There's no denying that this has been a long and difficult year. But with the Pandemiversary officially here (and with it some reflection on the past 365 days), we can confidently say that there have actually been some good things that came out of lockdown. (Yes, really.) While we're lamenting the loss of trips we could have taken, friends we could have seen and iconic institutions that shuttered forever, there have been some real silver linings to being stuck at home, too. And it seems like our readers agree.
We polled 27,000 Time Out readers from around the world, and 37 percent of respondents cited less traffic and pollution as the biggest perk of lockdown. That's a really big upside, right? This feeling was particularly strong in Spain, where 50 percent of folks felt very happy about the reduction in traffic as well as the fact that there were fewer tourists around. We've also seen the real-life consequences of humans staying at home this year on the natural world, from coral reefs and marine life thriving in Hawaii to animals reclaiming urban spaces.
Second on the list was working from home. Globally, 24 percent of people were happy about working remotely, and an additional 20 percent liked that they could focus on self-care and their mental health while being away from the office.
In fourth place were respondents with a little less optimism. Eighteen percent of our readers could not find a single thing to be happy about, saying that nothing good came out of the pandemic. Those in the U.K. and the U.S. were especially pessimistic – about 20 percent of those based in the U.S. chose 'it was all bad.'
On the other side of the spectrum, only 10 percent of those surveyed said that reconnecting with old friends was the top silver lining, while cool activations from local businesses and having more things to stream online tied at 14 percent each. (We're sensing some screen fatigue here.)
So, while you're battling another day stuck inside, just remember that Earth is loving humans being at home. Keep doing it for her.
Another interesting finding? As it turns out, people have missed restaurants more than their own families. We can't make this stuff up.