Instant Teams Survey Data Shows Impacts of COVID-19 on Remote-Working Military Spouses

Throughout the past few months, we’ve all been forced to adapt and grow in the face of COVID-19. But as we’ve said a few times before, when uncertain times hit home, the military-connected community is primed to handle whatever is thrown their way.

And while we know that to be true, we understand the impacts on our community just as much. So, we sought to gather the cold hard facts through a survey commissioned by Market Junction, helping provide some insight into how our remote-working military community compares to national data in light of COVID-19 response and transitions. 

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Here are just a few highlights worth bringing your attention to:

1. Female military spouses feel they were much more prepared for this crisis. 

Seventy-eight percent of female military spouses surveyed report they were either “Somewhat more prepared” or “Much more prepared,” compared to 49% of civilian women. 

Surprise, right? Not so much because of the territory that comes with the military lifestyle—from maintaining a high level of flexibility in the face of steady PCS-ing and unexpected deployments/trainings to navigating unknowns (aka moving to a new community), and thinking outside the box to come up with innovative solutions to make that rented on-base house a home or wear all the hats while your spouse is overseas.

When asked about the best thing (or things) respondents did to prepare for the crisis, one military spouse respondent even shared:

“I have 20 years of experience as a military spouse under my belt.”

That’s the kind of experience that inevitably makes you much more prepared for any kind of crisis.

2. Even so, a higher percentage of female military spouses report high stress levels.

When asked about their current stress levels, 31% of female military spouses surveyed report they are either “Very high” or “Off the charts,” compared to 15% of civilian women. Not to mention, nearly all female military spouses (94%) report their stress levels are similar or higher than pre-crisis.

It’s safe to say that the reason for this is because the military-connected community operates and thrives at a level of stress that may not seem so normal to the civilian population. Because of that, while it’s a term that’s thrown around a lot lately, self-care at home has never been more important. Even our friends at We Are The Mighty agree. 

Sure, you might be thinking: I don’t have time for that. But it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant (or expensive). Self-care for you could mean throwing on a face mask before making the kids breakfast, getting your body moving outside for 30 minutes, or simply prioritizing sleep. Fill up your own tank to make sure you have what it takes to handle another day.

Need some self-care resources? Our friends at Blue Star Families offer #BlueStarPerks for its members. Join for free today to get complimentary access to resources like Headspace, Thrive Market, and Spiritune.

3. Nearly two-thirds of female military spouses interact with 5 or fewer people outside of work.

Fifty-three percent of female military spouses surveyed report they meaningfully interacted with 0 to 5 people for work in the past week, compared to 40% or civilian women. Not that stark of a difference, right? 

Well, that low interaction can definitely start to have an impact when nearly two-thirds of female military spouses surveyed report they meaningfully interacted with 0-5 people outside of work in the past week, compared to 36% of civilian women.

So it’s no wonder why the desire and straight-up need to reconnect with others is universal. One military spouse shared, 

“I want to connect with my friends more. This crisis has prevented many connections. It’s like an overseas PCS.”

Thanks to constant moves and distance from family, there’s no doubt you’re primed for this kind of challenge—the challenge of connection. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Continue to flex your creative thinking skills, finding new and fun ways to battle isolation (think a weekly game night using the Houseparty app).

4. While nearly 60% of female civilians report having more leisure time now, a significantly smaller share of female military spouses do. 

When asked about the amount of leisure time before the crisis compared to now, 18% of female military spouses surveyed report they have “Much less” leisure time now, compared to 7% of civilian women. 

As military spouses, it’s easy to become strangers to the idea of “free time,” while managing the day-to-day responsibilities, expectations, and stressors that come with being part of a military family. So when COVID-19 happened, those responsibilities became exacerbated.

Now, what’s the solution? Preparation and structure, at least on the Instant Teams front. We’re big proponents of time-blocking to help make the most of the time you do have and create space (big or small) for your go-to leisure outlets to boost your mental health.

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Looking for more updates on how our team is adapting and responding to our community’s needs during this time and beyond? Stay tuned right here on the blog and follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


by Erica McMannes

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