How Covid made us more resilient
Co-Covid world bristles with opportunity, provides ample scope for innovation
One of the things the world was struggling with was a binary of the professional world at the office and the personal world at home. Consequently, all of us had a dual personality - I was one person at the office, another person at home. This pandemic collapsed this binary and forced the two to merge
It can be safely claimed that 2020 has been a year of massive upheaval. Covid-19 gripped the world, derailing all plans and placing us all in unimaginable situations. While the world has been struggling with the blows dealt by the pandemic and businesses have suffered considerably, there is a silver lining to the cloud. A positive way to look at the scenario is to acknowledge how this year has pushed us all to venture beyond our comfort zones.
I believe that before the pandemic, the world had become comfortable and stagnant in its way of being. This year has shaken it out of that familiar comfort, and has enabled several rewarding transformations. There is no going back to the pre-Covid world, a co-Covid world is here to stay and in 2020, all of us lived in it and saw remarkable things unfold.
We must not look at the year merely in terms of dispossession and loss. The crises this year has brought to our lives have shaken us off our complacencies. None of us could afford carelessness and self-satisfaction when the pandemic turned our world upside down.
Innovation transcended being a buzzword in the co-Covid world, exemplified by almost a global shift online and new mode of engagement. If my business was running successfully, the lockdowns were an alarm bell for me to figure out alternative ways of delivering services and shift from the physical to the digital mode.
If I was running a restaurant, I had to start home deliveries. If I was working with a teaching mechanism, I had to shift to e-learning models. At a business level, everybody had to change.
Similarly, at an individual level, people had to transform. I had never bothered about having a fancy WiFi connection at home. This year, I was left with no choice. If I had not bothered about my health, I now had to bother about it.
Covid-19 changed the mindsets of people across the social spectrum, and it has led to some excellent developments and has enabled people to come up with new ideas and products. The year 2020, thus, has been one of the most transformative years in human history and a lot of these transformations have changed our world for the better.
I started my company, Upsurge Global, this year of the pandemic. If someone had asked me last year, I had no plans to start my own business. I would assume I would continue doing what I had been doing previously, which would include mentoring and working with the government, but had no plans to start a consulting firm of my own.
Transformation all around
At the level of my health, I could overcome significant challenges, lose weight and embrace a healthy lifestyle. I have been able to spend time at home with my family. My productivity, in all senses, has gone up tremendously. When you are faced with no choice but to confront things which trouble you, or can be done better, you inevitably take care of them.
One of the things the world was struggling with was a binary of the professional world at the office and the personal world at home. Consequently, all of us had a dual personality - I was one person at the office, another person at home.
This pandemic collapsed this binary and forced the two to merge. I now had to be the same person, because my home was now, my office.
This was a radical transformation which allowed me to juggle multiple roles at once. Due to such developments, people have been able to significantly negotiate the positions they occupy in social and professional worlds and deliver substantially at multiple levels.
Productivity of people, in general, has shot up massively. The time taken in commuting to your place of work has gone. That time, which is considerably, a few hours in a large metropolitan city, can now be utilised for productive ventures and well-being.
People also have benefitted from an availability of choice in this arrangement, as earlier if I had nothing productive to do in my office for an hour, I would be wasting time. Now, the same one hour can be used for relaxation and recreation, and connecting with my family and friends.
Companies have reported higher productivity rates in general, as while earlier, employees would work from 9AM to 5PM in a day, they can work and are working 24x7 now. This year, then, has been the year of dramatic transformations on scales unimaginable earlier. It has boosted what we can do in a day and has allowed us to take new perspectives on almost every aspect of our lives.
Any assessment of, or reflection on the year must not overlook these extraordinary changes. If the pandemic put us through unprecedented trouble, it also made us resilient in ways we wouldn't have thought of previously.
In the face of tremendous danger, human productivity has flourished and individuals and companies have accomplished several goals. We are no longer complacent about our lives, take nothing for granted and innovate every day.
I believe that more than the year of the pandemic, 2020 is a salute to an inexhaustible human spirit. I have learnt a lot from 2020 and see this as a year where we have taken colossal strides in the right directions.
Following this trajectory, what we are likely to see in 2021 and beyond, is beyond everyone's imagination. This could be the upsurge moment for all individuals as the co-Covid world bristles with opportunity and provides ample scope for unprecedented innovation.
(The author is Founder, Upsurge Global, and Senior Advisor,
Telangana State Innovation Cell)