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What are Kiwis really doing when they work from home?

A new report from Frog Recruitment reveals that one-third of Kiwi employees spend more than three hours on weekly life admin when they work from home.

Kiwi HR company Frog Recruitment surveyed 1020 New Zealand employees in a recent survey looking into what Kiwis do when they work from home.

Over 67 percent say they spend their time on life admin when they are working from home, with one-third of employees surveyed stating they shave more than three hours a week off housework and hobbies.

Broken into categories, 40 percent prioritise laundry and washing, a quarter focus on cleaning and tidying up and 17 percent indulge in recreation and fitness.

Managing director Shannon Barlow says that following the pandemic and as more employers are pushing employees to return to the office, this is “unsurprising”.

“If employers are worried about the productivity of a remote workforce, these statistics will fuel those fears,” says Barlow. 

“However, they need to consider the bigger picture, such as the impact on employee satisfaction and engagement. How productive will your team be if flexible working is removed and they are forced back into the office full-time? You might have solved a visibility issue but replaced it with presenteeism.”

But the focus on productivity distracts from other aspects such as employee wellbeing, and Barlow says letting workers tackle life admin “can pay big dividends”.

Read more: Kiwis no longer want to climb the career ladder, survey reveals

“Trying to juggle full-time work with running a household in our increasingly pressured world can be overwhelming for many people and allowing them to get on top of it supports their mental and emotional wellbeing, reduces burnout, and improves workplace productivity,” she adds.

For the employers concerned about time staff time spent on life admin while working from home, Barlow says it is a matter of measuring productivity and focusing on outcomes so that decisions are based on facts, not feelings.

Savings and wellbeing

Their latest survey also looked into the financial benefits of working from home: one-third of workers say it saves them more than $100 a week, a further 15 percent say they were better off by up to $5200 a year, and 17 percent saved up to half that amount.

“As momentum has built for returning to the office, some employers are offering bonuses to entice their teams back to the coalface, but the savings people make by working from home may nullify any incentives. By the time you factor in the rising price of petrol and public transport, parking, lunches, and coffees, the costs of going into the office can stack up, and given our current cost of living crisis, these savings are significant,” Barlow points out.

While working from home has clearly blurred the boundaries between workplace tasks and life admin, the benefits are clear.

“By helping your staff feel in control of their work and personal life, you are boosting their mental health and supporting them to reach their potential, both at work and beyond.”

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