Every global disaster has two things in common. It leaves a few lessons for us to ponder and introspect, and it changes the way we live or perceive life. The coronavirus outbreak is one such catastrophe that has not only shaken our present but also has changed our future. Once the dust of the global pandemic will settle, we will have a society with different rules and behaviour, where physical touch will become rare and social distancing will be the new normal.
The bigger question, however, is whether we will be ready for this society reshaped by the global pandemic. The good thing is we don’t have to wait for this change. Already, so many norms have become a thing of the past. For instance, the way we used to travel, greet each other, or roam freely in shopping malls. In the time of COVID-19, you can’t be reckless anymore, about your hygiene, social behaviour, and your responsibility towards others.
The times have changed. The new rules of caution and awareness are set. Now the ball is in our court to make the best of the new normal, and hope for a better future. In this feature, Soulveda discusses integral aspects of our lives that have changed in the wake of the global pandemic.
The good old days of meeting and dining with friends has changed in many parts of the world.
The way we socialise
Izakaya, for decades, had been an integral part of Japan’s working culture. A casual after-work hangout joint, it was always jam-packed by tired and famished office workers in closed, comfortable settings. But with social distancing being predicted to outlast the virus, this tradition has been completely disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. Likewise, the good old days of meeting and dining with friends has changed in many parts of the world.
Instead of driving to your favourite joint, now you have apps to order food and groceries. And even if you do find a restaurant, you won’t be able to walk in without a temperature check-up and hand sanitisation. Inside, a mask wearing waiter will take your order, while you sit anxiously at one of the few tables placed at a safe distance from each other.
The life after the global pandemic will also see a shift in the way we greet each other. Hugging and shaking hands will become relics of the past, while the world will look for safer alternatives—the Hindu greeting Namaste, Japanese bows, Thailand Wai, or a simple elbow bumps can become the new normal.
Work from home is the future
Remember commuting to work, sitting in cramped rooms for long meetings, eating lunch with the colleagues, working from your desk, and waiting for the weekend? All this could be a thing of the past with work-from-home seen as the future of daily work life. And why not? It has a long list of benefits, not just for employers and employees, but for the environment as well.
Several organisations have rolled out policies to make working from home indefinite. Others have taken a gradual approach, asking a portion of their employees to work-from-home, and the rest to come to the office on the rotational basis. Depending on their industry and requirements, organisations will take time to permanently adopt working from home. But it might happen sooner than you think. Is it a bad news? No. Researchers have found how working from home can enhance productivity and sharpen your focus. It also leads to less distraction and better time management, which means more efficiency and better mental health.