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The habits of remote workers: Has the pandemic really changed the way we work?

A survey among 1,000 remote workers reveals which productivity tips they follow — and which they don't.

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How to be productive while working from home. 

How to avoid burnout when the line blurs between “work” and “life”. 

How to beat “Zoom fatigue”. 

These are topics everyone is interested in these days. Remote work has — inevitably — become a huge trend, so most of us are looking for resources and advice on how to make it work. 

But the truth is, we’ve already been working remotely for some time now. So, the real question is “what does working from home look like, exactly?”. 

How does it feel to replicate the office environment at home? What new remote work habits have we developed, and how can those habits shape our work today and in the future? Does anyone really dress professionally to work from home?

A recent TalentLMS survey on remote work asked 1,000 remote employees about their remote working and remote training habits, and here’s what they had to say: 

The home office finds its permanent place

The majority of remote employees work from a home office and 30% work from the living room. As for the rest, they spend their 8+ hours of remote work in the bedroom (17%), in the dining room (11%), even in the kitchen (6%). This makes sense considering that many remote workers may have families or roommates, making it difficult to find a quiet place to work.

But as impromptu as this set-up may be, further data shows that remote employees are shifting to more permanent work-from-home solutions. More than half of them have transformed a room or area into a dedicated workspace, 50% have bought office furniture, and 16% have found a working space outside the home. 

Plus, an intriguing 6% has relocated to better accommodate working from home. 

“9 to 5” is popular even at home

Remote work is by no means new. Pre-pandemic, those who chose to work from home had built their lives and habits around this choice — it was actually the flexible schedule that often prompted them to work remotely. 

But what happens now that remote work is not necessarily a choice but a one-way street? 

For most of the respondents, their work-from-home hours follow a typical work-from-the-office schedule. Forty percent say their most productive hours are between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., 31% reach peak productivity between 7 a.m.- 11 a.m., and only 8% seem to be night owls, feeling most productive after 7 p.m.

Training from home, at any time

While remote employees may stick, more or less, to their regular work schedules, the same doesn’t necessarily apply when it comes to training. An impressive 82% say they’re willing to complete training outside of their working hours. And up to 50% of them, especially in ages from 35 and up, do so because they enjoy it.

But what kind of training do they prefer? 

Whether their employer provides them with training opportunities or not, remote workers seem to tie training with success at work. Those who pursue training on their own — i.e. their employers don’t provide training — tend to seek out courses related to their job (31%) or a variety of courses both relevant and irrelevant (20%). Those with employer-provided training, spend most of their time learning about job-related topics (53%) and only 14% seek topics unrelated to their jobs. 

Dress for success (in yoga pants)

It’s probably the first thing you’ll read when looking for work from home productivity tips: Dress as if you were going to the office. Does anyone really follow this tip? Apparently, not that many. 

Only 17% of the respondents wear office attire. 

As for the rest?

The majority has spoken: Forty-six percent prioritize comfort. A 18% has adopted the new “Zoom outfit”, aka professional clothes on top and casual on the bottom, 15% wear their PJs while working from home, and 4% work in their underwear. 

Exercising more. But eating more, too

Has working from home been good or bad for people’s wellbeing? Both, actually. 

When looking at the habits that have increased since the pandemic started and remote work became the norm, the bag is mixed. On one hand, 42% exercise more now than before, and 20% meditate more. 

On the other hand, 51% of the respondents have increased their TV time, 50% eat more, 18% drink more alcohol, and 16% smoke more. 

Habits or just temporary solutions?

Remote work seems to be changing people’s working habits. Whether some of these will bounce back to pre-pandemic times once employees are called back into the office, remains to be seen. 

For now though, with so many companies implementing work from home as a long-term strategy, we should start making peace with our new, remote work habits — and attire. 

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