The COVID-19 pandemic has cost over four million lives worldwide, scores of jobs, created financial difficulty and widespread misery in societies. There’s no arguing that we would all be better off without it, but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some small benefits of lockdowns to some people.
Without overlooking the seriousness of the pandemic and its consequences, here are how many of us may have benefited from lockdowns.
If your job hasn’t been significantly affected by lockdowns, such as working from home, you’ve probably saved a lot more than usual over the last year. With a regular income and restricted opportunities to spend, people have been stashing their money in savings accounts for a brighter future.
Yahoo Finance reports that most British people got wealthier during the pandemic, with savings rising by £200 billion overall. And this is a trend that has been identified across the continent and further afield too.
And it’s not just the richest corners of society benefiting. Data shared by payday loan website Wonga.co.za confirms that the average individual applying for credit was, on average, in less debt than they were before the pandemic, suggesting they’ve managed to keep a hold of more of their money too. You can listen to more about the interesting effect of Covid on personal wealth and lending here.
Mental health focus
Almost everyone will have felt a bit down or experienced mental health issues due to the pandemic. A lack of social interaction or the inability to see family members due to restrictions and border closures will have taken a toll on all of us at some point to some degree.
But any trend in increased mental health issues – which has been reported widely – has shifted mental health into focus. Now more people are openly talking about their mental health, and decision-makers are making room for mental health services in communities. This can only be a good thing going forward.
Working from home – proven!
For years, employees were calling for some degree of flexible working. But working from home has typically been left for the biggest cheeses in the company, usually due to fears that ordinary workers would not be as productive at home.
The pandemic and lockdowns have forced the hands of many business owners, causing them to accept working from home in a somewhat large-scale trial. Although not everyone has loved the new working environment, it has been a success.
And that’s why big companies like Twitter, Microsoft and Apple are already creating an option to work remotely over the coming years. So, if you enjoyed working in your slippers, you might get to keep doing it to some extent in the future.
Just after the start of the first lockdown, nature started to take back what humans had staked their claim in. Venice waters became blue again with more fish, pollution significantly reduced above China and the world seemed to be healing.
Although some of these positive changes will reverse as life returns to normal, it was an eye-opening sequence of events for many people, which will influence the way we think or believe in climate change in the future.