Home not-so-sweet home:Running a household more stressful than the day job

  • Over a third of frazzled British workers (36 per cent)[i] find running their home as or more stressful than their day jobs
  • One in three working men (30 per cent)[ii] stay late at the office to ‘skive’ household chores
  • 28 per cent[iii] of working men would rather go to the gym than do the dishes
  • Women ‘work’ the equivalent of 14 more days every year[iv] in the home than men 

Home should be a haven after a tough day at the office but for over a third of stressed out British workers (36 per cent), running their home is as or more stressful than their day job, with one in three working men (30 per cent) staying late in the office to skive household chores, new research finds.

The Happy Home study, conducted by YouGov for new home management site Hoppy, reveals that 40 per cent of the nation are stressed out about their household to-do list, and 75% feel unhappy with their current home environment.

What keeps us up at night when it comes to running our homes?
1.House being untidy (36%)
2.Lack of storage space (30%)
3.Affording the bills (22%)
4. Needing to update the home (e.g. fixtures and fittings) (22%)
5. Badly done DIY (22%)
6. House being too small (17%)
7. Lack of help from other adults with household tasks in the home (16%)
8. Balancing demands of work and running a home (15%)
9. Being envious of friends’ and neighbours’ homes (14%)
10. The location (13%)

According to the findings, women are taking the lion’s share of the household strain. Around half of women (49 per cent) are stressed about their home, compared to just 30 per cent of men.

The division of labour could be to blame. Women spend the equivalent of 14 days more a year[v] ‘working’ in the home than men. Brits spend on average 10 hours a week on household chores and tasks – that’s more than a standard working day each week dealing with home-related admin, chores and other jobs around the home such as paying the bills, cleaning and putting the bins out. Looking at a typical month, the disparity between men and women becomes clear with men clocking up 37.7 hours a month on ‘household management’ whilst women clock up 47.5 hours – largely due to doing 2 hours a week more than men on household chores like cooking and cleaning.

Not surprisingly, women are more concerned than men about splitting the household tasks – 43% said they wished the tasks were split more evenly compared to 23% of men. It is clear, household tasks fuel a lot of arguments in the home with over a quarter of Brits (27 per cent) revealing they argue at least once a week about chores and admin. The most contentious issues in the home which cause the most arguments are cleaning the house (36 per cent), cooking (19 per cent), DIY (17 per cent) and paying the bills (17 per cent).

It’s no wonder then that one in five women living with a partner (24 per cent) say they have had relationship problems or even considered separating, divorcing or moving out due to the stress of running a home.

Chartered psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, explains; “I regularly see couples in my clinic who are struggling to juggle the demands of running a home, on top of other pressures such as career and family, and this often leads to cracks in their relationship.

“The secret to maintaining a harmonious home life is really to keep expectations realistic. Accept a bit of clutter or mess from time to time, and prioritise quality time with the people that matter. It’s also really important to respect one another and divide and conquer. Your partner or housemate is so much more than a cleaner or a cook, you both need down time to make sure you are nourished and can sustain healthy relationships and the demands of everyday life. Using technology such as online tools, websites or apps are a great way to be better organised at home and lessen the strain on relationships.”

Staying late in the office may seem like a good avoidance tactic for over a quarter of British workers (27 per cent), but more help managing the home could be the solution. Indeed 26 per cent of Brits say that they rely on help to run their household and a quarter of those polled (22 per cent) said that getting a cleaner would lead to a happier relationship.

Hoppy Managing Partner, Richard Longmore adds; “Managing a home, and everything that comes with it, is clearly causing many of us unnecessary stress. The underlying anxiety caused by having a mounting list of DIY jobs, or monthly home admin – on top of all the demands of a career and family, can be a real barrier to creating a happy home life.

“We have created Hoppy, a new free home management site which aims to help reduce the stress of running a home with a whole host of services, resources and digital tools, designed to make life a bit easier.”

For more information, visit www.hoppy.co.uk

[i]Data taken from YouGov online research of 2,000 Brits commissioned by Hoppy in August 2018. Percentage based on GB workers who are stressed. Where footnotes are not specified, percentages are based on all Brits.

[ii]Percentage based on all GB workers.

[iii]Percentage based on all GB workers.

[iv]Calculation based on total time spent on household management for all Brits:

Men – 37.7hrs per month

Women – 47.5hrs per month

[v]Calculation as above

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