Global working hours have increased substantially in response to work-from-home policies, according to a recent report by NordVPN Teams. Employees in the US and UK have seen working hours increase by a whopping 40% on average since March, marking 15 and 10-hour increases per week respectively.
Firms in Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria also saw a substantial increase in hours worked from March to April, although their workweek has since returned to pre-lockdown levels. The report suggests that the recent drop could be related to the reintroduction of traditional working arrangements in many European countries.
“The data has also revealed that the UK seems to start work an hour later than before the quarantine, but both the US and UK tend to work late. We also see that there is no significant drop in the usage of business VPNs during lunch time, which might suggest that lunch breaks have become shorter,” explains Juta Gurinaviciute, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN Teams.
The shift in working patterns is part-and-parcel of a greater industry-wide change in mindset regarding the effectiveness of remote working. In fact, 70.6% of first-time remote workers reported an increase in productivity, according to a separate study by Coworking Insights. This has led companies including Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, and Upwork to implement permanent – and unprecedented – work-from-home policies. Additionally, 67% of enterprises anticipate remote working policies will continue in the long-term or permanently, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence survey.
However, the rise in working hours may point to the blurring of lines between work and personal life. In tandem with increased distractions at home and a heightened sense of loneliness, remote working has the potential to increase employee stress and decrease motivation in the long-run.