Pandemics possess the potential of not only impacting but also reshaping our lives. So, what will be the aftermath of the Novel Coronavirus collectively in our lives? While we hope to get out of this alive, one thing for sure is that for every challenge there’s an opportunity. It’s simply a matter of perspective. How you view the proverbial half glass of water. Like you, I too am curious to see how everything will pan out in the post pandemic world. Ranging from economics and business to politics. Here are 15 predictions that I have made…
1. Masks | There are a lot of COVID-19 babies (Babies born in COVID times) and they will not be able to comprehend a mask-less world. For us, the struggle is real. There’s no way we can escape the mask but we also don’t feel comfortable in one. You could dress it up to make it more fashionable, match it to your dress, however, it doesn’t make the wearing of one any easier. The COVID generation though, will be used to wearing a mask from day 1. They couldn’t spend a day without it.
2. Mental health issues | From germophobia to obsessive compulsive disorder, (think multiple hand washing till you render the skin raw), issues with mental health will hit a new high. Issues in the offering will include anxiety (social and other varieties), paranoia, loneliness, (induced by endless lockdowns) and isolation, thanks to the 14 day recovery device for COVID-19.
3. Car to human ratios | I belong to a three-car household. The car to human ratio in my household is 1:1. This ratio will change post the pandemic, because where are we really going? We have already explored the wonders of life at home. Why spend on an expensive and luxurious asset such as a car, plus related expenses like insurance, maintenance, and not to forget, parking spaces. Parking lots, valet car drivers, all will perhaps not be needed post the pandemic. As technology increases, the number of driverless cars could very possibly increase.
4. Money | Demonetization gave us a dry run with virtual money. Post pandemic though, cash and coins may become a thing of the past, mostly because people’s transaction habits would get reinforced online as paper money and metal coins are carriers of the virus.
5. Medical research funding, as part of the political manifesto | In a post pandemic world, there’s a strong possibility that political parties which prioritize medical research and innovation will be voted into power. Parties that can allocate a significant budget and good resources into such initiatives as well as invest in healthcare related industries will be the one tasked with running countries.
6. Office? What’s that | With remote working benefiting employees and employers alike, brick and mortar offices might cease to exist. Pre pandemic, I had an established routine consisting of getting ready for work, commuting to my office space, working from there and then making the commute back. During the pandemic era, I wake up 30 minutes before login time, work in my pajamas all day, the longest commute I make all day is from my bed to my home office. In the future, knowledge workers will collaborate physically only if absolutely required.
And for that a co-working space might do.
7. Stores and restaurants| Online retailers like Amazon were active during the worst points of the pandemic. Their diversification into kitchen pantry essentials and even food delivery really aided a good amount of people. It converted the purchasing habits of even the staunchest customers. Lots of physical retailers shut down as they simply went bankrupt. A physical store brings with it overheads, such as electricity and maintenance, an online store though, not too many. In the future, we might be seeing fewer physical stores if at all any.
8. Social Distancing | As if being in a committed relationship with your phone wasn’t enough to take you away from face to face human interactions, social distancing sealed the deal. Children and teenagers may believe that this is normal, however, closing the 6 feet gap between individuals will take a lot of unlearning and relearning.
9. Family bonding | The pandemic has had varying impacts on families. It has resulted in bringing them closer, expanding them, and even breaking them up. Due to the pandemic a lot of professionals returned to their homes and families. With nowhere to go and really no escape from each other it made them understand each other better, deepened the bond and brought them closer. In some cases, resulting in expanded families and a rise in COVID babies. The other side of the coin though has also been a rise in divorce rates, domestic violence and depression all due to there simply not being any outlet, no mental stimulation and the feeling of being caged up the whole day at home.
10. The advent of old hobbies | Remember all those hobbies you had but never had the time to pursue? Or hidden talents that you didn’t know you had. The pandemic has given the opportunity for all them to make a comeback. I personally tried my hand at a host of them ranging from cooking to writing to painting to even making a quilt! Some of them are stuck and are part of my set routine. The others have not really worked their way into my routine yet. But with the second wave ravaging the country there’s still time. Interestingly, this writing opportunity also came to me during the pandemic.
Outside of it, I’m not sure if I would have even considered it. With an improvement in work life balance, people have more time to pursue their hobbies and interests, some of them are even turning them into entrepreneurial ventures.
11. Attire | Formal wear or “going out clothes” were very quickly switched out for more comfortable loungewear. Think shorts, pajamas, t-shirts or even a kaftan. With remote work quickly becoming the new norm, more and more people don’t bother with dressing for work unless there’s a video call. Piles of clothes might just gather dust and end as moth fodder. Maybe lounge and sleepwear will be the next fashion trend. Bye bye pant suits, hello pajamas!
12. Self-development | With more time being spent at home and with remote working becoming the new norm the focus of individuals and organizations has been on self-development. Redundancy caused due to the pandemic caused a lot of people to pursue higher education. Even organizations placed a high emphasis on learning. The result? Higher intellect in the society and an unmasking of individual potential, ultimately leading to self-sufficiency.
13. Crime | Pre-COVID we were seeing more and more crimes transitioning from physical space into cyberspace. As we move further with the pandemic, we will see more and more online frauds. Romance scammers will make a killing thanks to all the lonely, isolated COVID hearts out there. Making promises to meet post pandemic and extracting cash from their victims in the interim. The online scam world would run like a professional organization.
14. Do unto others, what you want them to do unto you | As the world heals itself, we are seeing a lot of empathy and altruism around us. This manifests as acts of charity and kindness. We see a line of COVID warriors who work tirelessly, almost around the clock to help strangers in dire straits. Who hasn’t heard stories of people selling their personal assets to help the needy. We seem to be ready to lend a hand because we realize that tomorrow it could be us.
15. Medical practice | Thanks to the pandemic we learnt that at-home sample collection for diagnostic tests as well as online video consultations are a possibility. Gone are the days where you waited your turn endlessly and rather impatiently in a doctor’s office. These facilities existed even before the pandemic but there are simply more takers for them now.
When I sit back and take stock, I think that this time round mankind has finally learnt an important lesson as far as pandemics go. The fact that they threaten national security and that the more you know about them the better.
The United States of America has always been looked upon as a shining beacon of economic hope and promise, it failed to predict and prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of their citizens. In comparison, nations such as South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore answered the call miles ahead of other countries. Before the next pandemic strikes, (if at all), the USA will be well prepared and will probably monopolize pandemic related healthcare.
I guess that makes it sixteen post pandemic predictions?!
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