Research Reveals ‘Life After Lockdown’ – But Not As We Know It

The findings from the third in a series of ‘lockdown’ surveys indicate a ‘muted’ upward mood swing in the NI public, with the majority (81%) remaining concerned about Coronavirus and 75% committed to mask wearing.

Commissioned by Bauer Media NI (Cool FM, Downtown and Downtown Country) the surveys have tracked the mood, behaviours, and attitudes of local people at key stages throughout the Coronavirus journey.

The latest findings show some progress from last autumn when 92% of those surveyed felt in a high state of concern about the pandemic.

Likewise, a year ago only 35% felt optimistic about the future while this had risen to 54% by autumn 2021.

In terms of the current Covid restrictions, over two thirds remain content to follow the guidelines and 75% are happy to wear masks, particularly in shops or on public transport,

A focus of the research was to assess respondents’ feelings in relation to working life, particularly in terms of the return to office. While 43% revealed they are currently working exclusively from their office/place of business, 32% are not expecting to return to the workplace until 2022 at the earliest, and 30% don’t know when, or if, they’ll ever return.

In contrast, this time last year 30% of the public stated they felt positive about returning to the office with boredom, lack of social interaction and feeling safe in work identified as the main drivers.

In terms of their emotional response to the ‘Return to Office’, half are nervous, 36% are worried and 16% are self-conscious, with 3% citing anger as their overriding feeling. In contrast, 28% were happy, and 19% were excited by the prospect of the resumption of normal working life.

The ‘Life after Lockdown’ findings coincide with the announcement of the latest audience listening figures (RAJAR), which confirmed the role radio has played throughout the pandemic, with 90% of adults in NI tuning in every week.

As David Tighe, Managing Director of Bauer Media NI points out, the correlation is significant:

“Our research indicates a sense of mood swing as the NI public starts to come to terms with life in a post lockdown world, with a level of cautious confidence remaining a factor for most.

“Interestingly what is clear is the level of dependency and trust placed in radio as a communications platform, with 53% listening more now than pre pandemic., and 96% saying they will listen more often going forward. This reflects the role radio plays in the heart of the home and in working life – helping local people feel connected and informed.

“Our teams will continue to innovate to reflect the needs of local audiences, communities and businesses as we move forward.”