Despite massive changes in the ways in which we interact with one another over the past year, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies finds that pluralities of British respondents do not report feeling closer or less close to their friends, family, colleagues, or neighbours as a result of the pandemic.

42% of respondents said the pandemic has made them feel neither more nor less close to their friends and wider (i.e. not immediate) family, while a quarter (26%) reports feeling closer to their friends and wider family as a result of the pandemic.

Even so, a considerable 32% of the British public feels less close to their friends and wider family, a feeling that is higher among female respondents (37%) than male respondents (27%). Those aged 18 to 24 years old (40%) and 25 to 34 years old (38%) are particularly likely to feel that they have become less close with their friends and wider family as a result of the pandemic, as do respondents who are working from home (38%) rather than working from their usual place of work (27%).

Similar to their relationships with friends and wider family, a plurality (41%) of respondents said they feel neither more nor less close to their immediate family as a result of the pandemic.

However, a significant proportion of respondents feel that they have grown closer to their immediate family (35%) as a result of the pandemic. This is especially true for 18-to-24-year-olds and 25-to-34-year-olds, as a plurality (41%) of both age groups said they now feel closer to their immediate family, possibly because many have been living with them during the pandemic. Indeed, 40% of respondents who indicated that they currently live at their family’s home said they now feel more close to their immediate family.

Likewise, 40% of respondents who are currently working from home say they feel closer to their immediate family due to the pandemic, compared to 33% of those who are not working from home, likely as a result of differences in time spent with their families.   

On the other hand, a quarter (25%) of respondents said the pandemic has made them feel less close to their immediate family. Female respondents (29%) are somewhat more likely than male respondents (20%) to feel less close to their immediate family as a result of the pandemic.

One of the biggest changes in many Britons’ relationships with their friends and family members during the pandemic has been the use of video calls, and it seems they are likely to continue even after the pandemic has subsided: 55% of respondents agree that they will continue to use video calls to catch up with friends and family after the pandemic.

A plurality of each age group said they would continue to use video calls with their friends and family after the pandemic, though a much larger proportion of 18-to-24-year-olds (66%) and 25-to-34-year-olds (63%) indicated that they intend to keep using video calls in comparison to those aged 65 and over (41%).

Among respondents who are currently working, 44% said they feel neither more nor less close to their colleagues as a result of the pandemic. A third (33%) said they feel less close, whereas just under a quarter (23%) said they feel more close.

Whether or not respondents are currently working from home appears to have impacted their closeness with their colleagues, as 37% of those who are working from home said they feel less close to their co-workers, compared to 20% of those who are not working from home. Still, a plurality (43%) of respondents who are working from home said they feel neither more nor less close to their colleagues.

A majority (61%) of respondents also said they feel neither more nor less close to their neighbours as a result of the pandemic—a feeling expressed by majorities or pluralities of respondents across all regions of the UK. Just 23% of British respondents feel closer and 15% feel less close to their neighbours due to the pandemic.

That being said, 47% of respondents agree that the pandemic has fostered a greater sense of community spirit in their local neighbourhood.

Regardless, this perception of a greater sense of community spirit ultimately does not appear to have translated into a greater self-reported closeness with their neighbours for most of the British public. Indeed, the changes brought on by the pandemic have not caused an increase or decrease in how many respondents perceive their closeness to their neighbours, colleagues, friends, or family.  

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

Follow us on Twitter

Share our research:

Our Most Recent Research