Thanks to COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns and restrictions, home is no longer just the place where we live – it's a place where we live, work, and homeschool.
These new functions have undoubtedly impacted our household dynamics, as we live and work in closer confines and spend more time together as a household unit. But just how have these dynamics shifted?
As part of our new report 'The Next Normal – life post-lockdown according to Instagram' – we take a closer look.
With families forced to stay at home, parents and children began to look for new ways to play and have fun within their home environments.
Sales of board games and jigsaw puzzles soared as people sought non-digital solutions. Brands were quick to adapt with companies like Mattel creating online resources such as printable activity sheets, storytelling resources and crafting and DIY projects. Daily walks and time in nature also helped parents and children create a whole new level of interaction and bonding.
Our analysis of over one million Instagram posts shows that the outcomes of this forced new reality will no doubt encourage many to consider how to rebalance their daily routines with the need for increased family time in their lives post COVID-19.
WORKING FROM HOME
With so many people now working from home, they have needed to find a suitable space to use as an office. And although functionality is leading the way, posts show that there is a level of joy in creating a working space that is more suited to the individual, rather than generic corporate offices.
People are making the most of their freedom to create an office space which is more personal, often with a strong link to the outside with a setup either close to the window or even in the garden itself.
But not all working from home transitions have been smooth, with people needing to get pretty creative if they didn't have a suitable space available to them (ironing board or bath desk anyone?).
Teaching has been reimagined at lightning speed, with the closure of schools seeing teachers embrace technology to interact with pupils through email, video and online resources. It's something that many hope will influence education for years to come.
But it hasn't just been the teachers that have needed to adapt. Parents have had to become masters of organisation, transforming front rooms and dining rooms into classrooms and juggling the needs of homeworking, homeschooling and the daily running of domestic life.
These changes have not been without problems with high levels of stress placed on parents. But perhaps a neglected audience here is the children themselves, embracing technology at breakneck speed whilst dealing with isolation and a lack of interaction that is a core part of face-to-face teaching.
PETS IN THE FAMILY
We all know that pets – particularly cute dogs and cats – are not new to Instagram. But during COVID-19, they've become even more popular with posts centred on a pet's daily life and their importance to the family unit.
Amid the stressful uncertainty of working from home and getting to grips with homeschooling, pets provided light relief and entertainment – and continue to do so. Their presence reinforces the sense of the home as a sanctuary, having a positive influence on wellbeing and providing much-needed humour.
The love of pets during the pandemic has even spurned new social accounts including @dogsworkingfromhome which curates pictures from across the globe and has amassed 98,500 followers in just a few months.
INTRODUCING THE NEXT NORMAL
The above is a glimpse of our new report 'The Next Normal – life post-lockdown according to Instagram', where we analyse over one million Instagram posts from the height of the pandemic.
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