By John Anderer (April 9, 2020)
READING, United Kingdom — There’s a running joke in the seminal sitcom Friends that no one actually knows what Chandler does all day at his office job. Fiction apparently doesn’t stray too far from reality, according to a new survey of 1,500 British adults currently working at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly half admitted they had no idea what their significant other’s job involved until now!
It’s incredible that so many couples could be living under the same roof yet be worlds apart in terms of communication. Yet for 46% of adults, up until this pandemic their knowledge regarding their loved one’s work schedule was limited to “they work in an office” or “they have lots of meetings.”
Everything’s changed now, of course, as millions have been forced to work from home. Thanks to lockdown restrictions, now only 22% are in the dark about what their partner’s job entails. Although, it’s a bit puzzling that over one in five is still uninformed. Maybe it will just take another month of home quarantine to finally strike up a work-related conversation.
“With so many more couples now working from home, it’s funny how many people knew so little about what their other half did for a living – until now. Suddenly we’re spending working hours and downtime in the same space and it’s sure to be a learning curve for everyone – whether about the job roles themselves or their partner’s personality,” comments a spokesperson from Virgin Media, the company that commissioned the survey. “It’s good to see that people are making the most of being at home together – whether that’s being there to help solve a work conundrum, taking turns to make a brew, or simply enjoying more quality time with each other.”
Now that couples are working side by side, 40% have finally realized that their partner’s job is more demanding than they ever assumed and 32% have learned that their loved one’s job is interesting. However, another 20% said their partner’s job seems pretty boring.
Meanwhile, over a third are more confident than ever before that their spouse is very good at what they do, and 23% even said their loved one is more professional than they had previously believed. Oh, the things we learn in quarantine.
It’s clear that all this time together is leading to more respect among partners; 29% flat out said their spouse works harder than they do.
At first, the idea of working alongside one another sounded pretty tense, but many respondents have quickly found some upsides. Nearly a third (32%) enjoy having someone to talk to all day, 26% enjoy bouncing work ideas off their partner, and 31% are just savoring more quality time with their loved one.
Of course, there are bound to be annoyances as well. A full quarter have to switch rooms when their partner is on a business call, 18% said their spouse talks too loud, and 12.5% think their spouse is eating all the snacks. Also, 20% said they’ve had an argument over room temperatures and 18% can’t agree on background music.
There used to be set divides between career and family, but now over 25% of respondents are struggling to find a balance between work conversations and home life. On a more humorous note, 21% said they’ve answered a work call while watching TV and 15% of male respondents have even talked business while on the toilet.
One of the perks of working from home is throwing away that cumbersome suit and tie, so it isn’t surprising that 18% of respondents said their partner’s appearance has deteriorated considerably during this pandemic. An eighth of respondents only see their loved one properly dressed for work if they’re on a video conference. Similarly, 14% of women and 12% of men said their grooming habits have become much more relaxed.
At the end of the day, a third said they enjoy working from home and 28% prefer working around their partner everyday in comparison to their usual co-workers. Ouch, let’s hope Susan in accounting doesn’t read this.
Probably most importantly, 22% believe this time together has been positive for their relationship.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.