5 ways COVID-19 has marked a return to the simple life and a focus on wellbeing
In a world of screen saturation, 24/7 expectations and always-on technologies, Australians were struggling to find a sustainable pace of life. And then came COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns at home. While COVID-19 brought anxiety, health concerns, and financial impacts, it has also provided a much-needed ‘coronacation’, which many Australians have used to rebalance their lives.
Here are five ways a return to the simple life has helped our wellbeing.
1. More time for creative pursuits
Our national research shows that 1 in 3 spent more time reading, baking and in creative pursuits as a result of ‘iso’ (social isolation). A quarter of us have also learnt new skills or engaged in online learning and dusted off some old-school activities to pass the time.
2. An increased focus on family time
From jigsaw puzzles to family board games nights, Australians have spent more time interacting with those at home. The results are positive: 1 in 5 say that all this has led to stronger connections within their household. Home hobbies are being passed on to the next generation too, with backyard sports having had a resurgence, as well as vegetable gardens and gardening generally having become mainstream once more.
3. Cost and time savings due to working from home
Homes across Australia shifted from living spaces to home offices overnight as more than a quarter of Australians (27%) started working from home. This has brought unique opportunities with the biggest benefits being more time because of no commute and less time getting ready (82%) and saving money on travel and lunch costs (76%).
4. The Aussie humour shining through
During these tough times, Australians have seen the humorous Aussie spirit shining through, particularly with our unique Aussie lexicon. Our old life is remembered as B.C. (Before Corona) in this A.C. (After Corona) world. But far from being intimidated by this virus, for Aussies it is simply The Rona. Our lives were spent in iso, our DIY haircuts and colours delivered the embarrassing coronacuts and working from home became such a mainstream thing, it now comes with its own three letter acronym: WFH. This work context has brought with it new work realities like Zoom-bombing (kids or partners lurking in the background of our virtual meetings), virtual happy hour (Friday afternoon drinks at home), and with less incidental exercise, the dreaded corona-kilos!
5. Greater flexibility and work/life integration
Despite the challenges, Australians embraced this return to the simple life, and it’s set to continue. More than 7 in 10 (73%) say they would be excited to work from home more often and a similar proportion (69%) say that they are as, if not more productive when working from home compared to the workplace. More than three in four Australians (78%) believe working from home will become more of the new normal. Although it’s been a challenging time, there have been some wellbeing benefits that many are hoping to continue when life resumes to a place of normalcy.