While the country steps out of the lockdown a little at a time, society cannot afford to forget that business-as-usual can continue only with all the regulated safety arrangements around sanitation and social distancing in place. We already know that life won’t suddenly return to normal once the lockdown ends. Our behaviors and instincts have changed somehow, and this will be the ‘new normal’ with which we will have to live hereafter. There will be a drastic shift in our daily life — in the way people socialize, shop, study, work, travel, etc. We would need to continue being careful and take care of our health, because as the health officials say – the virus is here to stay with us for some time.
Sanitizing, Wearing Masks and Social Distancing Will be Routine
Even after restrictions ease, it will not be business-as-usual. People will need to look after themselves and adopt the best hygiene practices, for their own benefit, and the benefit of those around them. Hand-washing, sanitized surroundings, wearing masks and social distancing will become a part of our daily lives – until the world finds a vaccine or remedies to beat the COVID-19 infection.
Moving Towards a Digital Life
This crisis has shoved India towards a digital life. Online banking, online travel booking, online movies, online workouts, online doctor consultation, cashless payments, virtual communication – will all be the new normal to support our day-to-day life and business routines. However, the good news is that people can expect better service from businesses who wish to sustain in the new world – which means faster service and customer-satisfaction.
New Office Culture
For most businesses, social distancing would mean a major shift to working from home – something most managers would like to impose post-Covid-19 lockdown
. Moreover, this idea makes sense to businesses as of now. Because if employees can work from home and maintain the same kind of productivity and their health, why would they need to come to office amidst this situation?
On the other hand, there is a possibility that some businesses may shift to having smaller, flexible office spaces, or leased co-working spaces, to be able to function smoothly in a decentralized way.
Moreover, online conference meetings and webinars will be the new work trend. It will help startups and founders survive and thrive together through this unprecedented time.
A New Setup for Learning and Literacy
Since the second week of March schools and colleges across the country have been closed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. As per studies, the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is working on guidelines for the reopening of schools and colleges after the lockdown.
Some of the suggested measures include having no assembly sessions, events, meetings, and gatherings in school/college for a long time. Staggered classes, new seating matrix, revamped hostels and canteens, different mess and library rules, etc, could be a part of students' socially distant lives in schools and colleges when they return.
Apart from this, schools/ colleges and other educational centers are likely to call only 30% of students at a time – this is to maintain social distancing. Officials claim that the attendance system can be pulled off by – either calling some students on one day and allow the remaining to attend the class from home (online) or by organizing dual shifts – whatever looks possible and feasible at the moment.
While there is no clarity from the government on when and how all the educational centers will function, different states are diligently working on different guidelines to make sure the kids get the best environment to continue with their studies. Expect this generation to grow up in a new paradigm of intimacy with their social circles.
New Travel Rules
Government sources have confirmed that social distancing protocols will begin even before passengers enter the airport. All passengers will need to undergo thermal screening. Security professionals won’t allow passengers with a fever to enter the airport. Moreover, queues will be strictly managed with a gap of at least 1-meter being maintained between two queued passengers. This practice will be maintained during the check-in and security check procedure as well.
As per experts, carrying a health certificate while traveling may also become mandatory to avoid further spread of the disease.
Trains and buses may not resume all at once – as per officials. It will be done in a phased manner – once all the guidelines of social distancing like maintaining queues, arranging safe entry-exit points, etc, are appropriately set.
Car drivers, cyclists, and bikers are likely to have a certain kind of freedom. Whereas, leisure trips by train and buses may be limited or restricted to avoid overcrowding.
New Outing Experiences
Dining experiences will change post coronavirus lockdown. As per studies, most restaurants are looking to slash in-house dining capacities to 30 % to 40% to ensure social distancing protocols are followed. All standard hygiene measures — from making masks mandatory to keeping sanitizer bottles at entry/exit points — will be followed while opening the outlets.
According to studies, restaurants are also planning to ramp up their tech infrastructure to handle more orders online. Since people will be more interested in takeaway and online ordering after the lockdown is lifted.
Shopping too would be a renewed experience with a strict no-no on trying out clothes or handling items one intends to buy. Online retail may become a new habit at least for a while.
While COVID-19 has handicapped ‘the old normal’ life to a large extent, it is our collective responsibility to give it a dynamic response and overcome this crisis quickly.