IntelliSurvey employees reveal how they dealt with a challenging year and what they hope to see in the year ahead

To say that 2020 has been an unprecedented year would be an understatement, and most people will not be sorry to wave goodbye to it in the rear-view mirror. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. and other nations’ economies in crisis, protests about systemic racism, record-breaking wildfires in the western U.S. states, severe hurricanes in the Southeastern U.S., and a crazy Presidential election, it’s time to say farewell to 2020 and welcome what will hopefully be a much better year ahead.

IntelliSurvey was curious as to how its 100+ employees weathered this challenging year, and since research is our business, we administered a short survey to our staff. The online survey was open from November 24 through December 2, 2020, and we’re happy to report that we had a robust response rate, with most of our employees from around the globe completing the survey.

So long, 2020! (infographic

Juggling Roles

While 2020 was challenging for everyone, it’s safe to say that it was beyond a difficult year for those who work and have children under age 18 at home.  Nearly half (46%) of IntelliSurvey’s staff fall into this category, and when queried about their kid-related activities since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year:

  • Most (79%) admitted giving their child/ren substantially more screen time (i.e., computer, video, TV) than normal. Can you blame them?
  • Half of the parents also reported having worked and/or had a conference call with a child on their laps.

Assisting children with schoolwork was no easy feat this past year, and nearly 3 in 10 parents confessed to resorting to Google to find the answer to a child’s homework assignment. These respondents likely included the 19% who, while homeschooling, realized that they had forgotten all they learned in high school algebra!

Speaking of children, IntelliSurvey welcomed 8 new “IntelliBabies”; four girls and four boys made their first appearance in the world in 2020.

Popular Pandemic Pastimes

When presented with a list of activities, a majority of IntelliSurvey’s employees reported that they had done the following this year:

  • Voted in the U.S. Presidential election (91% of U.S.-based employees).
  • Zoomed with family and friends (87%).
  • Worked in their pajamas and/or sweatpants (85%) – Since many of IntelliSurvey’s employees have worked remotely from home for years, this is probably not a first for most!
  • Had a conference call interrupted by a family member or pet (67%).

With the adoption of 9 dogs and 1 cat, IntelliSurvey employees also added 10 new pets to their households this year.

Quarantine Hobbies

The most common hobbies and skills learned while quarantining this year included:

  • Making bread or other comforting baked goods (45%).
  • Reading or rereading a classic book or series (42%).
  • Planting a vegetable garden (25%).
  • Learning a foreign language (10%).

A number of employees also reported engaging in some rather different activities during quarantine, including bricklaying, making underarm deodorant, welding, and raising caterpillars. One employee also lamented: “With 2 toddlers in lockdown, I’ve given up on my hobbies.”

Accentuate the Positive

Although it doesn’t take much effort to list the negative aspects of 2020, we were interested in knowing what people viewed as the most positive aspects, so we provided a list of possibilities and asked our employee respondents to rank the three that have had the greatest positive impact on them this year.

Most often selected as one of the top three positives were:

  • Appreciating your/your family/loved ones’ health (48%).
  • Spending more time with family (43%).
  • Realizing what’s most important to you in life (40%).

New Year, New Hope

When asked a final, optional question, “What do you really hope 2021 will bring?”, many mentioned a COVID-19 vaccine. Now that Pfizer’s vaccine has been approved in the U.S. and is beginning to roll out in various countries, it looks as though that wish will be fulfilled in 2021. Often, a vaccine was brought up in conjunction with a return to normalcy:

  • “A *safe* vaccine and return to normalcy.”
  • “A vaccine, handshakes, hugs, and a return to those carefree days of yore.”
  • “A vaccine so we can get back to enjoying social activities.”
  • “I hope 2021 brings a Covid vaccine so that life overall can go back to ‘normal’. Especially being able to travel and attend larger social gatherings. With the return of normalcy though, I do hope that we hold on to the positive things, like realizing you don’t need much in the way of material things to be happy and still allowing ourselves to slow down to spend time at home with loved ones (especially the furry ones!) or out in nature, at the beach or walking in the park. And outside of Covid, I hope we are all kinder to ourselves and most importantly, to each other.”

Not surprisingly, another commonly-mentioned hope was for children to be able to go back to traditional classrooms in the new year:

  • “Kids back to school physically”
  • “Kids getting back to in-class schooling”
  • “I want my kids to be able to be back in school with their friends so they can benefit more educationally and socially. And for myself I want to be able to see live music in person again.”

IntelliSurvey employees are a creative and interesting group, as evidenced by some of the more imaginative responses to the question:

  • “An alien invasion. Been looking forward to one and that’s the only way 2021 is going to outdo 2020 for pure WTFness.”
  • “Sharknados!”
  • “World peace. Or at the very least, world mellow.”

2021 may not bring an alien invasion, Sharknados, or even world mellow, but take heart – as Alfred, Lord Tennyson said:

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

May 2021 be a happier year for us all.