My account

You control your data

We use cookies to tailor the experience of creating resumes and cover letters. For these reasons, we may share your usage data with third parties. You can find more information about how we use cookies on our Cookies Policy. If you would like to set your cookies preferences, click the Settings button below. To accept all cookies, click Accept.

Settings Accept

Cookie settings

Click on the types of cookies below to learn more about them and customize your experience on our Site. You may freely give, refuse or withdraw your consent. Keep in mind that disabling cookies may affect your experience on the Site. For more information, please visit our Cookies Policy and Privacy Policy.

Choose type of cookies to accept


These cookies allow us to analyze our performance to offer you a better experience of creating resumes and cover letters. Analytics related cookies used on our Site are not used by Us for the purpose of identifying who you are or to send you targeted advertising. For example, we may use cookies/tracking technologies for analytics related purposes to determine the number of visitors to our Site, identify how visitors move around the Site and, in particular, which pages they visit. This allows us to improve our Site and our services.

Performance and Personalisation

These cookies give you access to a customized experience of our products. Personalization cookies are also used to deliver content, including ads, relevant to your interests on our Site and third-party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content as well as track the content you access (including video viewing). We may also collect password information from you when you log in, as well as computer and/or connection information. During some visits, we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, time spent on certain pages and page interaction information.


These cookies are placed by third-party companies to deliver targeted content based on relevant topics that are of interest to you. And allow you to better interact with social media platforms such as Facebook.


These cookies are essential for the Site’s performance and for you to be able to use its features. For example, essential cookies include: cookies dropped to provide the service, maintain your account, provide builder access, payment pages, create IDs for your documents and store your consents.

To see a detailed list of cookies, click here.

Save preferences

Social Distancing or Distant Socializing? [2020 Study]

From now on, we’ll be looking at the world in terms of how it looked before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 1,000 Americans told us how the way they communicate has changed.

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Career Expert
Social Distancing or Distant Socializing? [2020 Study]

In the 1980s, the Police sang Don’t Stand So Close to Me, and it was a hit that lots of people sang along to. In the early 2020s, the same message from the police won’t make anyone sing along but rather comply and take a step back for obvious reasons.

Times have changed, that’s a fact. But we’re all human, and we long for real-life contact and interaction with other people. Or do we? Can video conferencing replace face-to-face meetings entirely? Do we really crave for more “IRL” interactions in this new COVID reality?

We asked 1,047 Americans to share their opinions on and experiences with social distancing and distant socializing. That’s what they told us.

social distancing

Before and After

Watershed moments introduce certain demarcation lines—we like to look at the world before and after them. The coronavirus outbreak will surely come down in history as one of such moments and we’ll be looking at what our lives looked like before it, and how they changed afterward.

This is exactly why we spun our study around questions probing the differences between pre- and post-COVID-19 reality. First off, we wanted to learn whether or not the number of video calls they participated in really grew.

In short: yes, it did.

For the other half, it either didn’t change (14%) or was actually higher before the outbreak (36%). 

The largest increase—with over 60% of respondents admitting that video connections were on the rise—was visible in companies employing between 500 and 1,000 people.

Interestingly, the sector where video calls were more common before the COVID-19 outbreak was manufacturing. However, with so many production plants being temporarily or permanently closed, it’s no wonder that the number of video calls in this particular industry actually dropped.

How You Like Me Now?

The truth is that video calls aren’t a new thing, are they? All the tools we’re using now were just as readily available before the outbreak. It’s only that a lot of us started using them on a regular basis. Now, since we use the video conferencing technology more often, have we become more fond of it?

Well, not really.

An overwhelming majority of our respondents (60%) admitted that their opinion about talking to people on screen hasn’t changed at all. 

Interestingly, it’s the manufacturing sector where the largest percentage of respondents liked video conferencing better before COVID-19.

We also wanted to probe into how comfortable people are with video on.

The results showed us that video conferencing seems to have already become a norm with a total of 83% of respondents saying they either felt comfortable (53%) or didn’t mind the camera (30%).

Well, maybe the 17% who felt discomfort were stuck in meetings with people sitting too close to their webcams, as a recent University of California Santa Barbara study suggests.

And one more thing—

Turning a camera on in your laptop lets others peer into the privacy of your home (unless of course, you’re using one of those virtual backgrounds). So, do the video calls you’re forced to take at home feel like an intrusion into your privacy?

Well, this is where people seem to be more willing to draw a line. To almost 38% of respondents, a work-related video call that you’re forced to take at home does feel intrusive. It’s worth noting that younger generations (Gen Z and Millennials) are more likely to feel this way than older generations (people aged 60+). While about 40% of young respondents feel like video calls from work invade their privacy, less than 25% of older respondents believe that to be true.

Maybe the young are simply more aware of the existence of such Twitter profiles as RoomRater or similar.

Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

Being at the office does have advantages. One of them is that we can simply walk down the corridor and ask a quick question to a colleague from a different team. With the advent of video conferencing, this can obviously be replaced with a quick call.

But do we take advantage of this and catch our colleagues from different teams for quick calls or do we interact less with them now?

Almost 43% of our respondents don’t see much of a difference. This could be a good sign indicating that video conferencing works as it should and doesn’t disrupt communication across different teams. 

But the thing is that almost 33% of respondents say they had more interaction with people on different teams before the outbreak. So maybe, after all, video conferencing is more of a mixed blessing than a clear winner.

social distancing

Coffee and TV

Modern offices are places that are supposed to foster creativity and casual interactions between employees. In the context of video calls, such workplace interactions can be replaced with an offhand call. Or can they?

We asked how the COVID-19 outbreak affected the number of informal meetings our respondents had with their colleagues. We were expecting the number to be significantly lower after the outbreak.

It turned out we were mistaken.

The remaining 40% admitted they participated in more informal meetings with colleagues before the outbreak.

Interestingly, the largest percentage of respondents who met more informally before COVID was in the education sector (46%). However, this isn’t that surprising if you think of all the teachers bouncing ideas off each other during the breaks.


We asked our respondents which aspects of being at the office they’d like to try and recreate using online conferencing tools.

Informal chatting ranked one with over 41% of respondents expressing their willingness to do so, followed by working together in the same room (36%), and eating meals together (30%).

Our respondents were also given an opportunity to tell us what it was they missed most about working from the office. The answers that recurred most were about simply being around other people. 

Which Aspects of Working at the Office Do You Miss Most?

  • Asking for help
  • Being around everyone
  • Checking my mail, getting coffee made by others, interaction in the hallways, dressing up a little. Just the professionalism
  • Commute
  • Getting out of the house
  • Happiness
  • Having complete access to resources
  • Just wandering the office talking to folks
  • Nothing, I hate being around people.
  • Seeing everyone every day
  • Socializing in person and water cooler talk
  • The funny moments with co-workers
  • Two monitors

Ch-Check It Out

It’s common knowledge that we share a lot of things online. Studies show that we do it for various reasons. We were curious to see whether or not the necessity to spend even more time in front of the computer screen changed our sharing habits. In other words, do we now share more links to interesting online finds than before COVID?

Not necessarily.

Also, as we’re getting bored scrolling through social media updates, some of us may feel the urge to reach out to people we haven’t contacted for some time. That’s what we explored as well—

Almost half of the respondents (45%) said they did interact more with friends and colleagues they rarely were in touch before.

But we didn’t end here and pushed things a little bit further with another question:

Can social distancing actually improve communication and tighten bonds between people?

The answers took us by surprise. As many as 45% of respondents admitted this was the case with almost half of the young singing off on this statement. 

Such a sentiment may result from the fact that almost just as many of our respondents (44%) feel more connected with people around them because of “fighting a mutual enemy” and “being in this together.”

Human Touch

So, it seems like the age of digital communication is in bloom and despite the distance between us, we’re doing quite fine. But does it mean we’re all entirely unaffected by the fact that we need to keep away from each other?

Not really.

In terms of demographics, we noticed two groups whose members were particularly worried—the young (51%) and those working in the IT industry (57%).

While the former seemed like a group whose concern was rather predictable, the latter took us by surprise as this result undermines the stereotype of a socially awkward “IT guy.” 

Come Out and Play

As we’ve seen so far, the paradox of social distancing is that it can bring people together while pulling them apart at the same time. The fact is that COVID-19 is the first pandemic in a world connected more than ever before. Back in the days of the Spanish flu, there was no way for people to know what was happening on the other side of the town as quickly as we’re now able to learn what’s happening on the other side of the globe.

Events of such magnitude make us look at what we have and can do from new perspectives. For example, 54% of our respondents admitted that COVID-19 proved to us it’s just as easy to keep in touch with people who live overseas as those who live next door. More than this, 40% of respondents believe that for all its limitations, online communication is just as comfortable as communicating face to face.

In addition, the bounds that limit us—such as the inability to have physical contact with others—are a great test for our creativity. This is visible in the numbers of respondents willing to participate in such virtual get-togethers as:

  • Watching Netflix in sync with friends and discussing the movie afterward (48%)
  • Having an online reunion with friends you haven’t connected with in years (47%)
  • Participating in online fitness activities (43%)
  • Attending online concerts (43%)

And here are some suggestions from respondents themselves:

  • Whiteboard discussions
  • Casual conversations
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Coffee breaks


The coronavirus disease outbreak has changed the way we interact with each other. For about 50% of people the number of work-related video calls they participate in went up. And while video conferencing seems to have become the new communication norm, almost 40% perceive work-related video calls they’re forced to take at home as an intrusion into their privacy.

Despite the fact that social distancing has pulled us apart from each other physically, 54% of people say that COVID-19 showed us it’s just as easy to keep in touch with people who live overseas as those who live next door. In addition, 45% of people believe that such artificial distancing can actually tighten bonds between people as they feel “they’re in this together.”

Finally, even though virtual communication may be as comfortable as face-to-face interactions, it’s unlikely to entirely replace the traditional way we communicate as almost half of the society is concerned about not having enough physical contact with others.


For this study, we collected answers from 1,047 respondents through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Our sample’s average age was 38 with a standard deviation of 12 and consisted of 55.4% men and 44.6% women.

This self-report study probed into people’s attitudes towards social distancing, distant socializing, and communication patterns before and after the COVID-19 outbreak. Respondents were asked 22 questions, most of which were scale-based or multiple choice. As experience is subjective, we understand that some participants and their answers might have been affected by recency, attribution, or exaggeration bias. However, given the gender and age makeup of our sample, as well as the fact that the official labor force participation rate in July 2019 was 63%, the study can be generalized to the entire population. 

Fair Use Statement:

Have you discovered something new about how people communicated before and after COVID-19? Feel free to share the results of our study with your audience for any non-commercial use. Just remember to include a link to this page so our contributors can earn credit for their hard work. Thank you!


About Us

ResumeLab empowers your job hunt. Our dedicated tools—resume builder & cover letter generator—will help you make the perfect job application.

You will be able to choose a professional resume template and a matching cover letter template that comes with pre-written content suggestions that will make your writing process much easier. 

Rate my article: distant socializing
Thank you for voting
Average: 4.56 (9 votes)
Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Experienced in the education management industry, Maciej shares his knowledge for every step of your job hunt, from landing an internship to moving to an executive position. Maciej has helped job candidates at all stages of their career paths, from interns to directors to C-suite members, to thrive in their job. His mission is to help you find the right opportunity and create a job application that gets you the career you deserve. Maciej holds a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in communication and education management.

Was it interesting? Here are similar articles

Pareto Principle & the 80/20 Rule (Updated for 2021)

Pareto Principle & the 80/20 Rule (Updated for 2021)

The Pareto Principle soaked into the fabric of modern society. Everyone knows it’s about the 80/20 disparity. But how did it start? How does it apply to real-life situations?

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Career Expert
A Boss From Hell [2020 Study]

A Boss From Hell [2020 Study]

In this world, nothing is certain, except death, taxes… and having to deal with a bad boss at some point in your professional career. So, have you already met one? Or not (yet)?

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Career Expert
We Don’t Need No Education. Or Do We? [2020 Study]

We Don’t Need No Education. Or Do We? [2020 Study]

Education is said to be the passport to the future. Yet at the same time, there are lots of critical voices about the education system. 1,000+ Americans told us what they think.

Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Maciej Duszyński, CPRW
Career Expert