VILNIUS (Reuters) – A shower before work? Not any more, say many residents of the Lithuanian capital, who like people around the globe have got used to working from home over the past year to help halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Highlighting the shift in people’s daily habits, a gauge in the control centre of the Vilnius Central Heating Company that tracks hot water consumption in 220,000 households around the city now shoots up around mid-morning.
“Peak hot water usage on workdays always used to be between 6 and 8 am, so before work, but now we see the peak between 10 and 11 am. This is obviously because of the pandemic,” said company CEO Gerimantas Bakanas.
“A lot of people are working from home and obviously when they get up they no longer take a shower.”
Lithuania has been in its latest lockdown since December. Shops, restaurants and offices are closed, and schools have moved online, so people mostly stay at home.
“Now we get up, we prepare breakfast for the kids and do some tasks at our computers, and after that, at around 10, we eat our breakfast and take a shower,” said Rimgaudas Leonavicius, who lives with his wife, three children and two dogs in the historic old town of Vilnius.
“It was different before the lockdown… Showers came first. But now there’s no more rush, and we can spend our mornings as we like”, said Rimgaudas.
But mid-morning showers are not for everyone.
“I was taking a late shower one day, and my 7-year old came in with the laptop, asking for help to turn on the camera for her class,” said Aurelija, a manager at a local bank who is now working from home.
“Then I heard her teacher saying, ‘Oh no, I can see the camera is definitely not off’!” said Aurelija, who now makes a point of showering before the family gets up.
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