This is the 5th 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, the job market, along with general beliefs and opinions during this unusual time. More than 2,000 respondents completed the survey.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, we were required to keep a social distance from one another. The dynamic of relationships completely changed: Spouses became 24/7 comrades aiding in the juggle between work and childcare; children became (sometimes very needy) co-workers; parents turned into distant relatives, and friends and co-workers became long-distance relationships.
Have relationships grown closer or more distant when people were driven to spend more time together or forced apart? We asked our survey respondents to rate their interactions with their spouses, children, parents, friends, and co-workers during their home quarantine.
With Partners/Significant Others
Almost half (48%) of respondents from both the U.S. and U.K. said their relationships with their partners/significant others grew somewhat closer over the period of the COVID-19 lockdown. Due to quarantine social distancing restrictions, many couples who live together spend a lot more time together. Long-distance couples who do not cohabitate have to stay apart, sadly, making it a tricky time for everyone.
Since the pandemic, schools, kindergartens, and daycares closed and most children remained at home with their parents. Our respondents felt that they had become closer with their children during the pandemic. 79% of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that they spent more quality time as a family during the crisis. The majority of parents also felt that their kids became more independent as a result of the pandemic, perhaps due to less structured schooling and activities. Parents report feeling more involved in their children’s education and more creative in finding ways to entertain them.
On the other hand, relationships with children can be a handful especially for parents who need to fit in a full workday along with childcare. According to our survey, the majority of respondents say that having children around during work hours is challenging.
Visiting parents was out of the question during social distancing. 25% of respondents say that their relationship with their parents had grown a bit distant during the home quarantine. 79% say they connected with family and friends through video chat during the pandemic. Looking into the near future, many voiced concerns about safely visiting their families again.
Forced to stay at home, a quarter of respondents claimed they grew distant from their friends. Most respondents spent time with their friends through video chat and on social media platforms. During a pandemic, many, however, may find that their friendships grow deeper as they inquire and check up on the physical and emotional wellbeing of friends.
Working remotely has certainly become the new norm for many people, and in many cases can lead to decreased efficiency, clarity, and structure in the workplace. Similarly, many respondents say they have become more distant with their coworkers during the lockdown.
In the wake of COVID-19, more companies now realize that working remotely is a new, maybe permanent shift required for successful organizations. Adapting to new work-from-home norms and establishing new workflows to maintain inter-colleague relationships is crucial for getting the job done during social distancing.
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Who knew that the pandemic would become the driving force for us to spend more time at home? No one could foresee that spouses would be forced to spend (sometimes too much) time with each other, extended families would stay apart, friends wouldn’t be able to meet up, and co-workers would be seen only through a computer screen.
While hoping this madness is all temporary, people are trying to spend quality time with their loved ones and stay optimistic in this unusual situation. COVID-19 has made us reevaluate our relationships and try new ways to get along. No matter what kind of connection you have with the people around you, in this special time, we need care, encouragement, and love. Through the crisis, we are also learning how to better cherish the people dear to us in our lives.