Life returning to the way it used to be this year is somehow impossible. Even now that the quarantine guidelines are slowly loosened, COVID-19 will continue to impact our lives in more ways than one. What are the areas that will have difficulty going back to normal but will perhaps get there, and what areas might be different forever?
Technology Dependency. From utilizing Skype and Zoom to interact with co-workers to the WhatsApp and Facebook groups with the neighbors, digital technology has become one of the most important means for us to keep in touch, work, get healthy, be entertained, and explore new things. Moving forward, parents will need to make rules on the time that they can use these platforms to avoid computer or gadget addiction. As with video conferencing, it will probably be incorporated with the face-to-face meetings, as it has now evolved this way even before the pandemic.
Shopping For Clothes And Non-Essentials. Retail in the brick and mortar shops have been struggling for quite some time now, with the online shopping platforms in place going stronger since the start of the quarantine protocols. With the lockdown easing up, its effects will continue to have a tremendous impact on the way people make decisions when they buy clothes and non-essentials. With businesses relating to health, financing, and goods, the principle of the survival of the fittest will now persist. However, with the weaker businesses, like retail, sadly, the forecast is that these will make a rapid drop in the coming months.
Rush Hours Won’t Be Too Rush. The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest shocker to ever impact business for the past century. When this finally subsides, companies will be thinking if they’re still going to get a spacious office for their staff or if they should decide to just designate work-at-home setups for others, especially for those who need to commute to work and risk contracting a disease. This setup would perhaps cause rush hour to become history. Businesses will discreetly start keeping money to prepare them for another pandemic. The banks, on the other hand, have not caught up with their previous losses from the financial crash. They won’t be able to, with companies not willing to invest yet. Restaurants, supply chains, and other stores will probably have shorter working hours too. Forget about a rush hour for the next couple of months – or years.
Online Learning. School days typically have their routine and rhythm in terms of lessons, lunch breaks, and holidays. Now, over 90% of the world’s children are out of school, as reported by UNESCO. This interruption will persist for years. Teaching and learning have shifted online, with lessons being created and passed through digital platforms. This, however, has created concerns, particularly in areas where underprivileged children do not have computers or devices of their own. Governments in other countries have been able to provide these to their children, while some are not that self-sufficient. Whether or not everyone in the world will be provided with online learning materials will not matter because digital learning will be here for the long term.
Neighborhood Interactions. When we have just surpassed a challenge, we see communities holding hands, hugging each other, and saying our congratulations for overcoming a major disaster in our lives. Do we see ourselves interacting physically with our neighbors when this pandemic subsides? The quarantines and lockdowns have blocked our sense of being neighborly, and this will probably be the case even long after the protocols are lifted. Social ties will be less physical as well, with only distant and less personal public conversations. Gatherings will be shorter if there’ll be any.
The world will begin with its repair to adapt to the new times. Let us hope that we, just like the virus, will transform into something better and stronger.