Five weeks ago, all anybody wanted to talk about was what life might be like under lockdown. Now that we know, all anyone wants to talk about is how soon the country will open up again and what it will look like when it does.
Though we’re not out of the woods just yet, data continues to show a flattening of the curve, with many predicting business will slowly begin to resume in the coming weeks. Getting back to ‘normal’ may first mean adjusting to a new normal, but Australians are nothing if not resilient, and we’ll get there together. If you’ve been wondering what life will look like post-corona, here’re some likely scenarios.
Firstly, once workplaces begin to reopen and workers dismantle their dining table desks and return to the office, perceptions around efficiency and flexibility will be drastically different. Now that the majority of us have learnt that we can still be productive remotely, the rigidity of the traditional daily office routine seems a little archaic. This time at home has led many of us to rethink our priorities and our attitudes toward conventional work schedules. By no means have we learnt to slack-off, we’ve just realised we can ‘get it done’ from home.
The COVID-19 outbreak has also fast tracked a new virtual healthcare system in Australia. Prior to the pandemic, there wasn’t even a Medicare code for non-face-to-face medical appointments. In response to the virus, the Australian Government has expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians while providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners. Post-corona, this modern delivery of basic healthcare will become the norm, especially when it comes to routine GP visits for script refills and less serious concerns.
While it’s impossible to ignore the impact the virus will have on the economy, as with other downturns, some industries will bounce back quicker than others—and the real estate industry looks set be one of them. First, it’s an industry that boasts a much quicker road to recovery, because it’s one of the few that never really shut down. Potential buyers are still able to search for and tour properties (albeit virtually) and banks are still processing applications for finance without a major impact. Coupled with the fact that the cost of borrowing has never been lower, once restrictions are lifted, we’ll likely see thing return to normal in the market due to pent-up demand and record low interest rates.
Whilst the tourism sector will be among the worst hit once this is all over, international travel bans may at least benefit holiday destinations within Australia. It’s been widely reported that overseas travel will be the last restriction to be lifted, though likely not any time soon. If new cases of COVID-19 continue to decline, states will begin to allow travel once more. As literally everyone will be jumping to get out of the house and visit somewhere new, communities that rely on tourism to keep their economy afloat will flourish. This is particularly encouraging, as many local tourist destinations were already affected by this summer’s devasting bushfires before coronavirus knocked their recovery efforts back even further.
Finally, post-corona, we’ll experience a sense of community and comradery like never before. Everyone has been affected by this lockdown in some way, and our shared challenges will only bring us closer together. Flaking on plans will be a vice of the past, and people will be more genuine and friendly in their daily interactions. Whether this lockdown has affected you in ways as significant as losing income or as trivial as a multi-week debate with your spouse concerning how to stack the dishwasher—dirty knives should be facing up, FYI—we’re all in this together, and we’ll come out of it stronger, kinder, and better at loading the dishes.