Where’s the slack in remote working?

Hipster resting with legs on desk in office


And no, I don’t mean Slack, the comms tool.

Not that long ago, if you said you were working from home there would be a few raised eyebrows. The implication was always that you weren’t going to be doing much work at home.

Right now a large proportion of workers are working from home. And I bet a lot of them will be required to show they are online for the entirety of their daily working hours.

That’s a problem. Because in the office there is quite a bit of slack in the daily routine: chatting to colleagues, going out or to the canteen to grab some lunch, moving between meetings etc. For many, meetings can be slack time too as they sit through gatherings they didn’t need to attend.

Work at home is different. If it is less interrupted, it becomes more intense. And once you get into a piece of work you can easily find yourself two hours later wondering where the time has gone. Working from home feels a lot more productive than being in the office.

And then there are the other pressures we now face at home. With kids off school and loved ones to care for, workers have other people to look after. That takes time. Which means they need some slack.

I hope employers are realistic when it comes to what they expect from colleagues working from home. Maybe four hours of intense work at home equates to a 7-hour working day? If so, are you as an employer cutting your employees enough slack?

Final thought: This study of nearly 2,000 workers in the UK says the average office worker is productive for two hours and 53 minutes of the working day.