Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, millions of workers started working from home. This was in response to the quarantine restrictions and social distancing protocols being enforced by the local governments. To ensure the health safety of their workers and the survival of the company during the pandemic, companies transitioned to a remote working setup. But now that we’re almost reaching the end of the first quarter of 2021, the economy has opened up even more. More companies started restoring their in-person operations. But despite this, studies have shown that the remote working setup will prevail even when the pandemic ends.
According to the “Future of Workforce Pulse Report,” a study conducted and published by Upwork in December 2020, one in four American workers will continue working from home in 2021. Moreover, Upwork also found that 36.2 million professionals will settle down with a remote working setup permanently by 2025. This will lead to an 87 percent increase in the number of remote workers, as compared to the number of workers back in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic started.
Given the clear indications that remote working will prevail for many workers, it’s important to understand now how it’s been affecting our personal lives. We’ve all heard about how it affected people’s mental health, social habits, etc. But what about the mundane parts of everyday lives? Here’s how remote working affected them.
Online Shopping Habits
Given the months spent in quarantine in 2020, it’s not surprising that our online shopping rose to staggering heights during the last few months. Many physical storefronts had to close their doors because of financial struggles and quarantine protocols, among others. According to a survey conducted by Bazaarvoice, 62 percent of shoppers in the United States now shop online more than they did before the pandemic started.
It’s no surprise either that remote working affected the rise in our online shopping habits. We spent all day looking at computers. We’ve lost the luxury of chatting freely with our co-workers and other welcome distractions at the office. Thus, we simply get bored. So what do we do? Well, we go online shopping. The next thing we know, we have new belt bags for women that were recently delivered to our doorstep.
Fitness and Mental Health
As mentioned, because of remote working, we lost the luxury of physically being at the office and surrounded by our co-workers and friends. As a result, many of us started struggling with mental health. According to a student conducted by Family Safety & Health Magazine, 32 percent of survey respondents are concerned about stress due to remote working. More than that, 43 percent are concerned with weight gain, as caused by stress and lack of exercise.
Because of these concerns, many of us started prioritizing our mental health. When we’re not busy working at home, we’re keeping ourselves busy with activities that bring joy to us. A popular activity is working out. As explained by the American Psychological Association, the exercise effect is when we feel our mood boost because of fitness activities. Today, according to 70 percent of professionals, fitness benefits still rank among the top benefits that workers look for in a job even if the setup is remote working.
Relationship with Technology and the Internet
Much like online shopping, our relationship with technology and the internet was significantly influenced by our remote working setup. Because we’re away from the physical office, we rely on our devices and the internet for everything — from communication to deliverables. And because technology has become such an integral part of our daily lives because of work, it’s also impacting our personal lives.
Now that we’re staying at home all day every day, we rely on social media platforms to keep us connected with our friends and families. We needed technology as well to watch our favorite movies and TV shows because most media content our available for streaming anyway. Today, it’s almost unimaginable to not own a laptop, much less a phone, for personal use. Apart from those, we’re also now relying on technology for our basic needs and responsibilities such as grocery shopping and paying our bills.
No one can deny the fact that remote working has created a lasting impact on our daily lives. Understanding how some of our habits and interests were affected by it will help us determine if this really is the ideal work setup for us. Now that experts have found that remote working has a high chance of prevailing even in the post-pandemic world, we need to know how our lives have been changing so that we could better prepare ourselves for it.