How Does Age Affect Personal & Social Reactions to COVID-19?

by Niamh O'Donovan
November 4, 2021

So today we hear from our 30-something Paulius Sernius on this topic. Ireland’s COVID restrictions have been mainly lifted so we reflect how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the lives of us all, including the Enterprise Solutions’ team. And as a result, personal, business and social behaviours may have been affected; we chat with 5 staff members about this. As our team has members in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s let’s see what someone from each decade has to say.  Of course, we know that this one person will not represent their age group, they are simply representing themselves! What did Paulius have to say?

Staying compliant with the Irish Government COVID rules to protect himself and others seemed like common sense. Allowing himself a small concession to travel to the UK for personal (& romantic) reasons but always within the guidelines of the time, such as mask wearing and quarantine compliance. It was felt that nothing good would come from lack of compliance, and the virus would have continued to spread. However, frustration was felt as we were required to jump back and forth between lockdowns. The feeling is that no one really knew how to approach the situation. It should have been a set amount of lockdown and stick to it, despite this the majority of people in Ireland stayed within the rules of each phase. Without clear guidance people, as now, would have just stopped caring and did their own thing; lockdown or not. Seeing one person with three masks stacked on their face gave a smile at a time when there was not much to smile about; maybe that was taking guidance too far?! If given the ability to decide how Ireland should have reacted at early stages of the pandemic, the recommendation to close down the airports and restrict travel earlier would be top of the list. This may have prevented the initial covid spread which resulted in the lockdowns extending over and over.

The joy of finally seeing his fiancé after a very long time is a standout memory from the period. And it was noted that there was a personal and mental impact felt from the inability to travel, have holidays and see family. Reminding us that Ireland’s weather is changeable “different every second” so some sun would be nice and ideally in a tropical location. Now with the end is in sight seeing people again just feels good and fresh, as staying home just makes you feel strange as if you’re the only one there. After all it is part of human nature, we are “social animals”, we need human interaction and it’s important for mentality and personal growth. It’s hard to believe that at one point the most social interaction you really got was going to buy groceries! Seeing friends and socialising was completely upside down but now there is some return to normality even being able to get abroad to visit family and have “a mini holiday”.

Having only recently joined the Enterprise Solutions Team he explained that the required working from home was no problem for the role he delivered, as location was somewhat indifferent, noting that performance was the same if not better. However, with the lack of normal routine trying to define the fine line between work and life was a challenge. To elaborate when at home you may login here and there as you remember something that you haven’t completed etc, so the line is not as prominent as when you are physically going to the office. Especially as prior to COVID his role had been 100% office based. The upside to WFH was better time management and a more flexible ability to meet friends, on social media or in person; within the guidelines of each phase.

With Enterprise Solutions being in the business of enhancing flexible workstyles it is assumed that business was not too impacted by the pandemic. Unlike so many other businesses that required footfall and physical presence, such as hospitality & shops, these felt a huge impact. A lot of people lost their jobs and recovery is complicated and hard for those. Also, tax implications was considered to be a huge problem, as the government help was merely a “Lend of money, which you must pay back in time”. Maybe this shouldn’t be called help more the same impact just delayed. And the recovery on the economy will very much depended on the next actions of the Government. So now, as the restrictions ease, but the pandemic remains, we are left as people who are completely changed in their approach; social distancing, masks and any other precautions will stay. Family loss, due to covid, also affects how people remember this period of time, so the impact is with them forever.

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