Exploring the Relationship Between Remote Work and Focus Time

January 24, 2024 thehrobserver-hrobserver-remotework

Remote work arrangements are for deep, focused work that can tolerate few interruptions, as the team members engage in more focused time and see fewer interruptions, said Hubstaff in its key findings on remote work.

The company has been reviewing objective workforce data to understand the modern worker and how they can thrive in remote environments.

Remote teams engage in more “focus time” in terms of overall weekly minutes and as a greater percentage of their work time.

Hubstaff found that on average, focus time is higher for remote team members at 59.48% of their week, which is more than ten points higher than the 48.5% of an average in-office team member. 

“When we look at focus time in minutes per day, the average remote worker spends 273 minutes (4.55 hours) in focus time on a typical day. The average in-office team member is in a focused state for just 223 minutes (3.72 hours),” “Many companies are turning to return-to-office mandates under the impression that this would increase productivity and engagement. At Hubstaff, we’ve seen global brands succeed with remote work for over a decade,” they added.

“Our data challenges misconceptions surrounding remote work, demonstrating that it supports deep, focused work and saves valuable time and resources,” Jared Brown, Hubstaff’s CEO, said in a statement.

“As we continue our research journey, we encourage companies to explore the potential benefits of remote work, especially in roles requiring concentrated focus,” Brown added.

One of the key findings is that remote workers have “fewer” interruptions per day. Therefore, they have on average 2.78 interruptions during focused work per day, compared to 3.40 for office staff.

“If we expand that average across an entire year, in-office staff have their focused work interrupted an average of just 884 times annually (assuming a standard 260 workdays per year),” said the research.

“Interruptions to focused work defeat its purpose,” says Hubstaff CTO and report co-author Alex Yarotsky. 

“These interruptions can also introduce errors and create the need for rework. The more frequent they are, the greater the impact on the person and project. Our research is one part of the equation for companies figuring out how much those interruptions, especially in office environments, are costing them.”

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