From weekend warriors to weekend workers

18 March, 2021

Almost half of home workers are spending more time at their desks at weekends than pre-lockdown

Enjoy some free time at the weekend thanks to Bord Gáis Energy’s new flexible smart plans

  • 71% of the nation are struggling to differentiate the weekends from the weekdays.
  • 47% finding it hard to separate their home and work lives; with almost half finding they work more at weekends than pre-lockdown.
  • Making the most of weekends; 6 in 10 are enjoying getting outdoors while 46% have turned to takeaway meal boxes as their weekend treat.
  • Dinner dates, traveling outside restricted areas and going to the pub with friends listed as the main things the nation is missing from weekend life.
  • With more time being spent at home, consumers are conscious of higher energy bills; with 61% powering up lighting and heat for longer periods, while 42% admit to using more Wi-Fi and personal appliances.
  • Bord Gáis Energy’s new range of smart plans offer ‘Free Time Saturdays’ and ‘Free Time Sundays’ for customers with smart meters, allowing them to save money, improve energy efficiency and be kinder to the environment.

Almost half of home workers admit to working more at weekends than pre-lockdown while 71% say they struggle to make the weekends feel different from Monday to Friday; that’s according to new research by Bord Gáis Energy.

The survey of 1,000 people which examines how the nation is spending their time in lockdown, was carried out to mark the launch of Bord Gáis Energy’s new range of smart plans, helping customers make the most of their smart meters.  The smart plans include a choice of either 'Free Time Saturday’ or ‘Free Time Sunday’ offers, giving Bord Gáis Energy customers free electricity between 9am and 5pm on their specified day at weekends. Additionally, Bord Gáis Energy’s ‘Discount Weekend Plan’ gives customers a night rate all weekend, meaning lower energy costs from 11pm on Friday, right through to 8am on Monday.

Learn more about Smart

Weekend Energy

With very little to differentiate the weekend from weekdays, it’s perhaps no surprise that over half (53%) of people polled admit to using their free time at the weekends for more mundane tasks like doing the household chores. However, 63% say they try and make the weekend feel different by using their free time to enjoy the great outdoors while a quarter have a designated date night at the weekends.

Almost half have been investing their free time in a new hobby or skill; 32% say they have taken up running, cycling, or walking; while 31% have started baking and 19% have become involved in arts and crafts.

Despite being in the house more there are some past at-home indulgences we’re keen to reinject to our homelives, with almost 1 in 4 (24%) looking forward to entertaining around live sporting or music events at home, and nearly 20% longing for a little bit of me-time in the house to relax.

Positive energy

While lockdown has been a challenge, the results of the survey show that many will take positives from the experience. More than a half (56%) pledge to continue spending more time with their family post lockdown and 51% say they hope to continue with a better work/life balance and enjoy more time at home. A third vow to keep up their new hobby and 35% say they will continue their fitness routine.

Although those polled are keen to keep up with the positives, the nation can’t wait to reembrace some of the weekend’s more typical pursuits; with more than half missing a restaurant meal with friends and family (57%) and more than 1 in 3 longing for the moment that they can reunite with friends in bars and pubs (35%).

Smart Energy

While there have been positives to spending more time at home, the latest Bord Gáis Energy research highlights that consumers are concerned about energy usage given the increase in time spent within their household. Heating and lighting use are the biggest concern among respondents, with 61% saying their usage has increased substantially, while 42% have been using more Wi-Fi and personal appliances due to working from home. Nearly 40% of all respondents are concerned by extra energy consumption driven by the use of extra usage driven by the use of kitchen appliances; with all meals being prepared and made in the kitchen too.

When asked about the concerns around higher energy use, Ireland’s number one worry was shown to be around energy estimates, with a fear that estimated meter reads will lead to higher accurate bills, or higher estimates in future. Bord Gáis Energy’s new smart plans alleviate this worry with real-time usage monitoring, smart bills and time of use tariffs; helping consumers measure their energy consumption better and get ahead of bills.

As the national roll out of smart meters continues, the Bord Gáis Energy research found consumers to be most motivated by saving money on their monthly bills, with consumers wanting to arm themselves with knowledge around which times of the week are cheapest for usage. Customers also want to put an end to estimates, with Bord Gáis Energy’s smart meter plans doing just that.

Colin Bebbington, Retail Director at Bord Gáis Energy said “The roll out of smart meters in Ireland offers Irish households access to more timely, detailed information of their energy usage; and with so many people working from home right now, improving energy efficiency and alleviating pricing concerns is high on the agenda.

We’re hoping our new smart plans and Free Time Saturday and Free Time Sunday offers will help in motivating Ireland to smarten up around energy usage at weekends – and inspire them to use their own energy and free time to brighten up their Saturdays and Sundays, and enjoy the things they love.”

Learn more about Smart

Bord Gáis Energy’s innovative and flexible smart energy plans will help customers make the most out of their smart meters with bumper benefits for billpayers including No-more Estimated Bills, Time of Use Tariffs, Flexible Billing Options, Lower Carbon Footprint and New Smart Bills. Customers who have smart meters installed will be able to avail of a market-first range of smart energy plans; helping the nation to save money, improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint – while enjoying free electricity each Saturday or Sunday.

Full Terms and Conditions and further information regarding Bord Gáis Energy’s new Smart Plan selection can be found at

* Free Time units are available on 9am to 5pm on Saturday or Sunday each week. Customers can choose which “Free Day” they prefer at sign-up (Saturday or Sunday).

iReach Insights conducted this research, examining travel behaviour. The research conducted is nationally representative by Age, Gender, Region, SES and received 1,000 responses.