48% of Consumers Enjoy Some Aspects of Social Distancing

Restaurants, the gym among places some consumers don’t miss, but working from home is causing stress
coworking space with social distancing markers

Though social distancing guidelines have kept people from closely interacting with one another in recent months, not everyone is complaining about the social isolation.

Since the pandemic started, consumers have had to adjust to widespread disruptions to their daily routines as some businesses shut down and others sent employees home to work in order to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19. To find out the psychological toll of such changes, wellness information platform Healthline Media surveyed consumers on how they were faring.

For many respondents, the physical distancing was the least of their worries.

A silver lining

For some people, social distancing was not so much a hassle as it was an opportunity to stop doing things they didn’t want to do.

Nearly half of respondents — 48% — said they actually enjoyed some aspects of physical distancing, with younger consumers most accepting of the idea. In fact, 58% of consumers between the ages of 25-44 said they enjoy physical distancing compared with 34% of consumers ages 65 and up.

Men were also more likely to find social distancing appealing, with 52% of men saying they enjoy physical distancing compared with 45% of women.

When asked what they don’t miss in the age of social distancing, more than a third — 36% — said they don’t miss going into the office. That was followed by:

  • 29% who don’t miss eating out in restaurants
  • 27% who don’t miss going to the bank
  • 26% who don’t miss working out at the gym
  • 24% who don’t miss physically attending service at a place of worship

Working from home a source of stress

While some may be enjoying fewer social interactions, many are not as comfortable with the idea of transforming their kitchen table into their primary workplace.

More than half of respondents — 52% — said they are currently working from home because of the pandemic. However, of those who are working remotely, 55% said they are finding the experience stressful. Among 25-44 year olds who are working from home, 62% find it stressful. Those findings are in line with an earlier survey that suggested millennial and Generation Z workers were finding it challenging to work from home during the pandemic. The biggest stressor for those working remotely is having no social time with colleagues. In fact, 37% said that’s what they miss most about working from home. That was followed by:

  • 35% who said they feel like they never leave the office
  • 32% who miss having a private or quiet working space
  • 32% who are stressed by having to work while children are at home
  • 26% who said they have had misunderstandings with others because of online communication

For those who have suffered a layoff or reduced hours due to the pandemic, economic uncertainty has added yet another layer of stress.

Among respondents, 70% said the pandemic and the economic challenges that have occurred as a result have had an impact on their work life.

Five percent of respondents said they have lost their jobs since the pandemic began, but twice as many in the 18-24 year old age group have suffered a job loss. Also, 12% of respondents under 44 have been furloughed and 13% of those under 44 said that despite having a job, they worry about their job security.

Methodology: Market research firm Propeller Insights surveyed 2,000 adults on behalf of Healthline between May 9-12.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.