Your experiences during lockdown, from concerns about your work, inability to do the things you would normally wish to do, to worries about your loved ones, mirror those of people across the UK. This collective experience of stress and upheaval on a national scale has inspired many shifts in our priorities.
Over the past few months, you’ve probably reflected on how 2020 has affected your habits and values. Whether you now want to spend more time with your family or make sure you’re better prepared for whatever the future may hold, others are likely to be in the same position.
Read on to find out about five common ways the last few months have changed our behaviour and shifted our views.
- People want continued flexible working
The most immediately noticeable changes are those to our daily lives. The most obvious is that working from home has become the norm for millions of people across the country.
According to UK Tech News, only 10% of office-based workers in the UK had worked from home before lockdown. Now, 65% of people have experienced long-term remote working.
Most people expect this trend to continue. Respondents to a People Management survey revealed that 81% of employees are planning on working remotely at least one day a week in the future.
You may also want to work less. According to Work There, the ideal working week in the UK has reduced by 10% compared to last year. People aged 35 to 54, in particular, hope to have more free time, with their average working week of 36 hours ideally reduced to just 29.
This mass exodus from offices during lockdown has opened our eyes to the possibilities of flexible working.
- Our idea of a dream home has changed
Spending more time at home may have made you think about the changes you’d like to make to your house. In fact, Best Advice reports that after lockdown more than a quarter of people have reconsidered what they want from their ideal home.
Lockdown may have revealed how functional the spaces in your house truly are. More than a quarter of people now want larger kitchens and bedrooms, and half would like a bigger garden. And, perhaps thanks to the possibilities of remote working, 52% of people no longer feel the need to live in a city.
According to Unbiased, the demand for houses rose by 88% when house sales in England restarted. If lockdown helped you recognise what you truly want in a home, you may now be able to finally start looking.
- We are more community-focused
Lockdown has also had a significant effect on our relationships. During months of limited interaction with the outside world, you may have missed your connections to friends and family. This sudden distance could have helped you realise just how much you value your relationships.
In fact, The Times reports that out of those who spent lockdown alone, 59% now value their relationships much more.
Despite the isolation and worries about our nearest and dearest, people in the UK now have stronger ties to our larger communities. According to The Relationship Project, 40% of us now feel a stronger sense of community. This has translated into tangible acts of kindness, with almost 20% of adults spending more than three hours a week during lockdown taking care of others.
We have also become more open to charitable donations. Although many good causes have experienced financial difficulties this year, UK Fundraising reports that 24% of people view charities in a more positive light.
The likelihood of people donating even a small sum has increased by 12% overall, with 64% of those who donated during lockdown planning to donate again within the next three months.
- Mental health awareness has increased
Like any change, let alone change that comes with worries about the health of your loved ones, the last few months may have affected your mental health.
The Office for National Statistics reported a surge in people experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety during lockdown. 80% of people reported that the pandemic affected their wellbeing, with adults twice as likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety compared to last year.
Fortunately, this has created better mental health awareness in the UK. Mental health charity Mind recently called on the government to do more to invest in community mental health services, and according to the Independent, more people have sought therapy in recent weeks.
Google Trends statistics also show that Google searches for Mental Health Awareness Week increased by 32% during the event this May compared to searches in 2019. This indicates general awareness of mental health issues in the UK has grown thanks to the events of 2020.
This can only be a good thing. Accessing mental health care in the UK could be easier now, and you may be able to recognise when your family and friends could do with some support.
- People save more money
Lockdown may have made you value your savings more, as having a financial safety net in uncertain situations can be a comfort. Wanting this sense of financial security during lockdown appealed to many people in the UK, as according to the Independent there was a 28% increase in savings enquiries to some financial advice firms after lockdown started.
Since then, New Model Adviser reports that people have continued to save money. People in the UK usually save a collective £4 billion each month; this has grown to an impressive £25 billion per month during lockdown.
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that having several months’ worth of savings can be invaluable in case of emergencies. In fact, just having access to savings can improve your life.
This was illustrated in a study by Lloyds Bank, which showed that 74% of people who consistently contribute to their savings feel happy, as opposed to only 36% of those who do not have savings. The peace of mind that savings can give you is a trend you should keep up.
Get in touch
If your plans, goals, or priorities have changed over recent months, we’re here to chat through the financial implications. Find out how we can give you the confidence you need to make changes – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 313 1370.