Lockdown lessons: work and relationships 

In lockdown, our home and work lives are more intertwined than ever. This report looks at how lockdown has impacted relationships, the way we work and what we want from employers. 

Original research commissioned by Howard Kennedy. 

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I believe that a strong work-life balance is the responsibility of the employer as well as the employee, and should be given more weight as part of employment packages.

Survey respondent
64% feel positive about future of relationship

A positive impact on relationships

66% of respondents in committed relationships have been positive about their relationship since the Coronavirus pandemic. 66% also said they have felt positive about the future of their relationship. 

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Quality time with your partner

Head of Family Law, Lois Langton comments; "Greater proximity and time together has accelerated relationship progression. The family team has been as busy supporting new expressions of commitment and parenthood as it has been advising on breakdown, separation and divorce. The stages are the same but people are reaching them sooner."

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47% think pandemic positively impacted quality time with partner
35% in committed relationships say pandemic positively impacted work-life balance

Work-life balance

Of our respondents, 35% of those in committed relationships stated that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a positive impact on their work-life balance. This included parents, with 37% saying that their work-life balance was positively impacted by lockdown as opposed to 26% without children. 

Only 20% of respondents stated that their general work-life balance was negatively impacted by lockdown.

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Fixed working from home days

While 55% of respondents want fixed working from home days, age is a factor. 65% of the younger generation (aged 18-24) are keen for their employers to provide more fixed working from home days. In comparison, just 50% of the 55+ generation wanted the same - although it's worth noting that this age group will include retired former workers.

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55% want fixed working from home days
67% want more flexible working patters

More flexible working patterns

A conclusive 67% of respondents said they thought employers should provide more flexible working patterns.
We also looked at regional difference and adults based in London were among the highest with 73% of employees suggesting employers should provide flexible working patterns e.g. allowing early/ late starts, extended break periods etc. 

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Working from home full-time

Surprisingly, as many as 52% of respondents said that employers should provide the option to work from home full-time. 

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52% want option to work from home full-time
35% think employers should help with childcare

Help with childcare

In terms of how positively or negatively lockdown had impacted childcare, the results were low: 5% positive, 6% negative and 80% don't know/not applicable.
For parents of children 4 years and under where 35% stated that lockdown had had a negative impact, and 28% for parents of the 5 to 11 year age group. This may explain why 35% felt that employers should do more to help with childcare. 

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Financial contribution to working from home

While greater flexibility from employers can't be unexpected and may be welcome news, what may be less welcome is that 38% of respondents thought employers ought to contribute financially to support those working from home.

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38% think employer should make financial contribution to working from home
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Employers have had to demonstrate incredible empathy, agility and resilience this year. Our clients are now looking to the future and we are working with them to ensure they have the policies, decision making tools and frameworks in place to adapt and enhance their ability to attract and retain staff as the 'new normal' becomes business as usual.

Jane Amphlett, Head of employment