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Life after COVID-19

Facing The New World

COVID-19 crisis has taught us many things, such as adjusting to new life, rediscovering new priorities, and adopting a new lifestyle; it’s like entering into a new world. – Sandhya Jane

The agonizing phase of COVID-19 is over

So, we are ushering in a new world after crossing the agonizing phase of COVID-19 that set off disease, death, misery, economic loss, displacement, and devastation.

After two deadly waves of COVID that took a heavy toll, the vaccination drives have somewhat ebbed the tide and the era of recovery started. 

The global emergency let loose by a virus continues to evade full comprehension and the world has anxiety, not sure whether any more lethal mutants will emerge. 

Life after COVID-19 is never the same as before. However, a consensus prevails that despite unprecedented losses, humanity can muster a new strength to re-build and move on.

That evokes questions as to what all make the new world different. The post-COVID world seems to be looking for more value in things, more judicious about choosing what matters in life, and keen to avoid junk. 

Changes in Lifestyle

The impact of COVID has been all pervasive and affected values, habits, styles, and choices.  

There is a paradigm shift in what matters in life. People are no longer crazy about all fancy objects; they want things that add value and want to choose them responsibly. 

Changes we assimilated

It looks obvious that the world after COVID-19 may not go back to the jolly good days of the old world. However, amid dark clouds about COVID-19, it also taught many valuable lessons and armed people with new tools to face the pandemic’s fierce challenges. 

Digital transformation

The positive fallout of the COVID wave was that it reduced the digital divide and hastened digital adaptation. It underlined the importance of operating under a digital economy with digital behaviors, including remote working, remote learning, telemedicine, e-shopping, and delivery services. 

The accelerated pace of digital transformation, with expansion in e-commerce, videoconferencing, online teaching, and fintech, will only grow to the next level in the days to come.

Living with the Virus 

There is an acceptance that virus testing will stay as a part of our life, just like tightened security measures and vigil that follow terror attacks. Other impacted segments are supply chains and a rapid explosion in cross-border data flows.

At the work front, new challenges have surfaced and income divide, worker vulnerability, more gig work, and workers adapting to occupational transitions are looking common. 

Highest considerations for health and safety are also visible. COVID-19 triggered a fresh look at several beliefs with effects on long-term choices for the economy and society. 

Home office

On the home front, demand for smart homes is up as intelligent programs do a great service. They can manage temperature, indicate the quality of the air, and do automatic cleaning, too. Filtering the air from the outside is an additional job.

The quarantine days showed the scope and opportunity to work from home. The importance of having a workplace at home with decent settings has been realized. 

The spatial organization of the home-based workplace is in a facelift departing from the skeletal office desk and chair. The habit of stacking the home workplace into a shoddy corner of the living room or below the stairs is also changing. 

The new trend is devoting an exclusive room with large windows, comfortable furniture, and sound-insulation, too.

The resilience of remote work

Many countries have adopted the Kurzarbeit (short work) culture of Germany. It started during the pandemic and is a hot adaptive model. It is unique in that workers are employed for fewer hours, with the government compensating the shortfall in wages. 

Remote work is spreading fast. That work from home is as productive as working at the office has been accepted and proved. Even companies loathe to remote work have tried it with good results.

Reforms in supply chains are also showing up for consumer benefit. Companies with international supply chains learned new lessons when shortages and bottlenecks hit them. To address issues, reshoring production has become a new priority. But massive job creation is unlikely as automated production will be the option.

Focus on health and immunity 

A survey in India revealed how people had been tapping social media for gathering COVID-19 mitigation tips for boosting immunity and good health. 

From the commonly searched immunity-boosting agents, 71.9 per cent respondents reported increased consumption of vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits as immunity boosters. A large proportion of respondents also reported taking nutraceutical supplements such as vitamin C supplements and zinc supplements to boost immunity.

The fascination for “immunity-boosting foods” as a preventive way during the pandemic and in the aftermath will stay.

The survey by the National Institute of Nutrition in India reported a rise in consumption of  traditional spices as well such as ginger and garlic.

Health care practices are seeing changes with relation to food safety, eating patterns, and sources of health information.

More leisure activities can happen

On the post-COVID world, an interesting comment by Christopher McKnight Nichols, a university historian, was notable. He said a “dramatic rise in leisure activities and collective gatherings post-pandemic, such as music concerts and sports events, are expected.”

This had happened when the world recovered from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and after World War I. Subsequently, the rise in professional baseball and college football was noticed in the US while Europe thrived on professional soccer. He also sees social behaviors, such as handshaking and hugging, facing curbs because of healthcare concerns,

Transformed workplaces

In workplaces, not only the role of employees, but those of employers arfe also changing as they evolve as a social safety net.

The pandemic added an expanded role in employees’ financial, physical, and mental well-being. The result will see more sick leave, financial assistance, benign working hours, and child care provisions at work.  Some organizations will be the community by shifting operations to manufacturing goods or new services to support community services. 

The economic crisis from the pandemic has made many employers empathetic in viewing the employee experience.

Personal factors have precedence over what matters for organizations and employees. Measures to promote physical health and improving emotional well-being of employees are having an upper hand. 

Relook on traditional critical skills 

Before COVID-19, critical roles were deemed as roles an organization needed to meet its strategic goals. Now, employers’ definition of critical roles has expanded to accommodate roles that are critical to the success of workflows.

In the post-pandemic world, there is less focus on a permanent role and employers want employees to develop skills that unlock multiple opportunities for career development, than limiting to a specific role. 

Impact on higher education

Mario Luis Small from Harvard University notes that COVID-19 blew a myth that higher instruction is possible only on campuses. It can happen online, and has been proved now.

So, it is natural parents and students seek answers on how much the so called on-campus experience is needed. Also, companies, organizations, governments, and individuals will cut travel bills although many yearn for social interactions.

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