The Financial Express

The wait for a new normal life

| Updated: November 19, 2020 16:40:24

The wait  for a new normal life

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we cannot speak fluently, we cannot laugh loudly, we cannot meet and greet our families, friends and others, and we cannot travel frequently. We are in jail. We are craving for shiny days to fly around the globe. This pandemic keeps our kids at bay as we cannot accompany them in the idyllic green fields where they can run and breathe from nature.

Covid-19 simultaneously affects human body and mind, society, world economy and even breaks the concept of global village. All the achievements of medical science are failing to stop the pandemic. Only in four months of its outbreak the entire world economy has almost collapsed.

As public frustrations rise, economic woes multiply, and some signs emerge that the spread of Covid-19 is slowing and the desire for a return to pre-lockdown "normal life" grows stronger. Yet the changes wrought by the epidemic will likely not fade soon, if ever, forcing organisations and individuals across the spectrum-nonprofits, foundations, citizens, governments, families-to grapple with what "normal" means now and in the future.

Mostly this pandemic has ruined lives, it has come as a surprise to some of us and has changed the way we live and the things we did on a daily basis.

The lockdown has made us realise the importance of actually appreciating the things and people that we take for granted, but what it has taught us is the spirit of unity and giving a helping hand to others and helping where one can.

It has come to show us that money and material things are not as important as human life and caring for each other in times of need, it has shown how much greatness can come from working together and what it can do for a nation and community just by extending a helping hand where it is needed and wanted.

For most of the people around the world today, the recent Covid-19 outbreak is a symbol of how fragile and unpredictable our lives can be in an unusual state of affairs. The deadly virus which has changed the way in which most of us live, work or perform our basic day to day functions is continuing to increase its grasp at an alarming rate with the impact being felt at multiple levels resulting in economic slowdown, business disruption, trade hindrances, travel obstructions, public seclusion and so on.

With respect to the continuity of business, companies around the world have switched over to online/virtual modes of working while global mobility has come to a standstill, ensuring a healthy work-life balance by helping your teams find space-both physical and mental-to work from home and promote a healthy work-life balance which allows them to devote a stipulated amount of time to their work as well as to themselves and their family to avoid the risk of burnout.

Now we are fully technology-based, enabling proper access to technology by ensuring that each of our employees has the required tech equipment such as laptops, good internet connection, VPN connection, digital database systems etc. in place.

Using virtual platforms to have discussions, meetings and one-to-one talk is important. In order to maintain motivation and enhance productivity, it is critical to have regular team meetings/interactions with one's peers. Digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc. are a big advantage in this case and can help people stay updated and feel connected even while working from home.

Shrugging off their technophobia, middle-aged and senior executives of corporates and other offices now carry out the official activities online.

There is also a greater chance of people getting "psychologically sick", leading to decreased productivity. Hence, it is essential to share regular updates and tips and suggestions in which they can make the most of their time and increase productivity and collaboration.

Obviously, these are challenging times for all of us but the one thing we know is that our best response relies on global empathy, cooperation and community building that sits at the heart of our movement.

Health and economic prosperity are directly related, and so these should not be any "either-or" choice for a person or a nation.

I am certainly over-simplifying the massively complex situation we are in. We are all trying to make sense of where we stand today and where we will be tomorrow. We are all in it together: The elderly widow living on her meager social safety net payment from the government; the rickshaw-puller who doesn't have passengers any longer; the owner of a small ready-made garment factory who has seen most of his orders cancelled; our prime minister, who is constantly trying to balance between the medical and the socioeconomic considerations.

Social distancing has been universally accepted as the most effective solution to combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has resulted in what is effectively the largest "work from home" experiment ever conducted in human history. We're seeing the effect on the internet, in terms of traffic patterns that are shifting. People are accessing more educational resources online for their kids; finding unconventional ways to connect with coworkers, friends, and family; and employers are being more flexible in how they respond to employee needs through more dynamic, cloud-based technology. I think we'll see these shifts last well beyond the immediate fallout of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The coronavirus has already created significant shifts in people's behaviour. People are washing their hands or using sanitizer more often than before. Behavioural changes like these may be fear-driven to some extent. However, "fear-based behaviour modification is not proven to be sustainable. After the end of the initial coronavirus threat, it is predicted that new habits like hand washing, social distancing and hoarding will be less in vogue.

The contributor is a banking professional,
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