The shift to virtual working looks here to stay, but when it comes to the annual Christmas party, Australian women are putting health concerns aside to mark the festive season in person, Are Media’s latest HerPulse 6.0 consumer sentiment survey has revealed.
Despite restrictions easing in many states, more than a third of women (35%) want work meetings, seminars and conferences to remain virtual, compared to 20% who said they would prefer to attend in real life. However, when it comes to work social events, such as the office Christmas party, COVID concerns are less of an issue with 41% saying they want to meet in person and just 14% opting for virtual work socialising.
Nat Bettini, research director at Are Media added: “Women have quickly adapted to virtual working and for meetings, seminars and conferences the preference is for these to remain virtual despite relaxing restrictions. However, the urge to catch up with colleagues’ in real life at work events is much stronger which may drive workplaces to rethink how they balance their ongoing work and social arrangements.”
Just under half (45%) said they are now comfortable returning to the workplace, up from 38% in July, but more than half (58%) want to maintain the flexibility of working from home.
The ongoing impact of COVID is also leading women to reinvent themselves by investing in further education and changing their careers. In July, the survey found one in three women were actively thinking about investing in furthering their education, now, one in five actually have. The consequences of the pandemic have also seen one in ten women find a new job in the same field with the same number changing careers entirely.
Bettini added: “This tumultuous year is making women reconsider their career and education options like never before. In July they told us they were considering their options around further education and changing jobs and careers, now they are making firm decisions and acting on those sentiments”.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, Are Media’s sixth HerPulse survey of 781 women, found seven in ten (72%) are planning to celebrate the festive season as normally as possible, with one in three (36%) planning on treating themselves this Christmas time. However, 38% are concerned they will be unable to visit family and friends because of border and other restrictions. This rises to 59% for Victorians.
Once remaining restrictions and social distancing rules are lifted, the number one thing they are excited to do is visit family and friends (53%), followed closely by domestic travel (52%) and overseas travel (33%).
The desire to travel remains strong with half of women optimistic about travelling once restrictions are eased. Over half (57%) are looking for cheaper travel options more than ever before, up from 47% in May. Despite the uncertainty of changing border restrictions, a quarter of women said they prefer to book a trip one to three months out from travelling.
The majority (76%) of respondents are planning on travelling within Australia for their next holiday, however New Zealand was the clear international destination of choice for 50% of women once travel restrictions are eased. Europe was second at 14% followed by Asia at 11%. There remains little interest in cruising, with 72% not considering setting sail should border restrictions be lifted.
Bettini added: “Our ongoing HerPulse survey provides unique insights for advertisers and brands to tap into the issues, concerns and hopes occupying women and how they can best engage and captivate them across our platforms.”