Remote workers are “semigrating” to these areas

CAPE TOWN- Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown, many remote workers have been actively moving away from large South African cities to smaller towns or areas.

“Semigration”, according to Chas Everitt International property group, has become a de-urbanisation movement, which sees people moving away from cities to smaller towns in search of a less stressful country lifestyle, while still retaining their city jobs and working remotely.

The group’s CEO, Berry Everitt, says that technology has enabled many employees and even whole businesses to work remotely, creating a large number of ‘digital nomads’ around the world who continue to work and earn as they indulge a love of travel to different parts of the country.

“We are thus not surprised that more employees, as well as executives, are now seriously exploring the idea of moving away from a big metro to a smaller town or an estate in a more rural area. This pandemic has been a wakeup call for many people and families who are now seriously reassessing their priorities, and seeking ways to make permanent changes to achieve a lifestyle that is less rushed and stressed, and we see this reflected in a significant increase in enquiries for country homes,” he said.

Now that many people and companies have made the switch, Everitt says they have realised that:

  • It is much easier than they thought;
  • It does not necessarily mean a drop in productivity; in fact, people are often more productive when working from home; and
  • Many types of work lend themselves to working remotely on a permanent basis – and from wherever one prefers to live.

Everitt says the areas that could be prime targets for this process of “semigration” in South Africa are the Cape West coast, the Winelands, the Garden Route, the Little Karoo, the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, Hartebeespoort, the Vaal, Lanseria, the Waterberg in Limpopo and towns in Mpumalanga close to Mbombela and the Kruger National Park.

“Of course, not all towns in these areas will immediately benefit from this trend, but those that can attract the “de-urbanites” with good municipal management, reliable power and water supplies, reliable and fast internet connectivity, reasonable proximity to an airport, good shopping and medical facilities and good schools if they have children will prosper most,” he said.

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