Today as many parts of the world emerge from the pandemic, researchers are wondering which of our new habits are here to stay. In many wealthier countries that have benefited from several rounds of vaccination, the worst of the pandemic is over.
like wearing masks and sanitising our hands. We have developed a variety of social habits such as working from home, shopping online, travelling locally and socialising less to reduce the virus’s spread.
Here are some ways Covid has influenced how we live our lives thereby resulting in habits that are here to stay.
Individuals’ pre-pandemic love of international travel habits might take longer to recover. The travel sector has taken a hit around the world, and the sector is still struggling.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation projects that international travel in 2022 will still be down by nearly half compared to 2019.
People’s reluctance to travel has been largely due to concerns over the virus and confusion over travel rules. As worries decline and rules get lifted, we may see a “mini-boom” on holiday.
Are popular social-distancing habits like meeting fewer people and having less physical contact with those we end up meeting, here to stay? For most people, the answer is no. A study has shown that only one-third of people in the UK are still observing social distancing regularly as the pandemic has subsided
However, time will tell how much the pandemic will have changed our habits.
Bolder predictions that suggest that the pandemic was going to completely and irrevocably change the ways of working, shopping, travelling and socialising now seem premature and exaggerated. The pandemic has taught us how we can work, learn, shop and socialise in different ways.
Every human being has fundamental needs. Such needs include autonomy, emotions related to others, and feeling effective and capable in doing what they do. Part of the challenge with working from home, for example, is that it simultaneously fulfils the need and gives us greater autonomy while taking away another by making us less connected. Expanding adequately supported, equality-focused, hybrid and flexible working agreements is perhaps an acceptable way to meet both needs.
Some people will have developed a sense of competence, or at least an understanding of the modern ways of doing things during the pandemic and so may wish to keep doing them even after. When travelling overseas, for example, it may take longer for individuals’ competence, and confidence, in old habits of doing things to return.
However, many seem to return quite quickly to old ways and re-learning how to feel competent at doing things that they did before.
The extent to which we need to go back to our old ways would also depend on our personality traits, which have shaped our compliance with new behaviour. For example, those who are more open to new experiences by nature, or more extroverted, may be more eager to socialise in larger groups.
The pandemic didn’t build the habit of online shopping but it made more people do it as there was no alternative. This may have made a lot of people realise they don’t need actual stores anymore.
Shopping in physical stores has already started to recover hence the popularity of online shopping hasn’t been sustained.
A big change predicted during the pandemic was a long-term shift towards home or hybrid working. There are already signs that this transition might not be as obvious or complete as expected.
One of the main reasons people are going back to the office is employers’ expectations as companies are concerned that more permanent home working might affect employees’ team building, creativity and productivity.
But among employees, there’s a greater appetite for hybrid and flexible working.