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Pets, kids bug people who work at home
[December 21, 2012]

Pets, kids bug people who work at home

Dec 22, 2012 (The Manila Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Working from home may not be that productive after all.

Children, pets and domestic problems could distract people holding "offices" at home, according to a survey.

"Working from home can clearly affect your concentration and productivity," said Filippo Sarti, chief executive officer of Regus Asia. "But more worrying still is the fact that one in five of our respondents complain their posture is affected by improvised own office arrangements in the home," he said.

Bad posture can result in serious health problems such as repetitive strain injury for the individual--and lost time and productivity for the employer.

"The survey highlights that home-working may not provide a suitable professional environment and may well damage your health," Sarti said.

While working from home might sound like a popular and practical option for Filipino workers wanting to cut commutes and improve their personal lives, the reality is somewhat different with nearly three quarters of those surveyed by Regus saying that they're regularly put off by their kids or family demanding attention.

"Employees are naturally keen to benefit from flexible working practices, so they can avoid lengthy commutes and work the hours that suit them, in order to improve their work-life balance," Sarti said.

"But these findings suggest that a professional environment close to home is preferable to actual home-working, so as to avoid strain on families, to project a professional image and to improve overall productivity." And that's not the only thing getting in the way: bad posture as a result of working at makeshift home offices (affecting one in five workers) could lead to serious health problems later on.

Poor Internet connections, no access to office equipment and even having to deal with pets are also said to be disrupting home-workers' productivity levels.

Key findings and statistics These are some of the key findings of a global survey by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces, based on interviews of over 24,000 business people from over 90 countries.

For Filipino workers, the three biggest issues when working from home are: children or family demanding attention with 73 percent; slow or unreliable Internet connection, 53 percent; and difficulty concentrating on work issues, 50 percent.

The study also showed that there are also important health related issues; 21 percent complain of bad posture at home due to their unsuitable home office arrangements. Good posture is critical to ensuring that workers do not suffer repetitive strain injury and permanent damage; and lack of a proper work surface is also a problem for a third of respondents or 32 percent.

Altogether, 15 different issues were identified as obstacles to productively working from home.

"Working from home is becoming increasingly popular but as more people experience it many are also discovering the downsides. Personal life needs to adapt to the professional activities that are taking place and that's not always easy," Sarti said.

In addition to the survey findings, there are reports of home-workers feeling lonely, alienated and cut off from colleagues. It seems that office "face-time" also plays an important role in helping workers secure promotions, with employees that work from home being overlooked even in firms that actively encourage staff to work from home at least occasionally.

Over 24,000 business respondents from over 90 countries were interviewed in September 2012.

___ (c)2012 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines) Visit The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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