The Silver Lining to Staying at Home All the Time

If the gig economy isn't keeping us at home, it's our inability to pay for nights out with friends. We shop at home, we consume video at home, and we socialize at home. It's probably a far cry from how most of us grew up, but even if we're still adjusting to the new normal, we're reaping some benefits we might not have noticed yet.

Researchers have just shown that our lifestyle shift toward hanging out at home has created a significant drop in our energy usage. Thanks in large part to new technologies and more workplace flexibility, we're saving tons on transportation and we're contributing less to nonresidential energy use. The research team compared data between 2003 and 2012, and found, among other things, that young adults ages 18 to 24 spent 70 percent more time at home than before.

Overall, it works out to eight more days at home per year, one full day less of traveling, and one week less in nonresidential buildings. That's a huge shift in such a short span of time, and it may lead to further developments in at-home energy efficiency, since we lead so much of our lives there now. It's also a sign that we need to look out for our own mental health; being a homebody is great, but be sure you're not isolating yourself too much. Virtual friendships and communication are valid and real, but so is having a third space, if you're able.