Recovery and Sustainability in the New Normal
Note: This article is not meant as a reference for local and national policies. Always refer to the news and your LGU for policy announcements and changes.
Quarantine may soon loosen up, but as long as there is no cure for COVID-19 nor a verifiable course of prevention, caution will always be part of the “New Normal”. We can expect the government to adopt various responses already being employed in several other countries, such as having transport and businesses run at 50% people capacity, continued physical distancing and wearing of respiratory masks, and a controlled approach in traveling and outdoor activities.
While some businesses and individuals have embraced a work-from-home regimen to prevent economic decline, not all sectors have the good fortune of adopting this mode of work. And even with the stricter protocols being lifted, some industries like tourism and international travel may continue to take a hit.
Those of us who are doing better during this pandemic should take advantage of the opportunities in front of us. Society can only progress by creatively formulating sustainable avenues for growth. There is no turning back for any of us; the New Normal is already here, and positive changes can only be accomplished through cooperation and adaptation.
Embrace the digital – with caution
Information and Communications Technology has become the scaffold by which the entire New Normal is raised. And while most of the digital platforms are already in place, some of us are still getting used to this. Face-to-face commerce has often been our trusted method, and even the ease and convenience of the digital marketplace can be unnerving to a few. Meanwhile, video conferencing has been adopted globally, both for work and socialization. Those who are lucky enough to be able to accommodate the remote work setup may be employing a suite of applications to transform their personal computers into a workhorse.
As such, our home networks and devices are presently the most lucrative targets for theft and mischief. With more hastily put-together offices distributed outside the secure corporate firewall, and so much more activity on the web, digital threats have been rapidly increasing. We would be remiss not to cover all sides for our protection as well as our companies’ digital assets.
It is important to secure everything. If we have been negligent of our passwords in the past, now is the time to step up on our personal security game. Making sure that we have updated and personalized passwords for each of our high-risk accounts will keep many of the hackers at bay.
"Hackers will appeal to victims at their most vulnerable emotional points, such as trust and delight."
Of course, unsecured accounts aren’t the only vulnerabilities on the web. More often it is a deception that gets us into trouble. Phishing emails are very common, so if something feels suspicious to you, it probably is. It can be an email from your boss using an uncharacteristically different email address or speaking to you in a way that he or she normally does not. If that is the case, always have your IT or the purported sender verify if the email is truly from that person.
Also, if you see promotions and messages that are too good to be true, they most likely are. Sometimes landing pages will be painstakingly designed to appear like common sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Hackers will appeal to victims at their most vulnerable emotional points, such as trust and delight.
If you want to take this remote work as an opportunity to experiment on your productivity strategies, make sure to have your IT vet out any new software you intend to use. Some free programs may be malware in disguise, or simply incompatible with your devices and may hurt your productivity in the long run.
Continuously focus and invest in your physical and mental health
What we have a lot of right now is time. It may be as little as the time you saved from not commuting to work, if not more. If you have your basic needs covered and you have time to spare, take advantage of it. This is the perfect opportunity for you to enrich and develop yourself, most especially in the aspect of health.
We are amid a global pandemic, and while a specific cure may not yet exist, our bodies will still benefit from being resilient. Practice good hygiene, regular exercise, and the right nutrition. By having a tougher, healthier body, you are contributing to flattening the curve.
Your body is not the only one that needs to be healthy. Your mental state also needs to be resilient. This situation has proven to be stressful to many, thus we all need to process it with a strong mind. Our outlook in life and the way we respond to important matters will be dictated by our psychological strength.
If you have some more time to spare, let that be a sign for you to take up new knowledge and skills, or sharpen existing ones. Keeping yourself productive helps you in accomplishing your health goals by staying physically and mentally active. It also keeps you from the vacuous monotony of doing nothing and having no plans. By setting yourself up to becoming better, you also receive a positive feeling of accomplishment and direction.
"COVID-19 may have changed our lives forever, but it doesn’t mean we cannot continue living it."
Make a conscious effort to protect yourself and others
Being strong and healthy is important, but when you are out there you still need to be very careful and continuously aware of your surroundings. While policies may be set in place, it is often better to be conscious of your situation and protect yourself more when there are developments in your environment. Avoid crowds and situations and places that lend themselves to crowding. If at all possible, move to safer options that will allow you to minimize face-to-face interactions in public places, such as banking and shopping.
Never skimp on the basics. There are a few things that we always need to do whenever we have any interactions on the outside. Always wear your facemask, always maintain your physical distance, and always keep your hands clean and away from your face. These are so important that they may be a consistent requirement for as long as this pandemic hasn’t fully disappeared.
COVID-19 may have changed our lives forever, but it doesn’t mean we cannot continue living it. While we keep each other safe, let us not forget to pursue our goals and the vision we have for ourselves. The landscape always changes, sometimes drastically, and it is up to us to adapt and make the most of it.