Australian Normality Index – November 2020
Forethought launched the Normality Index (NI) immediately as we went into lockdown in March 2020. We now have 17 waves of data (weekly for the first 12 weeks and now monthly since July). Here are the key findings from our November pulse.
Please note: Fieldwork for November was conducted prior to the South Australian outbreak and lockdown.
KEY OBSERVATIONS: NOVEMBER 2020
CONVERGING ON NORMALITY: October saw Victorians lagging behind other states in feeling the most normal. As the second wave of infections have come under control and Victorians are allowed to exercise more rights outside their homes, Normality in the state has skyrocketed. Alongside Victoria’s surge, all other states saw an uplift in Normality bringing the national level to the highest point (76%) since the beginning of the pandemic.
As the health threat across the nation continues to come under control and borders have begun to reopen, NSW, QLD and SA saw improvements in their sense of normality and WA also saw a lift after a two month plateau. This month continues the narrative of optimism with all states enjoying the fruits of hard work across the nation to get the outbreaks under control.
SOME ASPECTS OF LIFE WERE BACK TO NORMAL: While Australians acknowledged that life wasn’t quite back to the normal from one year ago, some aspects of life were thought to be drawing close. In particular, the ability to shop as needed for groceries, medications, and household items was thought to be completely back to normal. Despite the clear markers of difference from before the pandemic (hand sanitiser and social distancing), perhaps Australians were beginning to settle into these changes and accept them as the ‘new COVID normal.’
LEAVING ZOOM: COVID-19 has forced many Australians to work from home indefinitely, abandoning office spaces and revolutionising the professional workplace. With the nation continuing to suppress the threat of the virus, Australians are beginning to transition back to their physical offices – though not without some change. Many returning from virtual work would be doing so in a reduced capacity with greater flexibility to enjoy the benefits of the virtual office. The key driver of normality for Australians was the “Ability to attend work/university/school as usual” (23%). After oppressive lockdowns and restrictions, Australians are looking forward to leaving their homes and returning to the office, albeit less frequently, and these changes are making all of us feel that life is now ‘more normal’.