COVID-19 and Altered Behavioural Paradigms


KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

COVID-19  is a prodigious global event. But unfortunately, not a happy one. It has been full of transitions — big and small.  The world’s facing a humongous economic and psycho-social crisis because of it. On the side of the “trivial”, we’ve turned from a handshake to a foot shake and moved from a high-five to a low five.  It has profoundly changed the experience of being a customer, an employee, a citizen and a human.

The effects of the pandemic are definitely going to outlive it. It will continue to impact the way we consume, work, interact and live in general. In fact, Covid-19 has already had a great impact on basic human aspects such as health, social life, and work.

Health is certainly the major concern now. Individuals have become more health and fitness conscious. Germophobia has become all pervasive. People are afraid of everything from germs to the virus and even to people. To combat it, cleanliness and hygiene have taken central importance in everyday life. Telemedicine, virtual health care, robot appointments and healthier transportation options are the new norm. A less touch-feely health scenario is becoming desirable.

Physical distancing which has unfortunately translated into social distancing is also changing everything. Isolation is impacting each one of us in different ways. People have embraced opposites and shifted to extremes; from fast-food to natural foods and from real to online lives. Paranoia of big crowds and gatherings is bound to be the new normal for a while. In fact, we are back to basics now.

Our homes have become the centre of everything. Social distancing has altered social dynamics to large extent which may apparently imply social strain, volatility, individualism, emptiness and loneliness. However, on the brighter side, family and relationship appreciation is being witnessed, intergenerational relationships have strengthened, and local communities are being valued.

Additionally, everyone is reinventing ways to survive. E-commerce is booming and there is a deeper appreciation for convenience. Consumers want things that are close to them and easier to buy. Companies and businesses that are thriving right now are those that are upgrading their services to meet the new challenges.

Professional dynamics have also changed and become more casual, informal and accommodating. Even as millions of people are unemployed and have incurred huge business losses; more and more people are showing meaningful empathy and support towards each other especially those who are out of jobs or are running small businesses.

Therefore, the pandemic has bought sweeping changes in affective, cognitive and conative realms of humans. Surprisingly, technology has played an enabling role during the pandemic. It appears that in our journey from pre to a post Covid world, technology might be a bridge. Interestingly, it is technology that will allow us to be more humane.

Iqra Shafi

A JRF in Management from Kashmir University

Email: [email protected]

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