Bustling streets, crowded public transport, dozens of people everywhere you look – this was the norm in our capital cities just a few months ago.
As COVID-19 has profoundly altered the way we go about our daily lives, it has also sparked the question of what long-term implications this will have on the more grand-scale life choices we make.
Even though the Australian government has attempted to curb urban sprawl and distribute the population more evenly across the country in recent years, the population growth in capitals has been speedy.
The problem is that since metropolitan areas provide more jobs, amenities and human connections, for many, the urban lifestyle simply appears more attractive.
On the other hand, now that we have noticed the freedom and flexibility of working from home, living in large cities is not the only option anymore. To many people, a home office might actually be a more feasible solution – and one which they are not ready to give up, even after we eventually do overcome this crisis.
This newly discovered freedom to work from basically anywhere in the world, makes the countryside and its affordable housing more appealing, especially to buyers with a strictly limited budget.
Obviously, not all jobs provide the possibility to work remotely, and as the Federal Government attempts to find ways to boost economic growth, a large piece of the puzzle is addressing the rising unemployment rate.
The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) estimates that already between March and April, 2.7 million people were affected by job loss or reduced hours.
With COVID-19 interrupting supply chains and closing factories, Australia has felt the impact and experienced shortages with outsourced goods. To secure the self-sufficiency of our country, we have realised the importance of investing in Australian manufacturing and agriculture, and this, too, provides more jobs in rural areas.
We can already say with a lot of confidence that COVID-19 has shaped the way in which we think about living and working remotely.
Only time will tell if this is also going to form our behaviour in regards to how we live and work in the long run.
Or, maybe we are going back to business as usual, as soon as we conveniently forget the moral of the story, as we humans way too often tend to do.