The words ‘unprecedented’, ‘volatile’ and ‘uncertain’ are now entrenched in the language we use to describe the start of 2020. The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in everyday life – from how we shop to how we work, engage in community, learn, educate, contribute and lead – marking a significant societal shift, the impacts of which will be felt even after the virus is kept under control.
During these times of great uncertainty and change, people are looking for confidence, a sense of direction, and a sense of where things are at from leaders.
To further equip leaders, individuals and communities with an understanding of how Australians are responding to the impact of COVID-19, McCrindle and Cint have conducted a survey of Australian sentiment, attitudes and behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once we understand the shifts taking place and the attitudes and sentiment of Australians response to COVID-19, we can better lead our teams in these changing times.
Australians feel anxious and uncertain about the future
The unfolding situation around COVID-19 is creating a sense of uncertainty among Australians. Two in five (39%) feel extremely or very uncertain about the future since the recent outbreak of the virus, while another 52% feel somewhat or slightly uncertain.
In this context of change and uncertainty Australians are feeling anxious (45%), frustrated (37%) and vulnerable (29%). There is still a sense of optimism, however, with more than a quarter (27%) feeling hopeful.
Most Australians believe it will be a while before things are back to normal. Two in three Aussies (66%) believe it will take between four months and two years before things are back to normal, compared to just one in four (25%) who think the situation will settle in three months or less. One in twenty Australians (5%) believe things will never return to how they were.
The call for leaders to be strong, confident and open in the current context
As the COVID-19 pandemic brings new challenges every day, Australians are looking to their leaders to respond with confidence. According to Australians, the two most important aspects of a leader during this time are being completely open and honest with sharing information (50%) and being prepared to make the tough calls, make them early and back themselves (50%).
Despite government websites being the most trusted source, Australians are consuming more information though the media
Australians are most likely to be using mainstream broadcasting networks, such as TV and radio (53%), to find out about COVID-19 and how to respond. Other common information sources include Australian and state government websites (38%) and news websites (37%).
Despite Australians gathering most of their information through mainstream broadcasting networks, this is not the most trusted information source. Australian government and state government websites (24%) are the most trusted source of information, closely followed by health professionals (20%).
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