Do you remember life before January 2020?
Before those strange images of white-suited people in Haz-chem gear, With their masks and white rubber boots, wandered the streets of Wuhan spraying anything that moved with clouds of bleach or hypochlorite.
Before we’d heard the word “pandemic” – before we knew what a coronavirus was?
The chaos and uncertainty we’ve all endured since have become so normal that it’s just fatalistically accepted now.
Having jabs, taking tests, wearing masks, automatically distancing ourselves from people when we meet – it’s all become scarily routine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of millions of people around the globe.
Besides having grave health consequences, the pandemic has also crushed our goals, upended our family dynamics and job roles and undermined our economic stability. As a result, the unprecedented global crisis caused by the pandemic has had a major impact on our mental health.
COVIDiSTRESS, is a worldwide study that started during the initial wave of COVID-19. To date, over 173,000 people from 48 countries have reported on their experiences during the pandemic.
The results of the initial survey showed that higher levels of stress are associated with being a woman, of a younger age, being single and having lower levels of education, caring for more children, working out how to have a baby boy or how to have a baby girl in pandemic conditions, and living in a country or area where the COVID-19 situation was more severe.
These findings highlight the importance of public health interventions focused on helping the most vulnerable groups, who are particularly susceptible to higher levels of stress.
The study also analysed how different psychological and behavioural responses affected compliance with government measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The results revealed considerable differences between countries during the first wave. Participants from Western European countries were more concerned about COVID-19, more stressed and had less confidence in government efforts compared to participants living in other parts of the world.
The more confident people were in their government’s efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the less stress they experienced.
The global pandemic is, unquestionably, the most troublesome issue that most companies have ever had to deal with. Even while the long-term impact on the economy has yet to be determined, unforeseen pressures have caused many enterprises to shut down.
Although the global economy is being ravaged by calamity and devastation, a burst of creativity, invention, and flexibility has emerged from many enterprises in a wide range of industries. Various food outlets, digital art, and virtual and simplified workplaces appeared.
Businesses have bounced back though and hit the “quick forward” button on digital solutions.
The 2020 global epidemic, which had no precedent, surprised businesses when the physical workplace was shut down. Many businesses were left with little choice but to come up with a new plan to get back in the game as soon as possible.
Organizations had to digitize quickly – everything from internal communications to consumer relations, to supply management. If they made no decisions to create a new method of working based on growth in technology usage, it’s likely that firms wouldn’t survive the shock impact of the pandemic. Things that used to take months to discuss or resolve now take just a few hours, thanks to the new ways of doing business.
Businesses have also had a rare chance to experiment with new methods of operation in a relatively safe environment.
There is a global awareness and empathy for the difficulties that businesses are experiencing.
Businesses could expand their product lines, enter new markets, and try out new ideas because of the lack of opposition they faced.
As firms gained trust and confidence, they were able to make big and brave changes as a result of this time of rapid innovation.
Positive results motivated companies to make change and diversification part of their business strategies.
Companies rapidly realised that working from home, in some form or another, is here to stay, at least for the time being.
Employees had to adjust quickly to new systems, software, and ways of working during the initial impact of the epidemic.
The most major shift, though, was in the way people communicated with one another.
Some people have been able to adapt quickly to a virtual communication environment, while others have had a hard time accepting the idea.
Many employers felt they had a responsibility to help their employees adjust to these shifts and provide them with opportunities for professional growth. The more enlightened companies saw that all employees had to constantly improve digital communications skills in order for a firm to prosper and survive today’s post-pandemic digital age.
A growing number of companies are reevaluating their employee training programs to ensure that they meet the changing needs of their businesses and the well-being of their employees.
Before the pandemic, a ‘work from home’ option for employees was frequently considered undesirable and would be offered with tight conditions. The fear that employees would be too relaxed, indolent, and distracted by stuff at home instead of completing their professional commitments, didn’t consider virtual meetings and the time savings from commuting.
For businesses, taking a close look at their finances, reevaluating their spending, and making modifications to their cash flow were all necessary responses to the extraordinary nature of the pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty about its long-term implications.
There is no doubt that consumer spending and purchasing habits will change dramatically in the near future. It Is still impossible to predict the long-term outcome.
The pandemic forced companies to take stock of their finances and rein in their expenditures. However, the investment in new digital systems, communication platforms, and residential setups for employees has not come cheap.
Many firms saved a lot of money because they didn’t have to pay for daily office bills or travel charges, and this helped to offset the capital expenditure.
Working from home or at a location other than a regular workplace has sometimes been beneficial and can no longer be an obstacle to interacting electronically with coworkers.
There has been a noticeable improvement in employees’ work-life balance and general well-being. People who are more present at home are more likely to form or strengthen ties with their neighbours and other people in their immediate area. A person’s overall mental health depends on their ability to feel a part of a group.
The home snooker table has become the new water cooler.