Working away from home

Working away from home includes working in locations outside of the home, such as undertaking delivery or taxi activities, working in a shop or restaurant or working in an office.

Working from home

Working from home includes working either from home or cafés and selling things online or showing people around your home to sell it. In the context of the 2020 Time Use Survey it also includes people who would normally work from offices undertaking work from home, as was necessary for many during the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequently.

Unpaid work

Unpaid work is a combined variable, meaning that it incorporates a range of other activities which are also reported on separately within this study. The seven components of unpaid work are: housework/cooking; travel; household management; developmental childcare; non-developmental childcare; study and other unpaid work.


Housework/cooking includes activities concerned with domestic work, for example: making food and drinks, cooking or washing up; cleaning, hoovering, tidying the house; washing up and ironing, washing or mending clothes.


Travel comprises of travel/ transport, e.g. walking, driving. It includes travel for leisure, such as going on holiday, day trips, and commuting to and from work.

Household management

Household management includes running errands and going to appointments (for example going to the bank) and food/drink shopping. It does not include leisure shopping, for example clothes shopping.

Developmental childcare

Developmental childcare includes activities that influence physical, language, thought and emotional changes in children, which help their development. Activities include: reading, playing with, or helping children with homework. In the 2020 OTUS developmental childcare could also include scenarios where it was the primary (or main) activity - the only activity taking place - as well as situations where developmental childcare was a secondary activity. For example, looking after the child while they, or you, are doing another activity.

Non-developmental childcare

Non-developmental childcare includes activities such as feeding, washing, dressing or preparing meals for children. In the 2020 OTUS non-developmental childcare could include scenarios where it was the primary (or main) activity - the only activity taking place - as well as situations where developmental childcare was a secondary activity. For example looking after the child while they, or you, are doing another activity.


The activity of ‘study’ is made up of the following activities: attending formal education, lectures, classes, university (not for leisure); taking a course for fun, and studying, revising or homework time. It should be noted that studying includes activities carried our directly by the respondent and doesn’t include, for example, helping a child with homework.

Other unpaid work

Other unpaid work includes activities which a person could choose to pay someone else to do, but do for themselves or other for free. Examples include: DIY, gardening, pet care, repairing and maintaining or making household goods, or vehicles and browsing things to buy later.

Free time

Free time is made up of a range of social, leisure, cultural and entertainment activities. When allocating codes in the free time category it was decided not to include social, leisure, cultural and entertainment activities which took place while looking after children.

Leisure/social activities

Leisure/social activities include leisure activities which have a social element. For instance, socialising, spending time with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues; telephoning, texting, emailing or writing letters with friends and family; playing team sports, and playing other sports and exercising, including hiking. This activity category also includes cultural activities: such as visits to the cinema, theatre, concerts, sporting events, museums, galleries and the library, and health and wellbeing activities including meditating, having a massage, spa or well-being treatment.

Other leisure activities

The other leisure activities category includes leisure activities which do not have as much of a social element, for example: browsing the internet, watching TV, Blu-ray or DVDs, streaming TV or videos on the internet for entertainment (e.g. Netflix, Now TV or Youtube), listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, or playing games/ computer gaming. It doesn’t include looking after a child while doing an ‘other leisure activity’.

Personal care

The activity of personal care includes activities which a person does for themselves. This includes personal fitness, such as running or going to the gym; eating, snacking and drinking; showering and getting ready, as well as sleeping.

Personal fitness

Personal fitness includes running or jogging, gym, fitness, and exercise classes, and other health or wellbeing activity. Specifically, these are exercises which are often done alone for specific health benefits.

Other personal care

The other personal care category includes activities such as drinking (e.g. tea, coffee, alcohol), eating/eating out/having a takeaway, snacking, showering and getting ready, and using the bathroom.