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COVID-19 upon Us: The Work-Family Experiences of Married Couples during the First Three Months of the Pandemic in Lagos, Nigeria

Victor Ibrahim Kolo, Charles Osezua, Gloria Osezua, Charles Aigbona

Abstract: The Corona Virus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) produced enormous impact on work and family across every sector of life. In order to contain the spread of the disease which occurred with great rapidity, both workplaces and families were globally forced to shut down from public engagement. Lagos, being the epicenter of the disease in Nigeria, was more hit by the impact of the pandemic, amidst great fears and anxiety, in spite of the busy nature of socio-economic life in the mega city. This study explored couples’ experiences and coping strategies as they negotiated the “emergency normal” that confronted them during the first three months of the lockdown. Using interpretive approach, In-depth Interviews were conducted with ten (10) couples, comprising five (5) males and 5 females, with marriage life ranging between four (4) to ten years and drawn from across various occupational sectors of the Nigerian society. We investigated couples’ experience of the lockdown using a tripod of approaches: pre-COVID-19 lockdown, COVID-19 lockdown and the futuristic approach of the post-COVID-19 period, all based on couples’ experiences. We found that work-life integration, desirable as it is, seemed difficult to practice in Lagos. Beyond the conventional work-life integration (WLI) approaches to and strategies for WLI, there is need to develop more practicable frameworks that can enhance WLI practice, based on the peculiar situation of married couples in Lagos, Nigeria.
Keywords: COVID-19 / Work-Family Life / Couples / Relationship / Lockdown

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