Services increase thanks to population retention

02.03.21 12:55 PM By Caitlin

Each month, the team at Pointer Remote sit down to look at how working remotely, in all of its capacities, has the scope to change life for the better. Now, more than ever, we’re reminded of the impermanence of ‘normal’ and the importance of remaining adaptable and flexible. Join us for a deep dive into Working From Anywhere (WFA).

Anyone who has spent much time in regional, rural or remote Australia knows the symptoms. For Sale and For Lease signs pop up in shop windows or worse, they stand empty; nothing beyond the smudged glass front but dead blowflies and dried up dreams. 

The school parking lot starts to shrink. The footy team can no longer field a side, or find a sponsor with enough spare dough to front up for shirts. The pub struggles away, propped up by a few loyal patrons who still like their beer with a froth. But there’s only so long you can pay a mortgage on a couple of schooners and some packets of peanuts. The main street is long and empty; plenty of parking, but no one to fill it. The Real Estate agent’s window is filled with properties at prices that would make a Sydney sider’s jaw hit the pavement. You can get a four bedder for what?

It could be due to drought, or a mining boom gone bust, or the simple brain drain as the region’s best and brightest are lured away to opportunities that pay better in bigger areas. Dying towns, once epicentres of agriculture and commerce, are faded as sepia as the photos on the walls. As the population starts to dwindle, so too do the services - from health and education to retail. The retention vortex begins; less people means less resources, and less resources means less swag a town has to attract professionals and families.

However, now we’re living in a reality where the benefits of WFA outweigh the costs, this could spell real change for these communities. With remote and flexible work on the cards, opportunities open up. This is not just for those looking for lifestyle while maintaining career progression or banking healthy salaries, but also for trailing spouses - like those moving to areas because their partner has scored a job in agriculture, health or the military. 

And, like when it finally rains again and parched moisture profiles are renewed, so too is the trickle effect when populations are attracted and retained. By allowing people to live locally while working nationally or even internationally, outside salaries are injected into local economies and the ripple continues. Young families and young professionals are attracted by the lifestyle and cheaper cost of living, or decide to come home where their own ancestral roots lie. Classrooms swell and local governments have communities to argue for. Shops have customers and sporting teams have players. 

And, bit by bit, country Australia thrives. It’s a win-win, as far as I can see. 

Work your way!

Jo Palmer

Founder & Managing Director of Pointer Remote