One-in-five (20%) UK workers now have their work instant messaging app on their personal mobile phone, according to new research from by B2B furniture ecommerce site Furniture At Work.

  • Working After Hours: 49% of Workers are Sending Emails Late at Night or Early Morning
  • Over half of workers (51%) reply faster to emails now than they did pre-pandemic
  • HR workers feel most trusted to be at their desks (95%) compared to 71% of those in Arts & Culture

The research, which asked 1,015 UK workers about their routine and habits during the working day, sought to uncover how attitudes to work had changed since the pandemic began, including the times when most workers are likely to take breaks and the measures they use to ensure their employer knows they’re working.

Since workers started working out of sight from their employers, 51% said they started replying to messages faster to remind colleagues they’re working, 47% have been checking in regularly with calls and emails and 49% now sending emails either early in the morning or late at night.

The effects of working from home paranoia are also reflected in the use of work instant messenger services, as 29% of people said they make an effort to ensure Teams never goes onto an ‘away’ status. One-in-five (20%) workers have even downloaded Teams onto their phone – helping them keep in touch even when they’re on the toilet or out for lunch.

The survey also highlighted how some of this paranoia could be fuelled by workers changing work patterns since their working day became more flexible. It was discovered that 10-11am every day is the most common time for workers in the UK to step away from their work and take a break, with 22% doing this, equating to nearly 7,000,000 workers taking a break at that time.

When it comes to productivity, Monday is the day when workers are most likely to feel productive, with 24% saying this is the day when they get the most work done. This is in comparison to the least productive day, Friday, which 36% of UK workers said was their least productive day. However, this could be set to change with future generations, as those aged 16-24 picked Wednesday as their most productive day (26%), with 22% saying Monday was actually their least productive day.

Furniture At Work commented on the findings:

“As many workers prepare to return to the office in the coming weeks, many employers may have to brace themselves to adapt to a change in working habits or a switch back to pre-pandemic ways of working. With so many extending their working days when working at home, it remains to be seen how this could translate into office working.

“It’s important for employers to understand that their staff are having to adapt to a second major change to their working lives in 18 months. Given that 11% of the workforce still don’t feel trusted by their employer to complete their set hours in a week, considering a flexible working policy could help make a smoother transition and reassure workers that you’re not rushing them back to a place where you can see them.”


Figures are an estimate based on ONS estimates for June to August 2020 show 32.59 million people aged 16 years and over in employment.

Furniture At Work surveyed 1,015 office workers based in the UK through Opinion Matters.

About Furniture At Work

Furniture At Work Ltd has been operating since 2001. We have over 18 years of experience in providing high-quality office furniture at the lowest prices to clients nationwide. Selling to customers buying on behalf of a business, public sector or for your home office, Furniture At Work specialise in everything from desks, chairs and storage solutions for any office environment.


By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.