Almost half of home workers admit to working more at weekends than pre-lockdown while 71% say they struggle to make the weekends feel different from Monday to Friday. This is according to a survey of 1,000 people carried out by Bord Gáis Energy which examines how the nation is spending their time in lockdown.
The research shows that over half (53%) of people polled admit to using their free time at the weekends for more mundane tasks like doing the household chores. However, 63% say they try and make the weekend feel different by using their free time to enjoy the great outdoors while a quarter have a designated date night at the weekends.
Almost half have been investing their free time in a new hobby or skill - 32% say they have taken up running, cycling, or walking - while 31% have started baking and 19% have become involved in arts and crafts.
While lockdown has been a challenge, the results of the survey show that many will take positives from the experience. More than a half (56%) pledge to continue spending more time with their family post lockdown and 51% say they hope to continue with a better work/life balance and enjoy more time at home. A third vow to keep up their new hobby and 35% say they will continue their fitness routine.
Although those polled are keen to keep up with the positives, the nation can’t wait to reembrace some of the weekend’s more typical pursuits; with more than half missing a restaurant meal with friends and family (57%) and more than 1 in 3 longing for the moment that they can reunite with friends in bars and pubs (35%).
The research was carried out to mark the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s new range of smart plans, helping customers make the most of their smart meters. The smart plans include a choice of either 'Free Time Saturday’ or ‘Free Time Sunday’ offers, giving Bord Gáis Energy customers free electricity between 9am and 5pm on their specified day at weekends.
Additionally, Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘Discount Weekend Plan’ gives customers a night rate all weekend, meaning lower energy costs from 11pm on Friday, right through to 8am on Monday.
Commenting on the initiative, Retail Director at Bord Gáis Energy, Colin Bebbington said, "The roll out of smart meters in Ireland offers Irish households access to more timely, detailed information of their energy usage; and with so many people working from home right now, improving energy efficiency and alleviating pricing concerns is high on the agenda."
He added, "We’re hoping our new smart plans and Free Time Saturday and Free Time Sunday offers will help in motivating Ireland to smarten up around energy usage at weekends – and inspire them to use their own energy and free time to brighten up their Saturdays and Sundays, and enjoy the things they love."