How will everyday life change, post-COVID-19?

How will everyday life change, post-COVID-19?

From work to our mental health, family life to the way we shop, Alison Izzo spoke to experts in their respective fields to understand how life might change after the coronavirus pandemic is (finally) over. Consider this a crystal ball for your near-future. 

Social isolation restrictions are slowly but surely being eased, and as we busy ourselves with the details of when we can eat at our local cafe again, or attend our regular gym, or even – maybe – go back to the office, there are some larger and potentially more permanent changes that may happen to life as we know it. Or, knew it.

I hate to use such an overused term, but the coronavirus pandemic has indeed delivered us the definition of ‘unprecedented times’, and with it brought vast changes to the way the work, shop, think and live at home with our families. It might be fun to consider what we can and can’t do according to the government right now, but I think what’s happening on the long-term front is far more fascinating. And for once, it’s not all bad news.

I spoke to a number of experts in the fields of family life, mental health, shopping and work to see how they think Australian life is most likely to change after the immediate threat of COVID-19 has passed. Strap in…

How will our mindsets change?

Dr Karen Phillip, a counselling psychotherapist and relationship expert, and author of Communication Harmony, suggests that things could be both positive, and negative for our mental health as we move back to ‘normality’ (whatever that ends up looking like).

She says, “We should experience an uplift of joy and celebration when restrictions are lifted. [We’ll see] far more socialising, getting out, and travelling locally.”

However, there are some long-term drawbacks to look out for, too. She explains, saying “We expect an increase in mental health issues as some people struggle to deal with their experience, especially those who have been living alone. We will have some people facing both fear and paranoia about such a vicious virus returning. Everyone needs to understand we have all been affected differently, some more intensely than others. Psychological trauma can lead to a range of escalated emotions and challenges.”

“COVID-19 is a traumatic event that created considerable fear. Responses can include grief, despair, confusion, depression and anxiety which may present after lockdown ceases and normality returns.”

“We need to talk and share about how we feel rather than keep it within… Speaking to close family, friends or a counsellor [even online] can be extremely beneficial. Those who have Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available through their workplace have the great advantage of being able to process their feelings and emotions with the help of a professional counsellor.”

“Returning to normal for some will be enjoyed, while for others it will result in trepidation. Allow yourself time to step back into normal life again, accept how you feel, and understand that any unexpected feelings will pass. And even sooner, with the right support.”

How will work life change?

CEO of talent agency The Lifestyle Suite and ex-director at Macquarie Bank Simone Landes speaks to how she see our working lives change after coronavirus, as she has seen first hand with her business and her clients’ businesses.

She asserts, “I think it’s already becoming evident the pandemic has proven a number of things, one being we can successfully work from home. That means large numbers of us will be reconsidering how we go back to work, and what that looks like for us.”

“Businesses will be thinking about the unnecessary overheads of big office spaces. I think we’ll also expect things – especially online offerings – to be quicker and more efficient…It’s a different world to the one we knew six weeks ago and we all need to respond to that.

I think we’ve all experienced what it’s like to miss real human connection, and whilst some parts of our work will benefit from the shift to virtual, I think there will be a real adjustment period when the time comes for us to return to the office environment. Whilst we’ll crave that contact initially, we’ll start to see a push from employees to spend more time working from home now that their staff have proven their ability to do so. Flexible work practices is something that will become the norm.”

“Inherent in that, will be a need to really establish successful boundaries between home and work. It may be a novelty now, but a home office could be a special hell in a few months if we don’t delineate the time and space for when we’re at work, and when we’re at home – regardless of the physicality of where we are.”

How will family life change?

Dr Claire Tanner and Professor Jo Lindsay are both experts on gender and families from the School of Social Sciences at Monash University, and lent their combined thoughts on how COVID-19 many knock-on effects to home-life, especially to working parents with school age children, may herald some long-term change for Australian families.

Dr Tanner and Prof Lindsay say we cannot downplay how greatly this has effected family units, both in good and in bad ways: “Families have been thrown together for an extended period of time – which has had some positive effects…. [the benefits of which include] slowing down and enjoying time together, engaging in more traditional ways of connecting with board games and cooking together… For working mothers, the intensity, time and effort that women put into the daily juggle of paid work, family management and schooling has become more visible. Fathers have also been given a crash course in the possibilities and challenges of working from home and sharing care.”

But for every upside, there is a downside. “It hasn’t all been rosy though, families have also been under enormous pressure – conflict levels have risen, as has domestic violence and parenting disputes. Divorce is expected to rise following lockdown, as it has in other countries.”

Dr Karen Phillip backs this prediction up, saying “We are in uncharted waters with the aftermath of COVID however, from previous experience, we can expect an increase in separations and divorce rates in the year following the lockdown, plus an increase in births over the next eight to nine months.”

Some lessons that Dr Tanner and Prof Lindsay predict we may stick long after restrictions lift include “Men may be more willing to take on flexible work to spend time with their children,” families “may continue to eat well – cooking things from scratch eg casseroles with beans and sourdough bread,” “family exercise, such as going to parks and bike rides, may continue to be cherished activities and “the pressure will be taken off working mothers when supports outside the home kick in again.”

How will our shopping habits change?

Kellie Hush, ex-Harper’s BAZAAR editor knows a lot about what women want to buy. And why. Even more so as the content editor for Swedish payments provider, Klarna.

She freely admits that she has personally “been online “nesting” shopping while working from home over the past few months.” And what is “nesting” shopping? The buying of “books, comfortable clothing – like jeans and sweaters – and stocking up on my favourite candles and doing that boring job of buying new linen.” And she thinks it’s a habit that isn’t going anywhere.

She elaborates, saying “Online sales in Australia have skyrocketed over March and April and that trend is expected to be more permanent as consumers, especially older shoppers, feel more comfortable shopping online and as retailers offer new options, such as kerb-side pickup and retail-to-go options.”

And it could be personality-based, as Hush explains that “According to a new report from Klarna, emotional types have the biggest appetite for shopping and browsing is now a national pastime, which is not surprising considering we are spending so much more time on technology.”

“We won’t know for months what the true impact of COVID-19 will have on retailers, which is why I will continue to shop and support local retailers where and when I can – and have got behind the #WeWearAustralian campaign supporting the Australian fashion industry through this crisis.”

For the long-term?

So, to summarise – we’re looking down the barrel of a future filled with more local travel, more celebrating the little things, more bike rides, more home cooking, more flexible working arrangements, more online shopping – but thoughtfully from local producers, more equal division of care for working parents, more anxiety, but also more value being placed on human connection. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s not all bad.

Simone Landes surmises that a wider cultural shift is happening – even now, stating that “the move back to focusing on our health as a priority, globally, has already resulted in a shift of values, even before the full set of restrictions has been lifted.”

“We’re all looking for a lot more compassion, consideration and empathy in both our personal and professional lives. I think this has shown us our health really is the most important thing and that will be an important driver in our future behaviour.”

Let’s hope she’s right.

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Back to top