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Coronavirus: VUB launches survey on daily life

17:28 26/03/2020

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has launched an international study into the effects of the coronavirus crisis on people’s daily lives. The university’s TOR research group has been involved in the sociological study of time, culture and society since 1982.

“Daily life has been turned completely upside down, and separate spheres such as work and home suddenly coincide,” said sociology professor Ignace Glorieux. “We want to investigate the short and long-term effects of this, so we are calling on everyone to complete the survey and share it with friends and via social media, also internationally.

The survey, available in English, French and Dutch, is being conducted by TOR in co-operation with VUB spin-off hbits.

As strict measures have recently been taken in many countries, including Belgium, to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the institutions that normally give structure to our daily lives – workplaces, schools, shops, gyms, eateries, etc – are no longer functioning. Our routines have been disrupted, the researchers point out, our movements are restricted, and our social contacts are taking place online.

Do we still have weekends?

The course of daily life but also the collective rhythms of society have changed fundamentally in a very short space of time. “The way we spend our time is not the same as before, and it is not clear what consequences these drastic changes will have on our daily lives in the short and long term,” says Glorieux.

At this point, VUB wants to see how we are adapting to these new circumstances. “How do we organise our paid work and our housework? How do we deal with children who are at home all day? What do we do to relax? What does the course of the day look like in our families? And is there still a noticeable difference between weekdays and weekends, and working days and holidays? We want to find out.”

Filling in the survey takes about 15 minutes, and all participants are asked to keep a record of how they spend their time for a period of seven days. That will also take about 15 minutes a day, according to the researchers.

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw