Every coin has two faces. With bad comes the good, and Covid-19 or Coronavirus isn’t an exception. Here are 10 positive impacts of Covid-19 pandemic in Urban India:
- Lifestyle changes to practice hygiene: The demand for Hand Sanitizers in India was limited before the pandemic period. It was treated more like a luxury product and few big departmental stores used to stock Hand Sanitizers. It was available in online stores like Amazon and Flipkart but had limited sales. The public awareness about personal hygiene has increased drastically ever since Coronavirus was declared a pandemic. Social distancing, wearing masks and practicing frequent hand wash are the ‘new normal’ of our daily life.
- Human connections got deeper: We are now more concerned about the well beings of our near and dear ones and taking more possible initiative to stay together even while being quarantined and maintaining social distancing.
Covid-19 pandemic linked us as a “HAPPY SOCIETY TOGETHER” and now we respect each other. Coronavirus In India has pushed societies to change their attitudes towards cleaning staff, milkman, delivery person, police, doctors, nurses, paramedics staff, soldiers and all the Corona warriors for their dedication and selfless services during these difficult times.
One of my many unforgettable memories are of Kolkata Police – Apart from ensuring a successful lockdown, they tried to alleviate the distress of the common people by introducing different innovations like playing songs in the deserted streets during lockdown while local people cheered them from their respective balconies and rooftops. And it became viral in the social media in no time.
Under the public welfare initiative ‘Pranam’, the city police did a multi-tasking job in the hour of crisis by looking after the welfare of elderly, feeding the homeless, taking care of strays, organizing blood donation camps to meet the shortfall in blood supply.
That’s not all – Kolkata Police team donated 1300 units of blood to help patients like those suffering from Thalassemia. Such public awareness campaigns were seen across the country.
- Our Environment became cleaner than never before: We witnessed a drastic improvement in India’s air quality ever since the country went on coronavirus lockdown. Residents in Punjab were able to witness the Himalayas from their terrace for the first time in 30 years or may be more than that. And Twitter was filled with such positive tweets:
What nature really is and how we screwed it up.— Diksha Walia (@Deewalia) April 3, 2020
This is Dhauladhar mountain range of Himachal, visible after 30 yrs, from Jalandhar (Punjab) after pollution drops to its lowest level. This is approx. 200 km away straight. #Lockdown21 #MotherNature #Global healing. pic.twitter.com/cvZqbWd6MR
This was the view from our rooftop at home in Punjab India. For the first time in almost 30 years could clearly see the Himalayas due to India’s lockdown clearing air pollution. Just amazing! 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/WmWZYQ68lC— Manjit K Kang (@KangManjit) April 3, 2020
As per India’s Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi saw up to a 44% reduction in PM10 air pollution levels on the first day of its restrictions. It was also quite similar in other metropolitan cities like Mumbai & Kolkata.
- Wildlife started rejuvenating: Coronavirus Lockdown restricted human movement outdoors and thus nature got the chance to regain its full glory. We witnessed the return of migratory birds to lakes and waterbodies which were once abandoned due to heavy pollution. Other wildlife animals also got the chance to live freely without any human intervention. Quality of river water improved a lot during this period.
- Remote working turned mainstream: Gone are those days when people used to think that freelancers are only ones who work remotely. Coronavirus Pandemic forced small, medium as well as large businesses to work remotely, with 100% of their workforce functioning virtually – and with very little to zero usage of physical office space. Companies adopted the culture where they trust the integrity of their employees & that they will loyally work even when there’s no one to look over their shoulders on regular intervals.
Investment made for large office space turned negative and businesses started looking for newer talent irrespective of their physical location.
Facebook was among the first tech firms to ask its employees to begin working remotely. It also gave employees $1,000 (£807) bonuses for their work-from-home and childcare costs. On May 21, 2020 – Facebook further announced that it will allow most employees to work from home permanently. Facebook also plans to start taking job applications for remote positions later this year.
Most companies worldwide supported remote working & offered similar facilities to their employees. The reimbursement part of salary also changed for many companies. Wi-Fi, BYOD (Bring your own device), home office furniture allowances etc. became the new normal.
The average 2-4 daily commuting hours which we’re able to save these days can be used in a more efficient way i.e., learning new skills, spending more quality time with family members etc..
- Work + Vacation = Workation in India is growing: (This is my favorite 🙂) It was way back in 2010 during my visit to USA, I got the chance to interact and work with the team VRBO in Columbus, OH. VRBO (now a part of Expedia company) At VRBO, I learnt the concept of vacation rentals where people lease out their properties for long term rentals. Be it houses, condos/ apartments, cabins, cottages etc. there is something for everyone based upon their requirements. These vacation homes provided amenities like extra bedrooms, full kitchen with appliances, making it much easier to enjoy a stress-free trip with the family. To top it up, there were waterfront views, a private pool, hot tub or outdoor entertainment space. Unfortunately, there were no such concept back in India during those days.
image source: https://www.facebook.com/workfrommountains/
With the advent of coronavirus pandemic, many professionals in India became creative and took their work to scenic mountains and beaches. ☕️ That’s Work + Vacation = Workation in the lap of nature.
As nationwide lockdown restriction eased, more number of professionals started looking for long term stays away from the hustle-and-bustle of cities. Work from Mountains (WFM) is one such initiative helping people book long term stays in hill stations of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. More number of beautiful properties are coming up with faster internet connection, cosy workstation space and competitive rates starting from Rs. 35,000 /month per room for 2 people. Workation is expected to help the travel and hospitality industry which has been terribly affected and thousands of properties are lying unoccupied since many months.
- Education became digitized & affordable: Covid-19 pandemic had posed a threat to the entire education system worldwide. Schools, Universities, and Colleges were forced to shut down immediately. I was quite challenging but let’s take a look at the brighter side of the story. Luckily, Educational Institutions have found a way to overcome this immensely challenging series of events. Classes have begun again, thanks to the digital technology.
Online classes have become the new normal for educational institutions and it came with a few benefits too. Institutions can now save on the infrastructural costs and as a result, the students needn’t bear the brunt of the costs, making it more affordable.
On October 12, 2020, State Government of Kerala declared total digitalization of school education thus becoming the first state in India to adopt hi-tech classrooms in all government and aided schools.
Yes! There were hiccups during the initial state for teachers to host & manage online classes while parents got the first-hand knowledge about how online classes work and can directly understand how their child perceives concepts. Parents & students also learnt the etiquettes to be followed while attending online classes.
As the online education system grows, we can expect an increase in the reach and accessibility of education within every section of the society.
- Demand for intelligent tools & softwares have increased: With the lockdown in progress, many businesses like Amazon India reduced their 24×7 manual customer support to a handful number of hours. Instead, they introduced automated support system to handle most of their customer support requests like handling order cancellation, issue refunds etc. Thus increased the need for automated tools and softwares which are intelligent enough to perform much complex tasks with high accuracy and in lesser time.
Demand for AI (Artificial Intelligence) firms ranging from predictive analytics to business intelligence to data warehouse tools to deep learning has increased significantly in 2020.
- Major boost for local businesses: Gone are those days when local manufacturers making products like handcrafted goods used to target the mom and pop stores (Kirana stores) to get their products sold. With lockdown everywhere, these local businesses started targeting digital platforms like Amazon & Flipkart to get their products sold and interestingly, the entire country is their potential customer.
- Real Estate properties became more affordable in Tier 1 cities: With more number of businesses working remotely, the demand of ‘hot commercial spaces’ in posh areas of major cities have reduced. Businesses have realized that they do no longer need a fancy, large physical offices to run their businesses smoothly.
The ones who do still require some physical spaces are going to stick with smaller spaces and it wouldn’t matter where they reside. When the demand for physical buildings drops, naturally – the prices will also drop.
While I draft this post – 119,030 people have lost their lives in India, 230,280 people lost their lives in USA due to Coronavirus and the total death toll worldwide is 1,157,703. And the count unfortunately still continues. Countries worldwide are still fighting this pandemic, and we sure are going to overcome this.
Did you observe any other positive effects of Coronavirus around you? Feel free to share in the comments below or use the form at https://www.rahulbasu.in/contact