How Working From Home Has Changed Our Work Habits

 


The pandemic forced many of us to work from our homes. That meant changing work habits, in many instances incorporating parts of home life into workdays. A new report says many people prefer it than to going into the office.

"A majority want to keep working from home, all or most of the time if they have a choice after the pandemic," said Juliana Horowitz, who co-authored the report for Pew Research.

Even with home life's interruptions, many workers say they enjoy the flexibility it offers them.

"I always have people coming into my office distracting me at work," said Jacob Howe. "I just have different distractions now, my kids instead of my co-workers."

Howe is a mechanical engineer who has been working from home since March. Despite the occasional interruptions, he says he is in no hurry for things to change.

"I put my headphones on and turn them up and then I don't hear most things," said Howe. "I don't think we'll ever go back to the requirement of being at the office all the time."

Howe isn't alone. The Pew Research report found people of all backgrounds want to have the option to stay home.

"Across income levels, and racial and ethic groups, and really across the board, a majority who have jobs that can be done from home say they would like to work from home," said Horowitz.

Not everyone has enjoyed the transition. The report found 10% of people said they never want to work from home again.

"Parents in particular say it's hard to work without interruption," said Horowitz. "Parents are more likely to say that it's now harder to balance work and family than it was before."

The report found that younger workers say they had less motivation to work because of the pandemic. Forty-two percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 said they had experienced this, but only 20% of workers 50 and older did.

"Young workers, younger than 30, were most likely to say it was hard for them to be motivated to do their work," said Horowitz.

The report also addressed a few common concerns about working from home. One of those was the notion people are too tired to carry on with virtual meetings.

"We'd been reading and hearing of this notion some people call 'Zoom fatigue,'" said Horowitz. "We did not find that."

The authors found 81% of workers use video conferencing systems like Zoom or Webex some of the time. Sixty-three percent of those workers say they are fine with the amount of time spent on video calls.

Horowitz says she isn't sure how employers will feel about more employees working from home, but that many people want it to happen.

"It was a relatively smooth transition," said Horowitz.

Sixty percent of respondents said this was their first time working from home. Across all ages, the report found that even after the pandemic ends more people will try to stay home, that includes Howe.

"I can see when this is all over doing three days in the office and two days at home," said Howe.

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