The study conducted by Samsung Electronics, the global tech giant, has uncovered some intriguing insights about household chore management in Europe. The data reveal that the majority of individuals spend a staggering 86% of their time contemplating household tasks rather than actually performing them. This phenomenon, aptly termed as the “invisible load”, underscores the physical and mental strain that precedes the commencement of such tasks. It serves to highlight the substantial impact it has on the time spent at home.
The term “invisible load” was critically examined through the creation of a novel index. This was developed in partnership with Mo Gawdat, whose impressive resume includes a prior tenure as the Chief Business Officer at Google and authoring successful books like Solve for Happy, Scary Smart, and That Little Voice in Your Head. The index’s objective is to restore a balance between the time spent ‘thinking’ versus ‘doing’. It achieves this through a formula that takes into account the intensity, duration, and frequency of domestic activities. This, in turn, provides individuals the opportunity to calculate their personal invisible load.
The research undertook a survey involving over 6,000 participants from across Europe. The findings indicate that, on average, each individual handles at least seven household tasks weekly, dedicating over 30 hours to them. This level of commitment is comparable to a full-time job. The load is heavily felt with over half of the respondents admitting to feeling stressed most of the time. Many find it increasingly difficult to maintain focus on daily activities. Moreover, the escalating impact of the cost of living crisis is exacerbating the situation with over half of the survey participants indicating that rising energy costs make household chores more stressful and hard to manage.
The key household activities regularly performed include house cleaning, shopping, and managing bills. These tasks are all characterized by a high emotional and physical commitment. Despite the availability of advanced home technologies for connected living, Europeans tend to expend more time on mental preparation than actually executing household tasks. An overwhelming majority, 90% of Europeans, believe that family members could be more efficient in managing household chores. They are positively inclined towards the potential offered by technology to help alleviate the workload. In Italy, particularly, there’s a strong inclination towards adopting technologies for the connected home. A significant 58% of Italian participants expressed a desire for greater integration of smart devices via mobile applications. The research also highlights a notable willingness among Italians (58%) and Spaniards to have a more connected home, with 60% of Italians already integrating smart home devices.
Mo Gawdat, in his commentary, expressed his honor in collaborating with Samsung on developing the Invisible Burden Index. This index provides a European perspective into the burden associated with everyday household chores through a suggestive scoring system. He emphasized that it is crucial to maintain healthy habits in our routine for our overall well-being. This also aids in managing our to-do-list more easily. He also highlighted the utility of SmartThings, as it allows for the automation of some domestic activities, thereby enhancing the quality of our leisure time at home.
Nathan Sheffield, Head of IOT and SmartThings at Samsung Europe, also shared his views. He stated that Samsung is continuously exploring new ways to assist individuals in saving time and reducing their workload. He elaborated that SmartThings offers a portal to a simpler, smarter, and more connected world. As of now, over 300 brand partners support more than 3,200 connected devices. He further added that SmartThings provides complete control over one’s home and, most importantly, domestic activities, thereby optimizing time spent on home care and freeing up time for other activities. With the Invisible Burden Index, Samsung aimed to instigate dialogue about household workload across Europe. By encouraging people to become more aware of the ‘invisible load’, Samsung hopes that everyone can leverage the immense benefits of technology.