This is the 9th insights digest of Segmanta’s Life During COVID-19 study. We conducted research in the US and the UK to understand how the recent pandemic has impacted consumerism, personal relationships, and mental health, along with general beliefs and concerns during this unusual time. More than 2,000 respondents completed the survey.
When facing a worldwide crisis like COVID-19, awareness of our mental state and sources of distress are more important than ever before. The global pandemic is shaking up our mental health and challenging the emotional balance in our lives. Factors such as home quarantine and social distancing can be depressing and boredom-inducing, especially for those who view it as a loss of freedom. We asked more than 2,000 individuals, the majority of whom are mothers, how they felt about their mental health during this unusual period.
71% of respondents in the U.K. and the U.S. who have concerns about the strength of their mental health are between the ages of 31 to 44 and 85% of them are mothers. The U.K. respondents with mental health concerns are 51% more likely to work mainly from home during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Working from home is a new source of stress
According to PwC’s Remote Work Survey conducted in the U.S. prior toCOVID-19, 39% of office employees anticipated working remotely at least once a week. This statistic shot up to 77% during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Looking to the future, 55% of respondents answered that they would like to continue this work routine even after the crisis ends.
While adapting to the new work-at-home environment, 44% of the respondents in our study who showed concern about mental health also found remote working challenging. Working moms from the U.K. felt more stressed about the negative impact on their quality of work as well as achieving full working hours every day, compared to U.S. respondents. The majority (41%) of working moms with mental health concerns also said that they had grown more distant (rated 2.1/5.0) from their co-workers due to virtual working. With more distractions at home and loud noises from young children and bored pets who are at home more, many of these moms find it hard to achieve the same level of focus as in the office. In addition to worrying about not being able to deliver quality work, lack of face-time with the team can lead to low efficiency, miscommunication, or even distrust, which many find frustrating.
Protecting children from the outside world
As parents, shielding children from the notorious Coronavirus is their first priority. U.K. respondents who worry about mental strength found making sure their children get enough outdoor time in a safe environment during home quarantine to be the most challenging (59%), 17% more likely compared to U.S. respondents.
When can they finally see their loved ones?
Social distancing affects businesses, schools, public services, and interpersonal relationships. Being isolated from others can lead to a series of negative emotions such as loneliness and depression. Many respondents long to see their family and be able to hug and kiss them, as elbow touches may not suffice.
. . .
While all of us are encountering various changes and struggles caused by the unprecedented pandemic, as consumers we expect brands and marketers to understand and help alleviate our mental burden by meeting our needs during this unusual time.
A number of brands took the initiative to improve people’s mental wellness during lockdown. For example, Oreo and Audi created various fun “challenges” on social media to keep audiences entertained during the quarantine and donate to people in need. Many organizations, such as the Metropolitan Opera also took advantage of virtual performances and provided online streaming options to brighten up the lockdown life. Since attending virtual meetings is required for many that work from home, companies like Zoom allow people to get creative by using hilarious virtual backgrounds and effects for a laugh during office calls, effectively lightening the mood.
Although no one was really prepared for a quickly-escalating situation like COVID-19, its impact tests our mental strength as we take extreme measures to protect our physical health. We need care and support from our loved ones, employers, society, and most importantly, ourselves. Since we are spending more time at home, it’s a great opportunity to nurture our mental health and stay optimistic when the world is going through a rough time.