January 21, 2022

Many Watch Netflix, Scroll Through Social Media & Do Online Shopping When WFH-ing, Study Finds

Working from home has many benefits. Businesses keep reporting how much more productive their workers are since they started working from home.

However, the recommendations for many not to return to work on-site but work from the comfort of their own homes for the foreseeable future also meant remote workers need to get used to working while handling many distractions present in their homes.

A recent OfficeNeedle report based on answers of 670 people working from home in 2021 during the pandemic found that they struggle with not being distracted by technology present in their homes. Among other things, people they live with and their pets are also common distractions during working from home.

How everyday technology distracts those working from home?

Among the global remote workers who took part in the survey, 56% revealed their biggest distraction when working from home is mobile phones. Besides that, more than four in 10 (44%) also think they are greatly distracted by social media. Finally, for around 14% of remote workers from home, incoming calls are also very distracting.

None of these distractions come as a big surprise. After all, mobile phones and social media are all around us at all times and it is hard to escape them to be able to dedicate our time to work and work alone. Especially when work can only function thanks to the said technologies.

Phone and video calls and social media usage

Phone calls and video calls are an essential part of online business and work from home. After all, Zoom, Teams, and other such platforms majorly gained popularity once businesses had to shut their office doors and move their employees to work from their homes. However, these are not the only calls remote workers struggle with.

According to the survey results, one in two remote workers spends time on the phone and video calls that are not related to work during business hours. Moreover, out of that 50%, 31% talk on the phone or do a video call for under 30 minutes during working hours, even though it is unrelated to work purposes.

Those working from home marked Facebook as their most visited social media platform during working hours, unrelated to work purposes (65% of them). Besides Facebook, 52% of them also use Instagram. Youtube is also majorly popular, with 48% admitting to using this platform during business hours. Likewise, Twitter is also used by 24%, TikTok by 14%, and Snapchat by 12%.

How long do remote workers spend on social media usage unrelated to work purposes during business hours? Well, according to collected data, 28% of them say they spend over an hour doing so. On the other hand, only 16% said they do not use social media during working hours unrelated to work.

More than half find time to watch Netflix

But this is not where technology distractions stop. They go on much further. Remote workers also use different apps during working hours when they should be working instead. For instance, one in two say they use instant messaging apps while working. From other apps, shopping apps are also popular at 41%.

On-demand streaming services have great popularity at the moment and have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic around two years ago. Around 55% of those who took the survey explained they watch on-demand streaming services when working from home (such as Netflix). One in three spends over one hour watching Netflix when working from home.

Video games are also popular

The large majority of remote workers, 64%, say they do not play video games during working hours when working from home. However, the remaining 36% do find time for it on their phones, PCs, laptops, or consoles.

Around 15% of all participants (or 42% out of those who said they play video games) do so for between half an hour and one hour. Another 42% of all remote workers who play video games during working hours do so for more than one hour.


While working from home mostly includes many technological distractions, it could not be done without technology, as well. They feel more at freedom while working from home and this freedom contributes to both more productivity and also a bigger chance of being distracted by things that surround them in their homes.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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