I’m sure we’ve all had that sinking feeling of ‘did I lock the door’ or, ‘did I turn the cooker off’ after you’ve left the house.
If you’re lucky, or just extra cautious, you’ve got time to nip back and double check. However, when you’ve left for a holiday, the worry of having left your house unsecured can be stressful.
A new study has revealed the majority of Brits rely on ‘house-sitters’ to give them peace of mind when they’re away on holiday.
In a pol of 2,000 UK adults, two thirds said they depend on friends, family and neighbours to check in on their homes while they jet off on their summer break.
Yet 35 per cent admit they can’t relax unless they know someone is keeping an eye on their property.
The key reasons we turn to house-sitters are to pick-up the post, water plants, keep pets fed, and provide regular status updates.
The study was commissioned by Hive, the smart home technology company, who also found three in 10 people would enjoy their holiday more if they could check in on their home remotely.
More than one in three would also feel more at ease if they could rely on a ‘virtual house-sitter’.
Tom Guy, global product director at Hive, said:
Getting away for the summer holiday is something we all look forward to, but as our research shows, we often jet off wondering if everything is well back home.
Fearing we have forgotten to switch things off, or worried about unexpected events like a leak, leaves many unable to relax, forcing them to rely on others to check in.
Smart home technology gives another option, creating a ‘virtual house sitter’ who can watch over your home, update you of anything untoward, and allow you to check in as often as you want from afar – giving you priceless peace of mind.
It also emerged the thought of leaving their homes unattended for prolonged periods is simply too much to bear for half of those polled.
Among the biggest worries we have when we go away are ‘did I lock up properly?’, ‘is my pet okay?’ and ‘I hope my plants are alive.’
Other anxieties include ‘did I put my out of office on?’, ‘did I shut the windows?’ and ‘did I set the house alarm?’
One fifth have left for a much-deserved holiday only to turn back due to worries such as leaving appliances switched on, or not locking the front door.
And 16 per cent haven’t been able to shake such fears during their getaway – resorting to calling someone back home to check everything is okay.
But four in 10 feel bad asking somebody to check in on their dwellings – and many others have nagging doubts over how reliable they’ll be.
These include fears the front door will be left unlocked, items will be damaged, things will be left on or off – and even that the house-sitter will go through their belongings.
Almost one fifth said tech, which alerts them when there are unexpected movements or sounds, would help put their minds at ease, such as lights which ‘mimic’ how we turn lights on and off day to day, or a sensor which alerted them to any unusual activity or water flow in their homes.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.