NEW YORK — Say “hooray” — for the daily commute? New research finds two in three Americans are more excited to return to their normal ways of living than anything else in their lives — even if it means sitting in traffic again.
A survey of 2,000 Americans reveals people are most excited to return to everyday things, like their pre-pandemic morning routines (42%), wearing make-up (34%), and chatting with coworkers and friends in-person again (34%).
Bring back the boring
Two-thirds of respondents say they’ve missed the mundane things they took for granted before COVID, like nights on the town, shaking hands, and spending time in their vehicles going to and from daily activities.
“I’m looking forward to having lunch at my work desk again. It’s always a time to eat in peace without being interrupted. It’ll be nice to see new faces and to smell what other colleagues are heating up for lunch,” one respondent says.
Since the pandemic began, 55 percent have upgraded their wardrobe in anticipation of their post-COVID lifestyle. Nearly as many (53%) say they miss daily, non-work-related conversations with coworkers, while 48 percent miss taking care of their cars.
Commissioned by Endurance Warranty and conducted by OnePoll, the study also finds 58 percent of those who normally travel on a daily basis miss their commutes. This is especially true for three in four carpool commuters and two-thirds of people who normally take the bus to work.
During their commutes, people miss listening to podcasts (55%), singing car karaoke (55%), listening to the news (53%), and just having time to themselves (52%). As the pandemic fades, nearly six in 10 (59%) of daily commuters have already begun to return to their old commutes. Of those commuters, 74 percent admit they underestimated how long their travel time would be as they return to the road.
For Americans using mass transportation, the slow drive to work has come as a shock to many who forgot all about their pre-pandemic travels. Sixty-two percent of carpoolers, 52 percent of bus riders, and 42 percent of subway riders all agree they underestimated the amount of time it takes getting to their place of work.
“We completely understand why people are eager to return to their pre-pandemic norms,” says Melissa Balsan, Chief Marketing Officer at Endurance, in a statement. “The past year has been a major adjustment for all of us and simply getting back into the swing of old daily routines — from doing your hair to driving to work — is often all it takes to help people feel that life is beginning to normalize again.”
Leaving some annoyances in the pre-pandemic world
While Americans have plenty of things they miss, some hope a few things don’t return in the post-pandemic world. A third of respondents hope “pointless small talk” becomes a thing of the past. Also making the list include having to always look presentable (31%) and going to movie theaters (30%).
Four in ten don’t look forward to having a morning routine that pushes them out of the house again. Half believe it’ll be hard for them to go back into the office again after having become accustomed to going straight from their bed to their desk each day. The poll also shows 46 percent prefer video calls over in-person interactions now.
“Despite the things we’ve all missed over the past year, it’s hard to argue against many of the niceties that come with working from home,” Balsan adds. “While being remote means leaving those pre-pandemic annoyances in the rearview, many of us are still longing to get out of the house and get back to the activities and pastimes we reluctantly left behind.”