Report: How We Spent Our Time In Lockdown

This is a Time Use Survey from the Government explaining the differences between how people in Great Britain spent their time during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in March and April 2020 and March 2021.

Main points

  • How we spent our time changed substantially between the first lockdown (March to April 2020) and March 2021; we spent less time on indoor activities and more on outdoor activities and socialising in person, according to new analysis of Time Use Survey data.
  • The behavioural changes over this period were largely related to changes in government restrictions and adapting to living in a pandemic, even when factoring in whether someone had a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine dose by March 2021; for example, those without a vaccine spent 10 more minutes socialising, while those who received a vaccine spent 7 more minutes socialising.
  • The main difference in changes in behaviour from 12 months ago between those with or without a vaccine dose were in changes to time spent working, explained by differences in age and occupation.
  • Among the non-vaccinated (more likely to be younger and employed in jobs outside of healthcare) there was an increase in time spent working, whereas there was little change for people with at least one vaccine dose.
  • While most home-based activities shifted back closer to patterns seen before the pandemic (such as watching less TV), we spent more time working from home compared with the first lockdown.
  • Longer hours spent working may explain why non-vaccinated people were sleeping about 35 minutes less than in the first lockdown; in comparison, those who had received a vaccine slept for a similar amount of time but spent more time resting, possibly as they were recovering from their vaccine.
  • The impact of schools reopening coincided with the time parents spent on childcare decreasing by over 30%, which appeared to free up more time for working; this change particularly applied to those who had not yet received a vaccine, who were more likely to be parents.
  • The gender gap in unpaid work was smaller than it was before the start of the pandemic but was still substantial; in March 2021, women spent an average of 56 minutes more time per day on unpaid household work than men.

Read full Survey Results