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Life at Home Insights

The IKEA Life at Home Pulse Report #2: Redefining a Better Life at Home

Five weeks on from the release of the IKEA Life at Home Pulse Report #1, we’re launching our next instalment. Because, in a world that’s dealing with a pandemic, things change fast. So, how our 20 households are feeling about the effects of coronavirus on their wellbeing, their sense of perspective and their life at home continues to evolve and change. Here’s how.

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20 households, five countries, one global pandemic

Since the spread of COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, we have tapped into the everyday existence of 20 households in five different countries IKEA is present in. Just as we’ve attempted to get an overarching world view through interviews across the countries, we’ve also zoomed in on the local view in each, to understand the particular set of pressures that they’re experiencing – both in terms of what’s unique to them, and in terms of what’s shared with the others under our microscope.

 

Go local, go global

Because of this union of macro and micro approaches, we’ve been able to see how what we call ‘the big drivers’ affect general feelings and behaviours around the pandemic – from different government approaches, to the world’s economic picture, to mass movements triggered during this time. This is just one part of understanding what impacts people’s lives at home.

The other part is the closer inspection of the picture in each country – from Sweden’s lack of lockdown; to the tight restrictions in Italy as one of the worst-hit countries of the crisis so far; to the politicised situation in the US, where an upcoming election and the protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have led to a feeling of navigating more than one pandemic.

Uncertain, yet positive

As we discussed in the last Life at Home blog post , this time of pausing the hamster wheel of life has presented some extremes of uncertainty. But on what for many feels like the other side of the most intense time of that uncertainty, comes the gift of perspective (which we called ‘exquisite clarity’ ) – and ultimately feelings of positivity.

What this looks like is a shifting idea of what a better life constitutes. And getting to what this is for us – for now and going forward into our collective and individual futures – is a process that includes the following steps.

Reflecting

The pause we’ve all been forced to take has given us the space and time to take stock. At the height of restrictions to our way of life, we put routines in place. We noticed the little things. We discovered what’s important. As those restrictions have eased, we’ve personally reflected on what it means to be in a ‘new normal’ – and on how long that will indeed be ‘new’, and when it’ll simply just be ‘normal.’

Reimagining

Our Pulse Report #2 talks about what we thought a better life was. To get up, commute, socialise, exercise and so on. But then the pandemic arrived and the sticks representing everything we thought we knew were thrown in the air. In a world where the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster jumped off our screens and became a reality, it feels for most like anything is possible. That’s why now is the time to move our imaginations away from the worst-case scenarios that could unfold in the world outside. Instead, we can look at who we are and what we know – and how our everyday reality can be shaped going forward, to be a better version of what we’ve known before.

Redefining

From what our 20 households have told us. From our team’s own individual experiences of the pandemic. And from our rich, far-reaching knowledge of life at home. From all this, we believe our relationships with our homes have changed during this time – for the better. We’ve had a unique and unexpected chance to examine these spaces intimately, in extreme circumstances in which we’ve felt many things: trapped, afraid, protected, soothed.

These experiences may be gone, but they’re not forgotten – and importantly, they never will be. The pace of the outside world, while slowed in some respects, won’t ever stop completely. Because of this, we can – we must – feel empowered to control what is within our hands to influence: our homes, and the way we live our lives within them.

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Check out the IKEA Life at Home Pulse Report #2  to learn more about how our 20 households are redefining a better life at home.