During the first national coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, people in Great Britain were forced to make changes to their lifestyles, leading many to believe we were facing a ‘new normal’ in habits and behaviours.

However, recent results from a study by the Office for National statistics (ONS) highlights that many of these changes have been short-lived.

Analysis of our lockdown behaviours by the @ONS has shown that many of these behaviours have been short-lived Click To Tweet

The ONS asked people in Great Britain to record how they spent their time, from 28 March to 26 April 2020 and from 5 September to 11 October 2020. This captured their behaviour while experiencing the restrictions of the first lockdown and further national and local restrictions in September and October.

The analysis mainly concentrates on activities that were the main focus of people’s day, and it is compared to the ONS most recent comparable data from before the pandemic from 2014/15. It show that on the whole, people

Overall Changes
The first national lockdown in March brought about some substantial lifestyle changes. On the whole, these transformations have been short-lived and, with the exception of working from home, many people returned to pre-lockdown behaviour in September to October 2020.

Working from Home
During the first set of restrictions, people increased their time spent working from home, and this increased further later in the year as well. This is the main category not to move back towards the levels last seen in 2014-15

There was a stark difference in the income levels of those who spent more time working from home and those who spent more time working outside the home. That difference only increased between March to April 2020 and September to October 2020, as people came off furlough and businesses started to re-open.

Working from home is one of the few lockdown behaviours that has continued, particularly for those people in the highest household income brackets Click To Tweet

Those with highest levels of household income spent more time working from home, whereas those with the lower levels of income spent more time working away from the home.

Sleep and Rest
During the national lockdown, people spent an average of 9 hours and 11 minutes asleep or resting, an increase of 18 minutes on 2014 to 2015.

By September to October 2020 people had reverted to pre-pandemic habits and spent 8 hours 53 minutes sleeping or resting.

Home Improvements
In March to April 2020 the amount of time on any average day that people put into gardening and DIY had increased by 143%, from 16 minutes in 2014 to 2015 to 39 minutes. But by September to October 2020, possibly having completed those longstanding chores, it had dropped to 28 minutes.

In September to October 2020 people spent more time on more sociable activities – a total of 34 minutes a day socialising, spending time with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. This compares with just 6 minutes on this activity in March to April 2020.

In the stricter conditions of the March lockdown, people recorded more time on pursuits that could be done at home.

During those early months of the pandemic, when cafés, pubs and restaurants and entertainment venues were closed, people were doing things such as watching TV, Blu-ray or DVDs or watching streaming services. By September to October 2020, we were watching or streaming 26 minutes less, a total of 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Source: The Office For National Statistics ‘A New Normal’ Report

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