Let Us Transform COVID-19 Fatigue to Opportunities

COVID-19 Be happy

Covid-19 pandemic has caused much pain and agony to people across the planet. Companies have mostly been shut and only recently and partially opened. Schools and colleges continue to remain closed and the healthcare system has been overwhelmed. Employees are facing a threat of losing their jobs, contractual employees are no longer employed, companies are facing bankruptcies and the economy is in bad shape. This is causing fear and uncertainty in people.

But in spite of all this sadness, there are some opportunities as well. With opportunities it doesn’t only mean real business opportunities for companies like Zoom. And those other companies enabling virtual meetings and webinars or companies like Amazon hiring 1,00,000 employees for delivery services. By opportunities here we also mean the opportunities which are available for most of the general public affected by the crisis. Let us discuss and reflect upon few of these opportunities.

Extra time

Time is one of those things which all the people in world get in equal amount i.e. 24 hours a day. We all would have had the feeling at some point, if only I had some extra time for this work, I would have nailed it. Well now that we have limited opportunities or have skeptical feelings until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, for any kind of social or entertaining gatherings, we all have got ample amounts of extra time.

We are acknowledging that we can still live without all those movies, gym, malls trips and life goes on. However, this doesn’t apply to few crucial sectors like health-care, but beyond those it is applicable to a large majority of us. We can spend this extra time with our family and loved ones, doing something that we always wanted to do. Tasks we had kept in the pipeline due to the shortage of time can now be accomplished. We can also simply relax and do nothing and take a break.

Recently we might have seen numerous posts on social media websites saying if you are not utilizing this extra time during Covid-19 for something meaningful then you are wasting your time. I agree it’s good to be productive but people giving such advice often have a programmed fixed mind-set of only “succeeding” in life.

But when they are faced with a slightest bit of failure or societal pressure, they might not know how to handle the same and crumble down. But they could not fathom that taking a step back, doing nothing, relaxing and reflecting in our free time could also mean something which is articulated in the next opportunity.

Introspection and Reconsideration

The fact that COVID-19 is disrupting our daily activities has provided an opportunity for introspection and reconsideration of our routines and habits and make changes. We are reflecting on things that we earlier took for granted like going outside for recreational activities and meeting people. Our daily routines have been interrupted as people have changed their modes of working and are working from homes instead.

We can introspect whether we really want to continue doing things like going to restaurants, commuting daily to work, hanging out with friends every weekend after the crisis is over. It has forced us to make changes to our daily life which we actually might continue even after the crisis.

More Innovations

Many organisations suffer from procedures that are slow, have hierarchical systems of functioning and working that involves complex formal approvals. But the current pandemic has forced them to look beyond their rigid systems and move towards acting instantly. As a result, procedures could be skipped or accelerated and decision making would become faster without the hassles of complex formal approvals.

Majority of the employees are now allowed to work from home without any direct supervision. On one hand the incumbent organisation might feel productivity would decrease as a result of such a step, but on the other hand the accountability of each and every employee for their own work would increase. Inefficient employees cannot hide behind the work of the efficient employees now.

This is leading to further innovations as organisations and employees have to find creative ways for delivering their work. This opportunity to create innovations now can be maintained post Covid-19 as well.

Cleaner Environment

Covid-19 has resulted in partial or complete shutdown of industrial activities, drastic reductions in travel be it buses, cars, trains and airplanes. While this is bad for us especially for people working in affected industries but ironically Covid-19 has had a positive impact on Nature, at least in the short term. It has caused a significant reduction in greenhouse gases and other forms of pollution.

During the lockdown across the world, we have seen the before and after pictures of the cleaner cities when compared to pre-Covid-19 period. Therefore, it has provided us an opportunity to reconsider our lives and reorganize it in a way that has less impact on our planet.

However, all the above opportunities require a quite fundamental change in how we approach the world, and as a result converting these opportunities to reality might take substantial amounts of time. Therefore, we must overlook the negative sides of Covid-19, and spend that time in making changes to our deeply rooted habits and mind-sets.

Pritam Kumar Padhi

Pritam K. Padhi holds a master's degree in Management and Economics of Innovation from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.

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