Your Ticket Out of the Big Smoke

February 20, 2012, 11:01 am Alex Brophy Yahoo!7

$7000 grant, working from home, maybe time for a sea change out of one of the most expensive cities in the world?

Your Ticket Out of the Big Smoke

Are you a Sydney or Melbourne citizen and feeling the pinch? That’s not surprising, you’re living in one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world! According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost Of Living 2012 report, Sydney and Melbourne remain firmly entrenched in number seven and eight respectively on the list.

The report compares the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries to allow companies to calculate fair compensation policies for employees relocating. Food, transport, rent, schooling and recreational costs are just some of the expenses making Sydney the most expensive city in Australia, and one of the most expensive in the world.

With this report re-affirming what you thought when you were last extorted for rent, maybe it’s time for a sea change? At least that’s what the NSW government is thinking with their latest campaign to regionally relocate city slickers. So much so that they’re even offering $7,000 grants to help you on your way. The 'See Yourself In A New Life' campaign is aimed at both alleviating the ever pressing population on Sydney and increasing development in coastal and rural areas.

As you might expect, those with business nous and entrepreneurial ingenuity are highly sought after, but everyone’s welcome and the employment opportunities are endless thanks to the tech revolution. With laser-fast communication capabilities, online commerce and flexible employers, working from home has never been easier.

But not only that, it’s a case of what’s good for you is good for your employer. Employees able to work from home are happier and therefore more productive according to Donna Stewart, executive manager of Suncorp’s commercial insurance claims area. “Performance has improved out of sight; it’s just going up. People who are working from home know that it’s still a relative rarity and their commitment is very high. It’s kind of a collaborative working relationship rather than Big Brother.” she says. Stewart has been so pleased with the results that she runs recruitment campaigns targeting employees looking for this sort of flexibility.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly is another that sees the benefits. “There are lots of people who actually prefer to work shorter hours or shifts or weekend work or whatever because it fits in with their lifestyle and [they can] work longer into their careers”, Kelly says. “They don’t have to deal with the traffic in the morning. They’re at home when they want to be. They absolutely love it. And guess what? The productivity is better.”

On the back of this it sounds as though everybody’s on board, so how about it? Cheaper, cleaner living with a commute-less workplace, maybe a veranda out the back, and seven grand in your pocket. Not bad.

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