Have you ever wondered what your co-workers do when working from home and nobody is watching?

Do they ever mysteriously go missing for hours on end? Do you suspect they are slacking off or severely flouting workplace policy?


With Covid-19 forcing a large chunk of the global workforce to work from home, we thought it was time to find out what really goes on behind closed doors.


If you think it ends at checking personal emails or occasionally logging into social media, you might be surprised to learn the extreme behaviours of remote employees.


We surveyed over 1,000 people from the USA, Australia, UK and Canada about their behaviour whilst working from home to discover what secrets employees are keeping from their bosses.


From getting drunk, to masturbating, to having Zoom sex with co-workers, this survey reveals some seriously shocking statistics. Read on to see what the survey uncovered about this devious behaviour.


“[It’s] Like I just got paid to masturbate. I felt grateful and slightly guilty.” – Survey Respondent


“I received oral sex while on a conference call.” – Survey Respondent


Having sex at work is something you might not consider when working at an office. Though a study we conducted on workplace behaviour found it was more common than you’d think, with 1 in 10 admitting to doing the deed whilst at the office. But this still leaves 90% of people who thought better of it.


For most, the shame, logistical hurdles and fear of reprehension is motivation enough to keep sex as an ‘at-home’ activity.


But what about when you are working at home? Do people still have the same apprehension?


More than 1 in 5 admitted to having sex whilst on company time when working from home. With the logistical hurdles removed, it seems people were quick to jump on the opportunity for a bit of mid-work relief.

According to The American Institute of Stress, around 33% of people experience extreme stress and the Global Organisation for Stress reports that 80% people experience stress at work. With such high levels of stress in day to day life, it appears that people are willing to try unconventional ways of alleviating it.


And sex is just the cure. This is because sex floods your brain with feel-good chemicals such as, “dopamine, which impacts the brain’s pleasure and reward centers; endorphins, which can reduce pain and stress; and oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, are all released during sex.” Furthermore, it actually reduces the stress hormone, cortisol.


And the solo isolators weren’t exempt from this relief seeking with over a quarter of those surveyed saying they had masturbated while on the clock.

When asked how their dirty deeds made them feel, most participants were pretty pleased with their choices. Research suggests that, like sex, masturbation can be linked to positive health benefits such as reducing stress, tension release, enhanced mood and boosted concentration.


This seemed to be supported by the survey with the most elicited feeling described by survey participants was that of relaxation. Some even reported feeling refreshed and more productive after their romp. With work often being the most stressful part of the day, who can blame them?


Despite being a healthy sexual activity, it’s probably something that should be done in one’s own time, yet only a quarter of respondents felt guilty for their on the clock antics.


In addition to sex and solo action, 5.4% of participants also admitted to having engaged in some cheeky sex chat with a co-worker over a video conferencing tool.


“I have been intoxicated NUMEROUS times while working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic!” – Survey Respondent


Almost 40% of those surveyed reported drinking during work hours, with beer being the most popular beverage, closely followed by wine.


And it wasn’t just one drink – more than half of those people admitted to getting drunk on the job at home.


Certainly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that a lot of people are drinking their way through, even if they are at work. A recent Nielsen study shows that alcohol sales are up 42% year-on year.


Around 1 in 5 of the participants confessed to using illicit drugs during work hours, including cocaine, marijuana and LSD.


“I’ve played video games like Rocket League and FIFA while on telephone conference calls.” – Survey


Respondent What is the dress code when you’re working from home? If you’re not technically seeing anyone, do you technically need to be wearing clothes? Many commentators on working from home, suggest getting dressed properly as if going in to the office, can be beneficial mentally as it provides familiarity and helps to distinguish between home life and work life.


There’s plenty that argue (think Silicon Valley start-up scene) that casual clothes are the way to go regardless of the setting.


The fact remains, a lot of people simply don’t get dressed when working from home.


It might surprise you to hear that only 1 in 4 people admitted to participating in a conference call without pants. And most of those people had done so less than 5 times.


“[I] said my camera was not working during a conference call so I could eat a sandwich.”

A quarter of those surveyed admitted to working from the toilet, and 4 out of 5 participants are working in their pyjamas at least once a week, with a fairly sizable chunk wearing pyjamas every day.


A lot of research has been done on employee motivation, prompting some companies to trial flexible working arrangements, creative workplace environments and even four day weeks.


What drives people to give their absolute best for the longest has been a constant point of interest of companies and behavioural scientists alike for a long time. Less study has been done on working from home with a relatively small percentage of the working population in the ‘remote worker’ category. But, like everything, this has all changed with COVID-19. Working from home is now a fact of life for a most businesses. But how well does it actually work?


A 2012 study found that when working from home motivation varies based on the nature of the task – low motivation for repetitive, boring tasks but high for creative tasks.


Some companies, WordPress for example, have a fully distributed remote workforce, and working from home evangelists like Matt Mullenweg, Chief Executive of the company, argues it’s the way of the future.


Either way, our study shows that when given the opportunity to slack off, people will take it.


About 17% admitted to lying about internet problems to avoid a conference call and a massive 90% admitted to browsing websites unrelated to their work.


Browsing non-work-related websites is expected, but more than half of survey respondents had left the house for other activities such as hobbies and grocery shopping during work hours.


4 out of 5 participants confessed to knocking off early, with most of them doing so 2-3 times a week and almost 40% had gone a full day without doing ANY work at all.


Your co-workers may be up to more than you think. From stealing food to masturbating, or even a quick nap, if your office has more than 10 employees, something probably happened when you weren’t paying attention.


At the end of the day, your co-workers are human, so the next time you need to pick up a gift for them, make sure it’s something they can laugh about. At Yellow Octopus, we have the coolest gifts and gadgets for nearly every occasion. Sourced from all across the world, we have everything you need for your next in-office gift exchange, no matter who you have to buy for. From the novel to the naughty, and everything in between, let Yellow Octopus help you win over your co-workers, no matter what they’re doing when you aren’t looking.


We surveyed over 1,000 people who currently, or had worked, in an office setting to find out about which behaviours they had engaged in as well as their thoughts on the various acts.


Know someone who could benefit from our findings? You’re welcome to share the info found on this page for non-commercial purposes but we ask that you link back to this page and the authors.