At this point it is probably safe to say that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted just about everyone around the globe. The world will mark the spread of the COVID-19 as a major event in the history books.
We are seeing daily, just how quickly the illness can spread through communities, creating huge waves of outbreak and panic. Governments across the world are racing to institute extraordinary measures to contain the spread, with announcements of national emergencies, lockdowns, curfews, news policies and regulations. The policies and local regulations are expected to last long, maybe even after the infections tide down and a vaccine is found. In short, this pandemic will leave an indelible mark on our lives – changing the way we live and work.
Let’s look at some ways how our lives have been or will be impacted.
Shifting How We Live.
Washing Your Hands. The most popular subject right now is how to wash your hands properly. If you were to surf the internet today, you will find thousands of articles and videos introducing the concept of washing your hands the right way. Not to mention, commercial brands jumping into action with quirky songs and dance steps on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram just to increase the bandwidth for their brands. Moving forward, we are all either going to be always carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with us or running to wash our hands every hour or so. The upside of this – the world will be filled with people who are more hygiene minded.
Social Distancing. This is very new to most of us. In the past, most people practised social distancing when they were depressed with the world, not having a good day or sometimes, when they have had a bad breakup. Standing one meter away in a social or professional setting and having a conversation with someone is entirely new. Not shaking someone’s hand or hugging a friend will be another new norm that the world may experience. Countries are also enforcing policies, so people are following the one meter apart rule out on the streets, in the offices and even when buying groceries. In the past, if a person refuses to come near you, hug you or shake your hands – that person will be categorised as rude. But these days, that individual is just following the law.
Shifting The Way We Work.
Working from Home. Or telecommuting, has become the go-to solution. Right now, companies across the world are asking their employees to work from home rather than come into the office. Several governments have also started asking their manpower ministries to impose this measure as a law in the current environment. The concept of working from home is not a new idea but let’s be honest, for permanent employees – your request would have been frowned upon during the times before COVID-19.
But today, very few companies are immune to this change and again we are experiencing a reset to a new norm. Nevertheless, we should remain thankful because living in the digital age means the impact to businesses are lessened, as technologies like the cloud and mobile devices are allowing work to be completed from virtually anywhere. Employers are staying connected with their workforce through online web-conferences or video solutions like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Whereby. Email programs like Outlook, Yahoo and Gmail are racing each other to add new features to improve functionality. And, there is a mammoth offering of online programs to share large files, manage projects and time sheets. What happens, when the pandemic winds down a few months from now? Companies are expected to continue functioning remotely and enhance the tests for programs or applications that will smoothen the work from home process. Essentially, businesses are realising that their workers are no longer tied to their office desktops.
Of course, not everyone can do their jobs from home. Workers in manufacturing, on assembly lines, construction workers, food/product delivery people, healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of this crisis, the police and the army will all be still going to work so our lives will not come a complete standstill. So, no matter, how much the world resets, there still will be a group of people that will sacrifice more so others could live a peaceful life.
This global crisis has had us all rethinking the way we live, with many already advocating for a world without physical contact. It would be ideal, that we retain what we have learned from this pandemic when we come out the other side of this crisis. So, this next few months, decisions and new policies by governments across the world will have a significant long-term implication to our lives moving forward.