Sex, washing and the weekly shop: What Brits WFH are fitting in around their daily workload

A woman working from home (WFH)
A new study has found that people are napping, having sex and shopping online while WFH (Getty Images)

How has WFH (working from home) affected your work-life balance? Perhaps you have more time to exercise now that you’ve ditched your two-hour return commute? Or maybe you're enjoying more time to whip up a nutritious lunch, or even the opportunity for an afternoon quickie...

A new survey has found that one in 10 Brits are having sex when they should be working, and that 77% of people have done something they shouldn’t while working from home.

Men are twice as likely to admit to having sex during the workday than women, the annual LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Report found. Younger people are also more likely to have sex during working hours, with 17% of under-35s admitting they’ve had sex during the working day compared to 9% of 36 to 54-year-olds and 2% of over-55s.

Read more: Major trial of four-day work week results in happier employees and higher revenue - Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read

But it’s not just sex that people are using their working from home hours for, 16% of the 3,000 respondents said they have taken naps during their working hours, 40% have admitted to doing the laundry, while 35% said they have done some household chores while on the clock.

A woman naps infront of her laptop
16% of people have taken a nap during their working hours while working from home. (Getty Images)

A further 25% of respondents have watched a TV show or film, while 28% have shopped online and 9% have worked on a side hustle.

The most common non-working activities to do when working from home

  1. Do the laundry - 40%

  2. Household chores and cleaning - 35%

  3. Cook a meal - 32%

  4. Shop online - 28%

  5. Watch a TV show or film - 25%

  6. Multitask while on a video call - 22%

  7. Watch a sports match - 19%

  8. Exercise - 18%

  9. Do the weekly shop - 16%

  10. Sleep/have a nap - 16%

  11. Walk the dog - 15%

  12. Have sex - 10%

  13. Work on a side hustle - 9%

  14. Gaming - 8%

  15. DIY decorating or gardening - 7%

  16. Drinking alcohol - 7%

  17. Have a beauty treatment - 3%

The survey also found that those who have a hybrid working set up, which sees them split their working days between the home and the office, are happier than those who work in the office full time.

“While most employers would not condone Brits doing non-work activities when they should be on the job, getting a good work-life balance is vital, and working from home offers people the opportunity to be more flexible with their time, so that they can balance their work – and play – in a way that suits them and their families,” says Emma Walker, Chief Growth Officer at LifeSearch.

Read more: Working from home might be seriously impacting your mental health - Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read

“In fact, our research shows that people who work remotely, or have hybrid working arrangements are happier than those that are fully in a workplace. Furthermore, when asked what is most important for happiness, work-life balance came third, behind strong relationships and children.”

Working from home, of course, became more prevalent following the initial Covid outbreak in March 2020 and the subsequent lockdowns in the UK.

Father working in home office with  young daughter on shoulders
Most people say working from home makes them happier and gives them a better work-life balance. (Getty Images)

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, at its peak around 49% of working adults reported that they worked from home in the first half of 2020. In 2022, this number dropped to 38%, and the latest figures from February 2023 show that around 40% of adults still work from home in some capacity, be it full time or in a hybrid set-up.

The 2023 data found that 16% of adults work solely from home, while 28% have a mix of at home days and office days.