In a recent study conducted by Currys, a leading computing accessories and tech retailer, the working preferences of 1,000 UK desk workers were examined, shedding light on the evolving landscape of work arrangements.
The findings indicate a significant shift towards hybrid working, where individuals split their time between the traditional office setting and remote work.
The study unveiled that 38 percent of respondents expressed a preference for a hybrid working arrangement, emphasising a desire for a balance between office and remote work. Following closely, 25 percent favoured fully remote work, while 20 percent opted for a traditional office-based approach. Surprisingly, only 6 percent of participants considered working while traveling as their ideal scenario.
Productivity and Perceptions in Remote Work
Interestingly, 36 percent of those surveyed believed they were more productive when working from home compared to being in the office. However, a majority (63%) felt pressured to prove their productivity while working remotely, potentially influenced by negative perceptions often portrayed on social media.
Disturbingly, 18 percent of respondents admitted to perceiving remote workers as lazy, indicating persistent stereotypes that may contribute to the perceived pressure of proving oneself while working from home.
Challenges and Distractions in the Workspace
The study also delved into the challenges faced by desk workers in various settings. A staggering 58 percent of respondents, regardless of their work arrangement, felt unproductive in their current workspace. The leading causes of distraction included too many interruptions (27%), surrounding noise (21%), and colleagues (18%).
When asked about the specific distractions, talkative colleagues took the lead at 23 percent, followed closely by internet issues (22%), and mobile phones (21%). Too many emails (20%), too many meetings (19%), and social media (19%) rounded out the top five distractions.
Workspace Health and Safety Concerns
A concerning revelation from the study is that 72 percent of respondents reported that their current work setup does not meet Display Screen Equipment (DSE) health and safety standards. This potentially places them at physical risk and could be contributing to the overall lack of productivity.
As the workforce continues to adapt to new ways of working, the study serves as a valuable snapshot of the preferences, challenges, and perceptions shaping the future of work in the UK.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.