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

by Niamh O'Donovan
October 27, 2021

So today we hear from our 20-something @jamesodonovan on this topic: as Ireland opens up more and COVID restrictions are lifted 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 James have to say?

Via a mixture of self-discipline and a concern of bringing the virus into the house James was happy to ‘do his bit’ but admits that while initially sticking to the stay-at-home policy was achievable as the lockdown continued, he loosened his interpretation of these rules. Of all the rules and phases the Irish people encountered the 2KM radius was considered the strictest and possibly overly so. With empathy expressed for people who may have lived in remote areas with little within that radius, possible ½ was in the sea!!! But it’s noted that the Irish people did seem to comply, albeit with wavering dedication to the rules overtime. Christmas 2020 was a standout memory of difficult to accept rules, as we went from almost fully open to very strict lockdown within a week; that was frustrating.

As a young social 20-something the inability to meet with friends was the toughest rule to comply with, especially as friends returned to Ireland from abroad and gatherings were not permitted. But the acceptance and compliance remained for the greater good and the hopeful elimination of the virus in the community. To balance this separation on-line quizzes, poker, and other games were used to interact in a fun way. Participating in these events with various groups of friends and family offered a night’s entertainment in COVID-friendly way. BUT the bars have been open for a while now and thankfully replaced the need for this. The full lifting of nightlife restrictions is eagerly awaited, the freedom to roam around a bar is something that was greatly missed and is only now being reintroduced (but with a mask!). So being able to go out on weekends and socialise properly will be gladly reintroduced into his life!

The gyms were a big loss, as a rugby player used to the gym and team training it was difficult to replace this and what was more it felt that the gym rules were illogical compared to others in certain phases. The inability to travel was another tough experience, when a 2020 holiday came around, at last, it had seemed like years since the previous one, much longer than the actual 18 months. And with the international ‘living with covid’ rules different from home there was some fun in the sun!

As someone that was office & client visit based, prior to covid, Microsoft Teams was considered invaluable during the forced WFH. From basic video calls with colleagues all the way to making presentations to customers, and hosting webinars the software was so versatile and made the switch to WFH so much easier. All meetings were moved to being remotely delivered; internal and external. The days of going to a prospective or current customer’s office was temporarily paused. This suited some people and didn’t suit others but adapting quickly was essential. With ‘teams-fatigue’ becoming a real thing, and the etiquette of when to talk needing to be learned. It was felt that many or almost all businesses struggled, with budgets used elsewhere, reduced or paused. Technology spend may have been up but the strategic planning of projects like digital transformation were paused while companies considered what the ‘new-norm’, hybrid working etc would bring. This had a direct impact on Enterprise Solutions whose EUC skills were not yet required. The whole of the Irish economy was affected, it is felt that no sector was free from the pain impacted by the lockdowns. And hence the recovery should come as lockdowns are eliminated where businesses and the economy should bounce back.

When asked if Ireland could have done things better or differently, the New Zealand and Australia border control rules were mentioned. But not putting his hand up to implement these as the role of the government was thankless during the pandemic! Something that was not in his life pre-covid, but will remain, is going for walks and listening to music, this activity he learned to love and will continued post lockdown. It was discovered as a nice peaceful time that hadn’t been understood before. But overall, the feeling is that people have not been changed forever by the pandemic, normal routines will return, and it will become a memory; what seemed so long while we were in its midst will be mainly forgotten.

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