In the first of a two-part piece, we look at some of the silver linings that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic.
For months, the internet has been awash with strategies on how to cope with lockdown—otherwise known as quarantine, isolation, sheltering in place, stay-at-home orders, and numerous other terms. However, there is far less out there on how to cope with life after lockdown.
Some countries—Stuck On You’s home, Australia, for example—have started lifting restrictions. This is great news, most importantly because it means that we have significantly slowed down the spread of COVID-19.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that things will return entirely to normal. Rather, we are about to enter a ‘new normal’—a world scarred by tragedy, but ultimately determined to be better for it.
But there are some good things to come out of this terrible situation and we can harness them for long-term positive changes.
We have seen some of the best of human nature
During times of unprecedented crisis, it’s difficult to expect human behaviour to be perfect. None of us will be forgetting Toilet-Paper-Gate in a hurry.
However, we’ve also been heartened by kind and generous acts by ordinary people, such as the 99-year-old war veteran, Captain Tom Moore, who raised over £30 million for the NHS; or Addyson and Lucy, the compassionate Queensland youngsters who used their own pocket money to buy toilet paper and hand-deliver it to pensioners in their local area.
And of course, there are the many many healthcare workers around the globe who put their lives at risk in order to keep us all healthy.
Then there are the stories that don’t make the news—the ones happening in our very own backyards. Perhaps you are the Captain Tom Moore or the Addyson and Lucy of your local community. Or someone is yours.
Working from home has become increasingly accepted
Of course, not every job can be done from home easily, and we have nothing but respect for those who have to be physically present at their workplaces during these anxious times—and sympathy for those who have been stood down or lost their jobs entirely.
But for jobs that can be done from home, this unique situation has taught us that, contrary to the previous opinions of some, ‘working from home’ (WFH) is not a euphemism for ‘bludging from home’ (BFH). In fact, WFH can be just as productive, if not more so than ‘working in the office’ (WIO). Okay, we’ll stop with the acronyms.
This realisation will hopefully pave the way for more flexible work conditions, where employees no longer need to feel sheepish for requesting to work from home in order to look after a mildly ill child or drive their elderly parent to various daytime medical appointments.
For plenty of us, not commuting also gives back precious hours in the day. If enough of us can successfully negotiate just one or two days a week working from home, this will significantly reduce road traffic, crowding, and the associated environmental burdens.
Telehealth will improve the medical system
Another major change is the rapid rise of telehealth. The need to stop the spread of the dangerous and unpredictable virus has necessitated safer methods of medical diagnosis and treatment, including via online and telephone platforms.
This reduces the strain on frontline services and also means that, until absolutely necessary, people who are unwell can stay home, rest and avoid spreading their germs.
The more that we as individuals can support the use of telehealth technologies, the more improvements that can be made swiftly in this space—which can only mean better things for the world of healthcare.
We have more empathy and appreciation for people from different walks of life
Stressful and unprecedented situations like this have really turned the usual order of things topsy-turvy. For example:
- People who have never been unemployed were suddenly forced to take a crash-course in claiming benefits.
- There has been a redefinition of the type of work considered ‘essential’, which includes many jobs that traditionally attract the lowest wages in the world of paid employment.
- Being forced to stay home and grapple with restrictions previously unknown to most of us has provided at least a tiny bit of insight into the daily struggles of people living with conditions that impose a restricted or isolated lifestyle, such as people with a disability or physical or mental health issues.
These are just a few examples, but you may have noticed many more. Hopefully, this newfound empathy will translate into positive long-term changes and a fairer and more compassionate society.
Closer to home, this is an excellent opportunity to teach your children to treat everyone with kindness and respect—and to not judge people until you’ve walked in their shoes.
Can you see any other positives to come out of this terrible situation? Let us know in the comment section below!
And stay tuned for part two, where we look at more positive lessons to take from these challenging times!