With talk around the possibility of vaccines becoming available soon, I feel it is time to reflect on some of the things that the pandemic brought upon us that could and should stay the same in a post-pandemic world.
One of the biggest changes that the pandemic brought about was making work from home or remote work, acceptable. It showed just how flexible companies can be when they want to, and how the world doesn’t fall apart if people have to work from home (read: companies cribbing over maternity leaves or discriminating in hiring based on which gender might need to opt for more leaves in the future). I hope, post-pandemic, remote work for those who need it is made available without being stuck over some made-up company policies.
The staying at home part highlighted the need for a healthier lifestyle. Not eating out every single day, is possible and is so much healthier, was something many people experienced. It also opened the doors to the need to exercise. Being at home all the time, made people realize how bound to their work chairs they were and how they need to move and exercise. For city-dwellers, it highlighted that they needed to have more open spaces where they can move around and still be socially distanced if necessary. I hope, these healthy habits of eating healthy, living healthy, stick with us long after the pandemic is a mere lesson in history. I hope, city-dwellers speak up for what matters the most, the need for more open, public spaces.
With reduced travel, reduced pressure on transportation, it took some pressure off the planet with lower carbon emissions. Rare bird sightings, animals roaming around in the open, the world started becoming friendlier to our neighbors on this planet. I really hope, the changes due to reduced vehicle use, reduced pollution, although slight, will finally get everyone on-board the climate change bandwagon and have everyone working towards a better future.
The pandemic also showed us just what an unclean life we all have been living. The mere fact that we had to, and still have to be told so many times to wash our hands, shows how staggeringly irresponsible we usually are. It also showed us how unclean public transportation, airports, flights, public places, grocery carts, etc. used to be and that it is possible to keep them clean and sanitized more frequently. I truly hope we all continue to live a cleaner, more hygienic life post-COVID.
The pandemic also highlighted that while living virtually was possible for those in cities, it was nearly impossible for those in rural areas. The gaps that the rural areas have in terms of internet access and lack of connectivity were only made stronger during the pandemic. Post-pandemic, I hope the governments make this a priority and improve the conditions for the rural regions without waiting for another disaster to hit.
But the one important lesson that the pandemic has taught us is that we humans are extremely adaptable. “I have always done things this way”, “that’s where I always order from”, “that’s not the company policy”, “that’s just the way I travel”, these and many such statements we have made in the past are nothing more than mere excuses to justify our comfortable bubbles.
We don’t need to be at offices to work efficiently, we need to be cleaner, we don’t need a hundred different pairs of shoes to go with our every outfit, we don’t need that photo in front of the Pisa like everyone else on our social feeds, we don’t need to destroy the planet to satisfy our travel lust and we definitely need to work harder to bridge the unequal social gaps in our society.
What are some of the things and habits you hope would remain the same post-pandemic?