School holidays signal stress for home-workers

By IWG | Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019

International Workplace Group (IWG) reveals further findings related to home-workers from the 2019 Global Workspace Survey. The study of 15,000 respondents from 80 countries around the world has found that interruptions from children or other family members is the number one obstacle being faced by professionals who take advantage of home-working. This means that the summer holidays can be a cause of stress instead of a time for rest and relaxation. With children no longer occupied at school, many parents choose to work from home in order to juggle both work and childcare, but productivity can suffer with family, pets and noisy household appliances found to be the main distractions for home workers.

The 2019 Global Workspace Survey found that 3 in 5 of both global (62%) and APAC (61%) respondents are distracted by attention demands from family members when they work from home. Disruption of phone calls by children, family and pets ranked as the second and fourth biggest obstacle for global (45%) and APAC (42%) home-workers respectively. Globally, distractions from household noises (32%) to pets (25%) can also greatly decrease the productivity of home-works.

When it comes to the lack of office equipment, 43% of global and 48% of APAC home-workers acknowledge that difficulties in accessing office equipment, such as printer, fax and photocopier could prevent them from working efficiently. The absence of digital infrastructure is a particularly significant problem for APAC. 45% of APAC home-workers suffer from slow or unreliable internet connect in a home setting, while 39% of them face hindrance relating to data security and secure network.

The top 5 hindrances of home-workers:

For Global respondents

For APAC respondents

  • Children or family demanding attention (62%)
  • Children or family demanding attention (61%)
  • Children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls (45%)
  • Difficulties accessing office equipment (Printer, fax, photocopier) (48%)
  • Difficulties accessing office equipment (printer, fax, photocopier) (43%)
  • Slow or unreliable internet connection (45%)
  • Household noises such as bell ringing, washing machine, dishwasher (32%)
  • Children, family and pets disturbing work telephone calls (42%)
  • Pets demanding attention (25%)
  • Lack of data security and secure networks (39%)


The Mid-Point between Office and Home — Flexible Working

Increasingly, businesses are providing their employees with the option to decide where, when and how they would like to work and there are benefits on both sides of the exchange. Flexibility not only makes workers happier and healthier, but it can also have a direct impact on the health of a business, with 85% of global organisations reporting a significant increase in the productivity of their workforce as a result.  

Location is a key factor in determining how easily workers can pivot between work and home life — particularly for parents in the summer holidays. With two-fifths of people seeing the daily commute as the worst part of their day (40% globally and 41% in APAC), working closer to home is an increasingly favoured option.

Flexible workspaces can provide a more balanced alternative to the home office when juggling work and personal commitments. A new base that is in tune with employees’ working style can be a viable alternative to working from home or in the office. Workers can enjoy the head space and facilities of a professional environment, closer to home, allowing them to work productively and balance their childcare needs over the summer holidays.



IWG helps more than 2.5 million people and their businesses to work productively by providing a choice of professional, inspiring and collaborative workspaces, communities and services.

Home-workers work at home home office school holidays distraction obstacle to work APAC

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