The pandemic has caused adverse side effects throughout all major aspects of life. It’s changed how we move through our days, the people we interact with, how we work, and our plans for the future. Our daily routines were all condensed into the spaces of our homes that left us with little breathing room. The isolation took its toll on both our physical and mental health. The decreased movement caused increased fatigue, unwanted weight gain or loss, and even affected our appetites.
Fewer opportunities for socialization, especially those who live alone, cause increased feelings of stress and anxiety. Managing our new normal became significantly harder to do with ever-changing health and safety protocols that prevented us from establishing a new routine. Adaptability or our willingness to change became the primary factor in helping us adjust to these unique circumstances. As the pandemic goes on, most people have actually found a way to use all these events as a trigger for positive change.
Looking at what some may consider a silver in the pandemic has been our ability to take a closer look and reassess how we want to live. The workforce has now developed a more substantial need for a better work-life balance. Socialization with friends, families, and colleagues is of increased importance. Our homes have become the focal points of our lives, with a bigger focus on outdoor spaces. As consumers, our purchasing patterns have also shifted as we prioritize newer experiences and long-lasting contentment not usually found in material possessions.
The pandemic forced us all into a simpler life, a smaller circle of people, fewer opportunities to visit new places, and new working environments. The hustle and bustle in major cities died down as streets were left without regular pedestrians and reduced public transportation. Due to schools shutting down, we also found more children staying indoors, turning homes into pseudo-classrooms.
These difficult times have highlighted what we consider the necessities in our daily lives. Without the noise drowning out our inner thoughts, many people found more opportunities for reflection and pursued newer, more balanced lifestyles.
Working from home
Remote working became the go-to for many companies that couldn’t afford to shut down during the lockdowns. Turning our homes into offices blurred the lines of spaces meant for relaxation and blended them with productivity. Managing to distinguish the two was undoubtedly tricky, but as the lockdowns went on, we quickly saw that productivity could be driven at an individual level. They were keeping employees happy with flexible working hours, providing them with proper health and safety, and allowing them time off to recharge replaced the initiatives done at the office.
While more collaborative projects that involved multiple moving parts were still thriving in face-to-face conditions, individual outputs still saw a stable increase. Simplifying our daily work routines allowed us to focus on the task at hand better.
Due to health and safety protocols, many people kept their social circles small. A bubble of people who primarily only interacted with each other served better for contact tracing purposes in case of any health issues. This pushed us to focus on these relationships and friendships with a fresh set of eyes. We were developing more profound and more meaningful connections with the people who were there with us through one of the most challenging times the world has seen.
As the world begins to open up again and businesses start to open their doors, our social gatherings have also evolved due to the pandemic. Outdoor spaces have become more popular not only because people feel safer in open public spaces but because people want to feel like they’re getting back out there again. Open restaurants with patios and outdoor seating, open-air events places such as gardens and beach fronts, and even weddings at barn venues offer you a way to see your loved ones without being in a confined space with other people you don’t know.
The lockdowns greatly limited purchasing opportunities for almost all consumers, moving mostly traffic to e-commerce avenues. Typically, changes in consumer behavior are driven by major life events such as having children or moving to a new city. Even then, we as humans are creatures of habit, but our priorities shifted during the time we spent indoors. Those of us who loved eating at fancy restaurants transitioned to making meals at home; before the pandemic, cooking was almost considered a lost art and not a necessity in every household.
Delivery options and excellent restaurants meant we didn’t need to learn the particular skill of cooking. Due to the pandemic, however, we’re seeing consumers move to buy more fresh produce and healthier options as a way to better take care of their health. Getting back to basics and having less processed and fast food is another way to show how consumers went for simplicity over convenience.
The new normal is still constantly developing and morphing new and interesting behaviors out of us. More than ever, what’s clear is that there’s a focus on our overall health and wellness that’ll only prove to better our lives moving forward.