Aditi Panda explores how Covid-19 changed our lifestyles, attitude and health too.
The onset of Covid-19 created mayhem in the conventional habitual ironed life of almost each and every person worldwide. Covid showed the world that any person, irrespective of the education or profession, money he or she had, was staying in a slum or in a lavish apartment or was a man or woman from the high or low caste or was a doctor or a person with disabilities can be affected with this virus. The pandemic hit one and all and we saw things like never seen earlier such as countries locking boundaries. Flights, trains and metro trains stopped running; factories, offices, malls and businesses shut down, and many other things happened which we had never even thought of in our wildest dreams.
Life changed after lockdown
In a unanimous solidarity people across the globe stayed indoors in fear. Initially people geared up to use this unexpected lockdown to spend quality time with family and catch up on the numerous things that had been forgotten. Slowly a new routing of Work From Home (WFH) fell into place. Not only work, practically everything started being done from home – online shopping, schooling, online medical consultations and what have you.
But as the pandemic tightened its grip and the days became months, the isolation and social distancing became difficult to bear. Work and study from became dreary and over powering, especially for a working woman, as she had to balance both work and home, without the domestic help in this transformed set-up. To add to the woes space constraints, confinement to the four walls, no socialising and above all working around the clock stared taking its toll.
The positive side of WFH
On the other hand, as the world is slowly crawling back to the earlier style of working, many companies are still continuing WFH because this arrangement has actually proved to be cost effective and the overheads have been reduced by 50% to 70%. The huge costs incurred on electricity and internet as well as travel is being saved and it has also managed to reduce the travel time and anxiety, thus increasing the productivity and work deliverables of the employees. According to a report by The Economic Times, the IT industry transitioned to WFH model rather efficiently giving business continuity to clients and that too with no compromise on value or output. This was unexpected for industry leaders and customers alike because they rigorously adhered to quality progression.
Online schooling and its side-effects
After the initial excitement of learning digitally had worn away, the disadvantages of online education became more apparent. Those parents who were trying hard to keep the toddlers and young children away from smartphones barely two years ago, had no option but to make arrangements for online classes. From phones and laptops, to computers and tablets – parents acquired devices to help their kids access education.
Children from the lower middle class and those living in slum clusters were the worst hit. Thousands dropped out from school as they did not have the necessary smartphone. Many more had to miss classes as they were sharing one smartphone between siblings and parents. Sitting glued to the screens coupled with sedentary routines invited problems like obesity, weak eyesight and poor ergonomics.
Need for new education methods
The unexpected pandemic situation forced educationists and school administrators to brainstorm to bring together a workable solution by restructuring the school and examination pattern even though we still do depend on our traditional educational system in schools and colleges. A senior teacher with more than twenty five years of teaching experience says that the whole educational system needs a revamp. She feels that first and foremost the archaic black board needs to be replaced with digital boards. A digitally prepared answer sheet for each subject with a time limit for each line by default should replace the old exam pattern, thus leaving no time to copy or change the answer.
IT sector adapted itself smoothly
A study by Nasscom-Zinnov estimated that there are about 100K students graduating every year from small towns and becoming potential employees in the IT industry as per their current recruitment standards. Digital education not only will diversify their abilities but will also broaden their umbrella of giving work to good professionals from the semi urban or rural areas. In the longer run the retention percentage of employees will increase and it will reflect positively in the productivity.
Massive job losses
Numerous people working in high volume employment sectors like shopping malls, Bollywood and television industry, travel sector, factories lost their jobs. People lost their only source of income and had to do odd jobs for sustaining their families. With the biggies giving home deliveries, high discounts and delivery at the door stop the small retailers and entrepreneurs had a tough time to stay afloat. Taking cue from the big brands, currently we see the small shop owners giving EMIs and home deliveries to stay in business. Today we see a common fruit seller also using a QR Code to accept payments. A grocery shop in the neighbouring locality started collecting the monthly list of requirements door-to-door on the first of every month and delivering the goods within 2 hours. Initially the response was slow, but slowly his customers started increasing.
The local vendor goes digital
Innovation is the need of the hour to make a sustainable living. A vegetable vendor gifts a small pack of coriander, green chillies and a lemon to all his customers who buy vegetables worth Rs 200/-.Everybody loves to get something free. Its time each person thinks out of the box to survive in today’s world which has transformed completely and to match the competition which is increasing day by day. Another interesting example of adaptation is to conduct tuitions online on a one is to one basis. The student teacher equation is maintained, and the parents are happy to see their child getting undivided attention. Off late many online tuition teachers are earning more than teachers working in schools.
The society has undergone a drastic change in there thought process and this whole phase should be used as an eye-opener and a good lesson for rectifying our lifestyles. We can also look at it as God’s signal to mankind to stop running a rat race and decide on their right priorities. Today the world is crawling back to its original system but we have learned a lesson that will restore our faith in giving selflessly and a bring about change in our mindset.
So let us all make way for a more innovation and create an inclusive and conducive society which is more welcoming, warm, creative, safe and healthy.
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