Despite worries, many felt happy during Covid-19 lockdown, finds online survey
During the first two phases of lockdown (March 25-May 3), not everyone was fearful. There were some who were happy for different reasons like getting ample time to spend with family and working from home in pyjamas. Happiness is also coming from the fact that they do not have to commute to work daily and getting stuck in traffic.
This has been revealed by a pan-India online survey conducted by Centre for Marketing in Emerging Economies (CMEE) at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIML). The survey was conducted in collaboration with Qualisys Research and Consulting.
“This wasn’t a planned holiday but a sudden one. I am getting more family time which is a rarity these days, more sleep and less work is making this time worthwhile,” said a 22-year-old student from Punjab.
There were 931 respondents across various online platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, out of which 124 (or 13 per cent) said they were happy .
“Due to this lockdown, I am spending more time with family, especially kids, which I was not able to do earlier,” a 38-year-old chartered accountant from Delhi said about his lockdown experience.
The happy ones were also treating the lockdown time like an unplanned vacation. For many who had not faced economic consequences by then, it was like a paid vacation during which they pursued hobbies and reduced their sleep deficit.
The survey further revealed that 56 per cent of these happy people tried out new dishes and 38 per cent of them talked over phone with friends and relatives - something they were not able to do earlier.
“I am getting to spend a lot of quality time with my children and my wife, I am able to assist my wife with household chores and getting more time interact with my friends and relatives over phone or social media,” said a 34-year-old investment manager from Gurugram.
“Happiness is a frame of mind and once the factors that contributed to that happiness change, the mood could change. But it was interesting to see that some viewed lockdown like a vacation,” said IIM, Lucknow’s prof Satyabhusan Dash who led the research survey.
The adage that money cannot buy happiness does not hold true in this case as people with a higher income had a higher happiness quotient. Some 15 per cent of all those who earned over Rs 10 lakh annually were happy as compared to only seven per cent of those who earned less than that.
“I am getting 10-hour of sleep everyday,” said a 22-year-old student from Hyderabad.
However, being happy did not mean that they were not worried about the current pandemic. About 52 per cent of the respondents were very much worried about the prevailing situation, yet they managed to stay in a happy state of mind.
The survey also found that 40 per cent of the total sample size said it was fearful, 22 per cent felt sad, 11 per cent respondents felt disgusted, nine per cent were surprised and five per cent respondent felt angry.
The survey covered participants in 104 cities across 23 states across metros, tier-1 and tier-2 cities.
Snowballing sampling methods were used to cover a fairly representative sample across India.
Given the nature of these online platforms, the survey has a skew predominantly towards male (62 per cent) vs female (38 per cent), higher education (63 per cent post graduation and over) and upper income participants with 40 per cent over Rs 10 lakh annual income.
Ashu Sabharwal (founder, Qualisys), Mohan Krishnan (former VP, Kantar), Avinash Jain, PhD scholar (IIM Lucknow) and Ankita Singh (research director, Qualisys) were integral part of the research team.
“There was also a joy to see the earth healing and reclaiming itself and the newness of being at home with family,” said Sabharwal.
Those who are happy are also of the belief that Indians have higher immunity level to face the disease as compared to the rest of the world. They also strongly believe that India is in a better position as compared to other countries in the world.
Some of the respondents who are spiritually inclined see this unlikely event as the nature’s way to bring justice and heal itself. And many do not believe in fretting over something which is not in their control, they are trying to make the most of the current time. They see a ray of hope even in this trying times and are of the belief that everything will return to normal sooner than later.