Will Leisure Become More Important Post-COVID?

By  //  August 16, 2021

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For many of us, everything since early 2020 has felt like a blurry mess. Working from home leaves our days feeling much like our evenings, reduced social activity prevents us from sharing our experiences, and general anxiety about the state of the world pushes us to wonder how exactly we should be spending our time.

If you don’t feel in need of a vacation, you’re in rare company, and should probably be sharing your secrets with the rest of the world.

There’s clearly an appetite for adventure, then: a desire to get out of the house, meet people, and generally see what the world has to offer. Haven’t we all had enough of working with no respite? But the question we’re considering here isn’t whether leisure seems key now, because of course it does.

It’s whether it will still seem key once COVID-19 is largely in the past. So when we reach that point, will leisure really become more important? Let’s consider it.

Remote working will leave us with time to kill

Even when there’s nothing getting in the way of traditional office life, many of us won’t go back. Remote working has been shown to work, and employers can’t just reject it out of hand now. Those who choose (or are required) to keep working remotely, though, will continue to have time to kill: time that would otherwise have gone towards commuting and extraneous coworker conversations. And that time will primarily go towards leisure activities.

Note that leisure needn’t involve classic excursions. The internet now plays a massive role in entertainment: you can watch movies, listen to albums, play video games, and network in varied communities without leaving your house.

You don’t even need that weekly trip to the store for a lottery ticket: provided you know how to buy lottery tickets online, you can just play an online lottery and get the same effect.

Leisure, then, has expanded massively. And with so many rich experiences at our fingertips, we’ll inevitably continue to focus on it when life has otherwise gone back to normal. And the sheer proliferation of options will make it more important for people to curate their experiences. In other words, however paradoxical it may sound, we’ll all take leisure much more seriously.

Fear of reprisal will keep some eager to enjoy life

Even if COVID-19 disappears somehow, can we be sure it won’t return and cause yet more trouble? What if another virus comes along to cause a worse pandemic? Fearing the worst will drive some people to focus on leisure and generally enjoying their lives. After all, any lifted restrictions could easily be put back into place down the line.

It’s a good idea to be positive and try to live in the moment. Can’t we all appreciate how this pandemic has reminded us of what’s really important in life? You never know how much time you have in general, or what’s going to happen next. Why not have some fun?

Financial worries will drive others to work harder

At the same time, there will inevitably be people who have the opposite reaction and want to focus more on preparing for the future. The global economy was plunged into chaos in 2020, and many people lost their jobs and saw their savings dwindle as they needed to remain isolated.

It’s easy to understand why they felt so concerned — and why they’ll be eager to work as hard as they can when the pandemic is behind us so they can avoid any more money woes.

For those people, leisure might actually get less important as they prioritize financial security. Overall, though, it seems fairly clear that most people will want to take more time for leisure when life has mostly gone back to normal, knowing how easily everything can go wrong and wanting to make time to simply be relaxed and content.