Many people are looking back on 2020 as a year to forget. COVID-19 caused unimaginable disruption to our lives, but there was at least one silver lining. With most schools and businesses closing their doors and allowing everyone to work and study from home, it meant many families were brought closer together than ever before, according to Real Insurance research The New Family Norm.
The future isn’t set in stone but armed with knowledge and the right mindset, you can prepare your child for a ‘new norm’ of education and work.
Hybrid work is the way of the future
While the great work-from-home experiment of 2020 was a roaring success for many industries – showing businesses that people could and should work from home when necessary – it won’t be a permanent switch.
What the experts are seeing is that most sectors are embracing a hybrid style of work arrangement. That means allowing staff to work from home a few days every week while coming into the office during the other days. This has the benefit of maintaining employee camaraderie and boosting collaboration while in the office while giving staff the freedom to work remotely when they need to, save money on commuting costs, and generally find more work-life balance than they had been a full-time office worker.
Parents are concerned about the long-term impact on education
While this shift to hybrid work is a positive for many people, for parents it’s only one part of what’s been a major shift in how we work and learn. Over the past couple of years, working parents have had to abandon their offices, set up shop at home – often in cramped and noisy spaces – all while trying to home-school their children while the physical schools shut.
This had – and still has – many parents concerned about the long-term effects of school closures on their child’s education. After all, parents aren’t trained teachers and any disruption to a child’s learning could have flow-on effects for their grades, their desire to study and even their long-term education outlook for university and beyond.
Parents are also worried about how it will affect their children’s careers
Parents are also worried about how changes to school and work post-COVID will impact their child’s career and future earning potential. The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership found that children who don’t attend school regularly may experience communication difficulties, social isolation, and a lack of overall engagement.
While children in Australia were still able to access class virtually during lockdowns, it was certainly a disruptive period that could have an impact (financial or otherwise) on them as they enter the workforce. It won’t be measurable for years to come, but it’s still a concern for some parents.
The community ‘stepping up’ is vital in a post-COVID Australia
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding COVID-19, The New Family Norm report by Real Insurance found that our community spirit was stronger than ever. During lockdowns, many families witnessed special community gestures to help keep positivity high. From spotting teddy bears in windows and spoon villages in people’s front yards to organising local drives to help out neighbours most in need, it’s this community spirit that will help Australians thrive in 2021 and beyond.
And that’s exactly what parents need to hear to allay their worries about their children’s future. A study on families and friends ‘stepping up’ during COVID-19 showed that it wasn’t just financial support being generously offered during the pandemic, but emotional and physical support as well.
While our work lives and school schedules were significantly disrupted in 2020, parents can look to the future and know that many of the changes will be for the better. More importantly, we’ve seen how our community can band together during the toughest times, which can be the best possible way to reduce our worries and concerns for the times ahead.
There’s no denying that the past few years were tough for the vast majority of Australians with bushfires and droughts, rising house prices, stagnant wages growth and of course, the global pandemic affecting our health, travel plans and economy. The good news is that the future is looking bright, and although there will be permanent changes to how our children study and work, with the support of their loved ones and the wider community, kids will have the opportunity to thrive in a post-COVID world.