Shelter in place experience provides unintended benefits

By Dennis Archambault

”We’re going to be working from home for a while.” The significance of that directive from our CEO escaped me initially, along with the multiple layers of significance that the pandemic would present over the lockdown and beyond. We grabbed our laptops and some files thinking that “a while” would be a short time – as in a snowstorm. Of course, it was a long while before we returned to our office, remaining in remote settings part of the time. What occurred during the lockdown was traumatic for many forced to deal with the coronavirus. For those fortunate to wait it out, our lives were changed significantly, and in large part for the better, according to a recent poll published by Coravin (

wo-thirds of Americans think that self-isolation and quarantine has made them a better person, with nearly a third adopting a new passion or hobby to enrich their lives. Working or just being in solitude has its challenges, particularly for those whose work involves the creative chemistry of interpersonal dynamics. But for others, it’s an imposed opportunity for self-reflection and growth. Most of us were glad when the lockdown ended – if a bit apprehensive about re-entering the world. But few of us walked out of our isolation proclaiming the benefits of solitude. This study indicates that the isolation and the anxiety of enduring the pandemic has compelled us to determine what really matters in life.

Other highlights of the study include:

  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated that they are hoping to achieve a better work/life balance coming out of quarantine.
  • Forty-six percent want to spend more quality time with friends and family, and 38 percent plan to create more meaningful relationships with those around them.
  • Shelter in place gave 70 percent a chance to learn more about themselves.

Just as we learned new ways of communicating via Zoom and other online services, we also learned the value of interpersonal engagement, especially when it’s through a measured distance. While this is an unintended consequence of a public health discipline that many resisted, it has its silver lining.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.