Although working from home is hardly a new concept, since the outbreak of COVID-19 the number of people who are working from the comfort of their own home has increased considerably. A full two-thirds of the 1,000 adult remote workers surveyed for a new report [download page] from Nielsen say they have started working from home since the start of the pandemic.
There are several upsides to working from home. Those workers who were working from home at least part of the time before the outbreak cite several advantages to it, including convenience (53%), flexibility of working schedule (44%) and cost-saving from lack of commute (26%).
What Are At-Home Workers Doing?
While people working from home still have their normal daily tasks to contend with, they do have the opportunity to do things they might not be able to while working in an office. Prior to the outbreak, a large portion of the time Americans spent with radio was in their car driving to and from work. Since working from home, three-quarters of respondents say they listen to music (AM/FM radio or streaming services) at least once a week during work hours, with two-fifths of those saying they do so every day.
They also spend time watching TV or streaming content. Some 65% say they watch TV or stream during a break from work at least once a week, while at least half either watch TV or stream while working with the sound on (56%) or with the sound off (50%). Watching during working hours likely accounts for at least a portion of the hour extra per week spent streaming in Q2 2020 over the same quarter in 2019.
A majority (64%) of “work-from-homers” also spend time on social media during work hours at least once a week (including 31% who do so daily), and 6 in 10 (61%) say they purchase goods and services online at least once a week during work hours.
What Are They Watching?
Delving a bit deeper into what types of content work-from-home consumers are watching or streaming, the report indicates that nearly half (47%) are watching the news during working hours. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those watching or streaming news are viewing local news, while others gravitate towards national cable news (62%) or national broadcast news (58%).
Viewers are to a lesser extent watching comedy (40%) or movies (36%), while much fewer are watching or streaming what might be considered day-time TV staples — talk shows (19%), game shows (14%) and kids shows (9%).
How Do Employees Feel About Working From Home?
For the most part, workers have found some positives in working from home. Some of these benefits include the freedom and flexibility to live a lifestyle that best fits their needs (73%), embracing virtual resources that allow them to engage with their job and team as if they were there in person (70%), and finding a better work/life balance (66%).
Indeed, of those who would consider moving to a different location if an employer gave the ability to work remotely from anywhere, 8 in 10 say that they would prefer to work for a company that allowed them to work remotely from a location of their choosing regardless of the office location.
Others do miss some aspects of working in the office, feeling less connected to their job and the people they work with (49%), while some just prefer to be in person when working as opposed to working remotely (46%).
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a customer Scarborough survey fielded in April 2020 that was linked with the Total Medi Fusion sourced from Nielsen Media Impact.