of working from home, with more than a third watching TV on company time and one in 10 admitting to getting on the drink.
Exclusive figures from Dynata revealed a quarter of more than 1000 surveyed Australians were also knocking off early and 41 per cent were going shopping or running errands.
While some companies downloaded monitoring software on to workers' computers to keep an eye on their progress, others encouraged staff to embrace their new-found flexibility.
Software companies WorkTime and Hubstaff both reported significant increases in demand for their employee monitoring products since COVID-19 forced many employees to work from home.
WorkTime chief executive Kirill Nesterenko reported a 300 per cent jump in inquiries from Australian businesses specifically.
Meanwhile, Hubstaff marketing director Courtney Cavey said they had 347 Australian customers plus more in the trial phase.
"We've seen a huge increase in sign-ups from Australia since March due to the surge in the need for remote work tools," she said.
SoftActivity founder and chief executive Yuri Martsinovsky said his employee monitoring software was used by 75 Australian businesses, tracking logins and logoffs and time spent on different websites, as well as taking regular screenshots so managers could see exactly what an employee was working on.
"Normally an employee has to agree to being monitored," he said.
"Although there is an option to monitor their work computers silently."
However, most Australians believed they were just as productive whether working from home or the office.
A Dynata report found almost 40 per cent considered themselves more productive while a third reported levels remained the same.
Inventium chief maker and productivity expert Dr Amantha Imber said a worker's decision to watch TV or pop to the shops on work time was only an issue if it affected their ability to achieve their goals.
"It's incredibly old-fashioned for managers to focus on hours rather than output," she said.
"All managers need to focus on is making sure staff have clear goals and expectations so if they can meet that in four hours of their day then spend the other four hours watching Netflix, in theory there is no problem with that."
Schiavello Group People & Culture Consulting behavioural data analyst Samantha Smith agreed taking breaks throughout the work day did not necessarily lead to reduced productivity.
"We need to remember primarily working from home is about trust and empowering employees to do the right thing," she said.
"Even if you are taking time out of your day to watch TV or do a load of washing or walk the dog, I don't see that as a negative.
"If the work isn't being jeopardised in any way, there isn't any reason we can't manage our day as we see fit."
HOW COVID-19 IS CHANGING PERSPECTIVES
Shuey Shujab, chief executive and founder of full service marketing firm Whitehat Agency, found his staff were actually more productive while working from home.
He had installed monitoring software to the computers of his 42 employees after COVID-19 hit as he expected the opposite - but deleted it soon after.
"They said 'We don't care it's on there but do you not trust us to do the work?' (so) we then removed it," he said.
"And you know what, they were more productive, 100 per cent.
"We are now back at the office and the productivity has gone down.
"I don't know what it is so I am now thinking of ways to get the best of both worlds - maybe everyone can work from home on a Friday.
"I was always against working from home but COVID-19 has changed my mind."
KRISTIE SHARES HER TOP WFH ADVICE
Rise Consulting head of marketing Kristie Taylor has been working from home since the end of March but avoids distraction and procrastination during the day to stop work time encroaching on family time in the evening.
"I one hundred per cent do not watch TV (during work hours)," the Coogee resident said.
"I have to be efficient because I like to have the hard start and end times."
Miss Taylor, whose employer was already flexible before the pandemic with policies such as unlimited annual leave, shared her top tips and tricks for working productively from home:
1. Plan ahead and structure your day as though you are going into the office
"I write to-do lists for core projects and tasks and have daily chats at the beginning and end of the day with team members," she said.
2. Have a morning routine and get dressed and put makeup on
"That helps with my mindset because I associate that with going to work. I am not in my pyjamas," she said.
3. Have a designated workspace
"I have a specific space I go to work in my house that is comfortable and is set up correctly," she said.
4. Connect with colleagues
"Because I am not seeing them face to face, I enjoy checking in with them over Zoom or over the phone," she said.
5. Have regular breaks
"I go out to my balcony for five minutes, then at lunch time I try to go to the park opposite my house and walk around or sit and enjoy the sunshine," she said.
6. Set hard start and end times for your working day
"I suggest being quite strict on that. I log in about 8.30am and finish at 5pm," she said.
"People are saying they are working longer hours, mainly because there is no commute."
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Originally published as Booze, Netflix, shopping all in a day's work