Hi Team,

I'm sorry that this week’s email is coming out a little late. I generally research and write these "Weekly Emails" at home, mostly over the weekend, but for the last two weeks we have been re-polishing our floors at home and everything has been turned upside down; and very disrupting! Anyway: enough of my woes and into this week’s topic.

Twelve months into the pandemic (almost to the day) we are still feeling the cultural and lifestyle changes brought about by this worldwide contagion. To say that the pandemic has permanently changed human behaviour is in no way an overstatement. Just last week in Victoria we witnessed a new wave of panic buying of toilet paper and pasta during the 5 day "flash lockdown" and in similar forced lockdown in America there was panic buying of guns and ammunition (good old USA!) To see the full depth of this topic, if you type the title of this email into Google you get 774 million results. (No, I didn't read all these search results!)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called the biggest human experiment in history and the biggest global challenge since WW2. Living with numerous restrictions and long-term uncertainty has had wide reaching negative and positive effects on our culture and our behaviour. From my observations the main changes to our culture due to the pandemic, can be grouped into five categories, "1 = how we work, 2 = how we move around, 3 = how we relate to each other,
4 = how we educate and 5 = how we feel." 

'This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society." 
Melinda Gates

1, The fastest and most widespread changes we all experienced early last year were the changes to how we work. The need for social distancing greatly accelerated the trend towards working remotely and our high dependence on computers and the internet. Changes have occurred in almost all types of work, but some professions have been impacted more than others. For example, Health care workers have become the "front line crusaders" on whom the whole of society depends upon. Tourism has been almost non-existent for the past year and most likely for the foreseeable future. The performing arts, (that are central to our cultural identity), have been sidelined until the last few weeks and food and hospitality have been on and off several times and continue to operate under strict regulations. Construction however, at least until last week, was able to continue working, in a slightly restricted capacity, throughout the pandemic.

The shift to working from home is likely to be permanent for numerous occupations and seems to have been a positive change for productivity and for opening up options for where we can live. But the social aspects of most businesses and professions have been dropped or reduced to a minimum and many people have experienced ongoing "social isolation".

2, Public transport was running at approx. 20% capacity for most of last year and is only recently started to pick up noticeably. Peak hour traffic in and out of the City has been almost non-existent and other than school drop off or pick-up time, local traffic seems to be consistently moderate. so work commute times, for anyone not working from home, have been greatly reduced and less stressful! Several friends of mine who normally travel internationally for business on a regular basis, have been earthbound for the last 12 months and have reported next to no loss in professional efficiency or effectiveness.

"For the first time in history we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV and doing nothing.
Let's not screw this up!"  Thanks Instagram

Because this is getting a bit lengthy and I have lots more to say about this topic, I will address the other three categories of cultural change due to the pandemic in next week's email (and I have a birthday to go celebrate!)

Thanks again for reading,
Stag safe and open to change.

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