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Americans Work from Home, Watch TV and Sleep

For Americans who have nothing to do once their workdays end, watching television fills in many of the hours. Perhaps people have more time on their hands as many do not have to commute. People in the United States have moved further toward a sedentary and mindless existence, which is hardly what the nation needs as it struggles to compete with other countries in terms of productivity and continuing education.

The 2012 results of the “American Time Use Survey” put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows:

On the days they worked, 85 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at their workplace and 23 percent did some or all of their work at home. They spent more time working at the workplace than at home — 7.9 hours compared with 3.0 hours.

Recently employers have asked more frequently, and for good reason, whether those people who work from home can be productive, and whether their lack of exposure to other employees and management reduces their effectiveness because they are essentially isolated. Some companies have even made the decision to force their employees to come to work. The practice of “flex” hours” and time spent “working at home” may have begun to end.

While at home, after their work is over, Americans do not read or partake of other activities that might expand their horizons. They watch “Mad Men,” “Saturday Night Live” and other educational programs. The survey shows that:

Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for nearly three-quarters of an hour per day.

Put another way, some portion of the population can work from home, and then stay at home, isolated from social interaction.

As would be expected, Americans sleep, on average 8.73 hours a day. What ever happened to the notion “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

A summary of the data:

In 2012, on days they worked, 23 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Among workers age 25 and over, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely to work at home than were persons with less education — 38 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher performed some work at home on days worked compared with 5 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Working (by Employed Persons) in 2012

–Employed persons worked an average of 7.7 hours on the days they worked. More hours were worked, on average, on weekdays than on weekend days — 8.0 hours compared with 5.7 hours.

–On the days they worked, employed men worked 55 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked longer than women — 8.5 hours compared with 7.9 hours.

–Many more people worked on weekdays than on weekend days — 83 percent of employed persons worked on an average weekday, compared with 34 percent on an average weekend day.

–On the days they worked, 85 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at their workplace and 23 percent did some or all of their work at home. They spent more time working at the workplace than at home — 7.9 hours compared with 3.0 hours.

–Multiple jobholders were more likely to work on an average day than were single jobholders — 83 percent compared with 67 percent. (For a definition of average day, see the Technical Note.) Multiple jobholders also were more likely to work at home than were single jobholders — 34 percent compared with 22 percent.

–Self-employed workers were nearly three times more likely than wage and salary workers to have done some work at home on days worked — 56 percent compared with 20 percent. Self-employed workers also were more likely to work on weekend days than were wage and salary workers — 42 percent compared with 31 percent.

–On the days they worked, 38 percent of employed people age 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree or higher did some work at home, compared with only 5 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Household Activities in 2012

–On an average day, 82 percent of women and 65 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.

–On the days they did household activities, women spent an average of 2.6 hours on such activities, while men spent 2.0 hours.

–On an average day, 20 percent of men did housework — such as cleaning or doing laundry–compared with 48 percent of women. Thirty-nine percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 65 percent of women.

Leisure Activities in 2012

–On an average day, nearly everyone age 15 and over (96 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity, such as watching TV,
socializing, or exercising. Of those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (6.0 hours)
than did women (5.2 hours).

–Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time (2.8 hours per day), accounting for about half of leisure time, on average, for those age 15 and over. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for nearly three-quarters of an hour per day.

–Men were more likely than women to participate in sports, exercise, or recreation on any given day — 22 percent compared with 17 percent. On the days that they participated, men also spent more time in these activities than did women — 1.9 hours compared with 1.4 hours.

–On an average day, adults age 75 and over spent 7.7 hours engaged in leisure activities — more than any other age group; 25- to 34-year-olds spent 4.4 hours and 35- to 44-year-olds spent 4.3 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities — less than other age groups.

–Time spent reading for personal interest and playing games or using a computer for leisure varied greatly by age. Individuals age 75 and over averaged 1.0 hour of reading per weekend day and 20 minutes playing games or using a computer for leisure. Conversely, individuals ages 15 to 19 read for an average of 7 minutes per weekend day while spending 1.0 hour playing games or using a computer for leisure.

–Employed adults living in households with no children under age 18 engaged in leisure activities for 4.7 hours per day, about an hour more than employed adults living with a child under age 6.

Care of Household Children (by Adults in Households with Children) for the period 2008-12

–Adults living in households with children under age 6 spent an average of 2.0 hours per day providing primary childcare to household children. Adults living in households where the youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 17 spent less than half as much time providing primary childcare to household children — 47 minutes per day. Primary childcare is childcare that is done as a main activity, such as physical care of children and reading to or talking with children.

–On an average day, among adults living in households with children under age 6, women spent 1.1 hours providing physical care (such as bathing or feeding a child) to household children; by contrast, men spent 26 minutes providing physical care.

–Adults living in households with at least one child under age 6 spent an average of 5.4 hours per day providing secondary childcare — that is, they had at least one child in their care while doing activities other than primary childcare. Secondary childcare provided by adults living in households with children under age 6 was most commonly provided while doing leisure activities (2.1 hours) or household activities (1.3 hours).

–Adults living in households with children under age 6 spent more time providing primary childcare on an average weekday (2.1 hours) than on an average weekend day (1.7 hours). However, they spent less time providing secondary childcare on weekdays than on weekend days — 4.5 hours compared with 7.6 hours.