Research recently conducted by Samsung Electronics has brought to light surprising data on the management of household chores in Europe: most people spend 86% of their time thinking about household tasks rather than actually doing them. This phenomenon, defined as “invisible load”, reflects the physical and mental tension that precedes the start of such tasks, highlighting the significant consequences on the time spent at home. The concept of “invisible load” was analyzed through a real index, developed in collaboration with Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer of Google and author of successful books such as Solve for Happy, Scary Smart and That Little Voice in Your Head. The index aims to rebalance the relationship between “thinking” and “doing” through a formula that considers the intensity, time and frequency of domestic activities, thus offering the possibility of calculating one’s personal invisible load.
The survey, which involved over 6,000 participants in Europe, shows that on average each person takes on at least seven household tasks per week, dedicating more than 30 hours to them, a commitment comparable to a full-time job. This burden is felt strongly: over half of those interviewed say they are stressed much of the time, and many find it difficult to maintain concentration on daily activities. Furthermore, the growing impact of the cost of living crisis exacerbates the situation, with over half of respondents reporting that rising energy costs make household chores more stressful and difficult to manage.
Among the main domestic activities regularly carried out are cleaning the house, shopping and managing bills, all characterized by a high emotional and physical commitment. Despite the availability of advanced home technologies for connected living, Europeans tend to spend more time on mental preparation than actually carrying out household tasks. 90% of Europeans believe that family members could be more efficient in managing household tasks and are well-disposed towards the potential offered by technology to help reduce the workload (48%). In Italy, in particular, there is a strong propensity towards the adoption of technologies for the connected home, with 58% of participants wanting greater integration of smart devices via mobile applications. The research also highlights a notable willingness of Italians (58%) and Spaniards to have a more connected home, with 60% of Italians already integrating smart home devices.
Mo Gawdat commented: “It is a true honor to collaborate with Samsung to develop the Invisible Burden Index which provides a European insight into the burden behind everyday household chores through an indicative scoring system. For our well-being, the way we spend our time at home is fundamental and for this reason it is important to follow healthy habits in our routine. This also helps us manage our to-do-list with ease. In this sense SmartThings is a valid help, because it allows us to automate some domestic activities and thus improve the quality of our free time at home”.
Nathan Sheffield, Head of IOT and SmartThings at Samsung Europe, added: “At Samsung we are always looking for new ways to help people save time and lighten their workload. In this sense, SmartThings opens the doors to a simpler, smarter and more connected world. To date, more than 300 brand partners support over 3,200 connected devices. By giving you complete control of your home and, above all, your domestic activities, SmartThings allows you to optimize the time spent taking care of your home, leaving room for other activities. With the Invisible Burden Index, we wanted to encourage dialogue on household workload across Europe. By stimulating people to become more aware of what we define as an invisible load, we hope that everyone can use the great benefits of technology.”