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We know you’re watching Netflix while you’re supposed to be working from home

Published Mar 28th, 2020 1:47PM EDT
Coronavirus news
Image: Keystone-SDA/Shutterstock

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  • The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has produced a massive shift in the work life of millions of Americans. Specifically, more people than ever are now working from home.
  • New data from streaming search engine Reelgood reveals a surprising trend — a growing number of people are streaming content from sources like Netflix between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In other words, during office hours, when many of you are supposed to be working.
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Working from home, while it might sound like fun in the abstract, can be a major adjustment for some people who are otherwise used to the more familiar rhythms of office life, things like the face-to-face meetings and other more traditional aspects of the 9-to-5 grind. It’s the kind of adjustment that millions of Americans have made in recent weeks as the novel coronavirus outbreak has mandated countless employers shift, if they can, to a work-from-home arrangement.

New data, meanwhile, shows that plenty of you are spending what amount to office hours in pursuit of, shall we say, extracurricular activities. To be more specific, data shared with BGR by the team at the streaming search engine Reelgood reveals that streaming video activity has increased during the time when we’re all supposed to be working, compared to the pre-coronavirus data.

Among the trends Reelgood has noticed lately from its more than 2 million users as the coronavirus crisis has lingered: More people than ever are spending time streaming content online. Reelgood says that this week alone, the service saw a 49% jump in signups compared to the previous week, while overall streams initiated via the Reelgood platform this week also saw a 35% increase compared to the previous week.

Here’s where it gets interesting: More of that streaming is happening during the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. — business hours, in other words.

Image source: Reelgood

So far this month, compared to January 2020, playback during business hours has gone up by 8.3% while viewing during off-hours has gone down by 6.3%.

As long as you’re getting your work done, maybe this isn’t the worst news in the world. If you’ve never had to work from home for an extended period, it can feel a little weird figuring out how to mentally separate the work side of yourself from everything else — such as by cutting off at a specific time, figuring out how to take breaks responsibly, and to be productive when you might have kids and pets scampering around you or jockeying for your attention.

Just make sure you’re actually paying attention on that next Zoom call and not shaking your head in disbelief at the antics of Joe Exotic from Tiger King, or whatever else you’re watching on Netflix at the moment.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.