Household chores: Europeans spend as much time worrying about them as doing them

Household chores: Europeans spend as much time worrying about them as doing them

Washing the dishes, vacuuming, changing the sheets, paying the bills: the list of household tasks to be accomplished daily, or occasionally, constitutes a mental load in itself. And it is not those mainly concerned who will say the opposite, as a new survey reveals. Europeans spend almost as much time worrying about household chores as doing them. A weight twice as heavy as it should be, in short.

If work constitutes a source of stress for many employees, even if this problem remains little addressed in companies, we must keep in mind that most men and women start a second day once they have left the office door. Whether it is picking up the children from school, preparing meals for the week, or even polishing every corner of the home, household chores also weigh heavily on the mental health of the population. This is what emerges from a survey carried out by Samsung Electronics among more than 6,000 European consumers, including French, Germans and British, on the occasion of the launch of its mental load index ‘The Invisible Load’ which offers everyone the opportunity to know the weight these tasks represent on their well-being.

The mental load linked to household chores is such that respondents say they carry out on average 72% of the household chores in their household, more than three-quarters saying they take on more than 50% and almost half confident they manage between 76% and 100% of them. this hard work. Contrary to what one might think, it is not the distribution of tasks within the household that poses a problem, more than half of those surveyed (52%) believing that it is fair, but the weight that these activities impact on their mental health. And this is amplified by certain factors that harm the effectiveness of respondents in carrying out these tasks, starting with lack of motivation (36%), lack of time (34%), lack of money ( 18%) and – all the same – the fact of not being supported by other members of the household (16%).

Doing and thinking, the double punishment

Interestingly, Europeans generally spend almost as much time worrying about household chores as doing them, and this is even more the case for the French. The latter spend on average 47.2 hours per week worrying about preparing meals, laundry, bills, and other errands to do, and 51.2 hours actually doing them – or 93% of the time spent on them. accomplish. And the observation is almost the same for all the countries surveyed, particularly in Spain where respondents spend 61.2 hours worrying about household chores and 69.2 hours doing them, or even in Italy (66.3 hours versus 75 hours).

In detail, we see that preparing meals is by far the task that requires the most investment – physical and mental – from Europeans. They spend on average 7 hours per week thinking about it or worrying about it, and 7.6 hours doing this task. This is followed by cleaning the house (5.6 hours thinking about it, 6.5 hours doing it), taking care of animals (5.2 hours vs. 6.4 hours), tidying up the house (3.7 hours vs 4.5 hours), gardening (3.4 hours vs 4.2 hours), washing dishes, by hand or in a machine (3.8 hours vs 3.6 hours), or even doing shopping (3.3 hours vs. 4 hours). As such, we see that Europeans spend more time worrying about washing dishes than doing them. And the observation is the same for the management and payment of invoices (2 hours vs 1.9 hours).

The mental load worsened by the crisis?

The cost of living crisis seems to be all the more overwhelming for Europeans when it comes to managing and carrying out household chores. Nearly a quarter of them (24%) consider that it has made managing these tasks more stressful, compared to 19% who believe that it is now more difficult, and 17% that it has caused tension. among household members. We note that the observation is generally the same due to the increase in energy prices, the economic recession, and, to a lesser extent, due to climate change and geopolitical events.

As a result, if they could, Europeans would primarily like to reduce the costs linked to household chores, namely energy bills (38%), compared to spending less time on them (30%), reducing the quantity of tasks to be done at home (25%), reducing the mental load and stress associated with this work (25%), or even having more support from the rest of the household (20 %).

*This study was carried out in October 2023 by FleishmanHillard TRUE Global Intelligence, in partnership with Focaldata, for Samsung Electronics, among 6,066 European consumers from France, Central Europe, Spain, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom. United (between 1,004 and 1,018 respondents per country).