Caught! Remote employees reveal their top excuses for not working
It's important to practice healthy work-life balance, yet some employees may be taking it to the extreme.
A recent survey by workforce management platform WorkYard rounded up the most common excuses employees use to avoid doing work. Technical difficulties topped the list, as shaky internet connectivity was the most common excuse used by remote workers. Illness, at-home distractions and communication misunderstandings were named as other frequent issues, the survey found.
As employees have adapted to remote work arrangements, studies have found that workers are actually putting more time and effort into their work: 70% of employees who work from home say they work on the weekends, and 45% work longer hours than before the pandemic, according to a survey by staffing firm Robert Half. Overall, 90% of employees consider themselves more productive when working from home, data from Microsoft found.
Yet that doesn't stop some people from finding ways to shirk their professional responsibilities. Beyond the most common excuses shared, WorkYard noted a few more "out-there" excuses, like, "I accidentally spilled hot sauce on my laptop, and now it's not working." Another employee anonymously shared that "My aura is out of balance and I need to perform a series of rituals to realign my energy," for why their work was left undone.
To encourage positive work habits and improve trust, employers should set clear expectations and boundaries around when work tasks are due. And if technical challenges are still an issue nearly three years into remote work, it could be time to review which programs are available and adjust accordingly, says Nic De Bonis, a spokesperson from WorkYard.
"Investing in the right technology and infrastructure, providing clear expectations, and regular communication can help to optimize remote work, improve employee engagement, and maximize productivity," De Bonis says. "The lack of productivity resulting from remote work excuses may translate to lost revenues and decreased profitability."
Check out the most common excuses employees use for avoiding their to-do list: