Education

Tracksuits and table service: what the UK will miss about lockdown

It might come as a surprise that people look back fondly at lockdown, but 54% say they’ll miss at least some aspects of a life closer to home, according to a recent survey by researchers at King’s College London. So what will we miss most?

Table service at pubs

During the pandemic, pubs channelled continental European cafe culture and introduced table service and online ordering systems to prevent punters jostling for drinks at the bar. Drinkers have welcomed the shift, and the way it makes for a more relaxed experience, so lots of pubs are planning to keep it. Others warn they can’t afford the staffing costs, however.

Staying local

More people working from home meant that the money they usually spent in city centre branches of Pret a Manger was redirected towards independent cafes and local businesses. Data from Barclaycard showed that spending at independent food and drink shops, including off-licences, butchers and bakeries, jumped 28.6% in 2020 compared with a year earlier.

Small groups

Although the rule of six has engendered a whole new set of confusing social rules, lots of people have enjoyed meeting in smaller, more intimate settings. This especially applies to big, often stressful occasions such as Christmas. Researchers in Australia found that lots of people had shrunk their social networks during the pandemic, and enjoyed becoming closer to their core friends.

Jogging bottoms

During successive lockdowns, sales of comfortable clothes such as tracksuits soared, resulting in shortages at major retailers. While fashion influencers have been sporting transitional outfits combining joggers with heels and blazers in a bid to extend their appeal to the office, the consensus appears to be that the waistband is returning – just perhaps a bit looser.

Freer schedules

Much has been said in recent years about the “cult of busyness” and how our society fetishises packed schedules. For many, the pandemic has been an opportunity to step away from daily commutes and social obligations, and rethink how we really want to spend our time. The KCL survey suggested two of the things people would most miss about lockdown were more family time (15%) and staying home (11%).

Medical appointments online

From ringing your doctor for a quick consultation to accessible therapy, many people have benefited from the shift to more flexible methods of communication for medical appointments. Although there are things that can only be done face to face, some people feel more comfortable behind a screen, and lower costs have translated into more widely available care.

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