Working from home: Expectations vs Reality


3 min read

Posted by Alina Sidbrant on April 08, 2020

Working from home: Expectations vs Reality

Last month we sent out a survey to find out how people feel after setting up their home office due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The main question we asked was: “Is your experience working from home better or worse than you expected?”. The survey allowed us to collect some interesting insights. And although the survey did not give a straightforward answer as to whether people in general prefer working from the office or home, it was clear that so many people are making a difference and staying positive which is reassuring.

Working from home experience

Surprisingly enough, only 55% of survey respondents preferred working from the office to working from home. It is a surprising number, especially because most people (65%) have been experiencing working from home for an extended period for the first time. Overall experience working from home was rated 7 out of 10, with 39% saying it turned out to be “much better” and “better” than expected, and 46% saying it was “same as expected”.

Some of the possible reasons for such distribution originate from people enjoying all positive sides of working from home, such as: not having to commute to work, getting to spend more time with their loved ones, and the opportunity to wear what they want. The office work advocates, on the other hand, are finding isolation difficult, mostly due to the lack of human interaction, repetitive free time activities and missing their dedicated office space, atmosphere, and most of all – their colleagues.

Free time experience

Another positive thing about the quarantine is having more free time, that can be spent on trying out new hobbies or resurrecting old ones, playing board games, making jigsaws, knitting, cooking (try new recipes you'd never think to try before), and so many other things. So, what do people do with their free time? Most people spend their time watching movies and TV – 79%. Cooking and eating are the second most popular activities with 60% of interviewees doing it. On the third place are learning and hobbies with 46%.

Regardless so many people discovering their inner MasterChef's, almost every participant of our survey (89%) is exercising regularly, with the top 3 most popular sports being: walking, running and gym-like online workout or online class.

When will the quarantine be over?

The options have been given, and predictions have been made. According to the survey, 35% of people believe the quarantine will last until July. Another (more optimistic) third of the respondents say it will be lifted in June. 14% think August is the month we will see each other again at the office. Hard to know how the future will turn, but one thing we can say with confidence – 0% believes quarantine will be over in April.

5 tips on how to make self-isolation more fun

The best part of the survey was the part where people could share their best tips on making the isolation and working from home a bit more fun. Consider giving these 5 tricks a try, and hopefully next two (or three) months will not be a burden:

  1. Set up a recurring transfer of what you spend on coffee or public transport each day into a Revolut vault. By the end of all of this you can buy yourself a nice post covid present and have a little positivity around being stuck at home each day!
  2. Have a call with a senior member of staff and ask for recommendations on things to upskill and research. This can give you some serious motivation, improve work morale and productivity.
  3. Get out of the house as much as allowed. Follow the distancing rules but get some fresh air and change of scenery.
  4. Keep a routine. Get up early, eat well and exercise. Try to retain a normal schedule. Keep a good structure to your day on paper. In the end of work day, do something that helps you feel the change in the day - go outside, change clothes or take a shower.
  5. Try not to focus on negative news. Limit Social Media and News usage as it can be a bit negative. Research. Maybe your favorite band has an online concert, use online free library or ask your friends to advice you on a good uplifting movie instead!

Are you looking for more? Read our 5 tips for working from home the Arekibian way blog, suggested by our colleagues who have worked from home for years.

One year on, we asked our team what they've learned and they shared their responses here.

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About the Author

Alina Sidbrant
Alina Sidbrant

Alina is Marketing Innovation Lead at Arekibo. She is passionate about corporate entrepreneurship and strategy.