Survey: Pandemic Shifts in Home Life Could Be Here to Stay

More than half of U.S. adults (53 percent) are spending on average an extra 7.4 hours at home each day, equating to over two extra days at home per week, according to a survey commissioned by Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp.
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couple washing dishes
As adults in the U.S. spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, housework has become more of a joint effort than before. // Stock photo

More than half of U.S. adults (53 percent) are spending on average an extra 7.4 hours at home each day, equating to over two extra days at home per week, according to a survey commissioned by Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corp.

Experts predict that these household changes could remain after the pandemic subsides.

The research, conducted with YouGov among adults in the U.S., found:

  • 14 percent of those surveyed are cooking together more as a household since the pandemic began.
  • For 12 percent housework also has become more of a joint effort than ever before, meaning that more than 15 million households in the U.S. are sharing more chores – with laundry (66 percent) and cooking (65 percent) the most popular shared chores among those sharing the effort.
  • 17 percent also say they’ve become more creative in the kitchen.
  • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) say they feel closer to friends and family.
  • 16 percent (which would represent nearly 41 million people in the U.S.) have taken up at least one new hobby or skill since the start of the pandemic.

The most popular reason for the change is people spending more time as a household (57 percent). Also, one in five (22 percent) say it’s because they have been exercising or learning new skills together.

From the given list, cooking (29 percent), gardening (23 percent), drawing/painting (23 percent), and embarking on a new course of learning (21 percent) are the most popular hobbies picked up by those who have started a new one.

Nearly a third (32 percent) say they’ve found a new appreciation for their homes this year, and 27 percent say spending more time at home has produced unexpected positives.

Although half of people (54 percent) hope life returns to normal heading into 2021, more than a quarter (28 percent) say they want to keep up the positive new changes they’ve made at home long-term.

“When the world feels chaotic, we often look for shelter and comfort in our homes as somewhere we can control,” says Meik Wiking, New York Times bestselling author and CEO, The Happiness Research Institute. “That’s never been more-true than over the last few months. As this study shows, the effort we’ve made to make our homes a sanctuary from the outside world has led to us making changes to our home lives and household dynamics.

“From transforming what our homes look like, to reviewing how we share the housework, to thinking about how we can continue to grow as individuals — even if it’s within our four walls. Looking ahead to 2021, we might not be able to keep up all the good hobbies we’ve picked up, but I think the understanding that happiness is homemade is here to stay.”

To help people keep up these habits up, Whirlpool is launching a new Improving Life At Home online hub, which brings expert advice together from across its many brands, with tips from happiness expert Wiking. It can be found here.

“At Whirlpool Corp., we are in constant pursuit of improving life in the home,” says Eleanor Reece, senior director of global campaigns at Whirlpool Corp. “That’s why we commissioned this new study to understand how lives have changed in the last year. Amidst the hardships, challenges and uncertainty that have come in 2020, it’s been heartening to see some silver linings as new dynamics and habits emerge in homes everywhere.

“We want to play our part in helping people keep those up, which is why we’ve launched this online hub, which brings together the best of our company’s advice-led content to help people make the most of life at home.”

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