29 Jun 2020  |   04:47am IST

Managing in a 'Covidised' world

Managing in a 'Covidised' world

The impact of lockdown due to the corona pandemic has been devastating for all sectors of the economy as also on social life with disruption of business enterprises and huge job losses resulting in the migration of workers to their home states. There is uncertainty, anxiety and fear all around. So far there has not been any solution for the treatment of COVID-19 and it will take time to recover the disrupted economy.

The following are some suggestions which come to my mind for managing life in a covidised world for different sections of society.

+Rather than living in fear and anxiety and locking oneself in the home, accept it as a normal part of your day to day life and move ahead confidently to face your routine of work by taking all the necessary precautions of hygiene, mask, hand gloves, and physical distancing. Instead of attending to endless negative discussions on TV news channels and social media, build your immunity by enhancing your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual strength through health exercises, Yogasanas, Dhyan, Pranayam, Meditation, Breathing Techniques, good positive reading and thoughts, compassion and caring. I have been doing this regularly for the past many years and I don’t remember when I had cold or fever or any illness last time.

+To cover the COVID-19 risk of sickness, have a mediclaim health insurance policy to meet prohibitive hospital expenses and for risk of death, a term life insurance policy which is available at very low cost to protect your family in case of your demise. Ensure that all investments and bank accounts are either in joint names or with nominations. Execute a Will to leave your Estate to your spouse and children as per your wish.

n If you are an investor in stocks or mutual funds, do not sell under panic. The stock market is bound to bounce back once the economy revives. In fact, you should invest more when the market is down under a systematic investment plan.

+If you are an employee of Central or State Government, Government aided educational institutions, Government Corporation or Banks with a secured pensionable or safe job; or successful doctor, chartered accountant, lawyer or any professional; high net worth individual with regular income flow; you should freely and liberally spend money on all good things of life – food, clothing, household goods, entertainment, travel, vehicles. This will inject more money in the economy and increase demand for goods and services with higher purchasing power, generating production and employment with the upper cyclical effect leading to the revival of the economy. High spending will be your great service to the Nation. 

+However, those with the uncertainty of jobs, or shaky businesses should conserve cash by minimizing their needs and spending on bare essentials. At the same time, one should look to having an additional source of income using one’s skills, competence, and enterprise.

+In the present time of crisis, employees if they don’t wish to be retrenched should not be critical and faultfinders of their employers. They should willingly accept restructured pay package, should not dodge work and find ways and means to improve competence to contribute to the business of the employer and work in team spirit which will make them indispensable.

+Those who are out of job should learn practical skills and competence useful to the businesses and record in their CVs. Then try to search a new opening by using every possible contact and other networks without hesitation on full time basis. During free time, engage in any activity of your choice, practice yogasanas, health exercises, and pursue hobbies to keep the mind away from negative thoughts.

+Ladies and housewives who are good in knitting, embroidery, art-work, cooking, teaching, grooming, music or any other skill should market their services through online social media or self-help groups to support the family income. 

+Help your friends, relatives, neighbors if they are in distress without their asking. But this should not be at cost of your survival. 

+The good lifestyle of the middle and upper class is subsidized through low wages of maids, drivers, and other servants. In western countries, even the rich cannot afford chauffeurs and maids. Give them dignity and self respect by serving them on the table, food which you eat. Be generous in giving them weekly paid holidays, bonuses on festival occasions, and helping their children for education.

+Be generous in giving tips to service providers whenever services are availed to put a little extra in the hands of those who have meager salaries.

+Do not bargain when you buy from the street or local vendors. Their earnings are marginal.

+Small and medium business enterprises should find ways and means to cut down their costs, look after recoveries, increase productivity and efficiency through the use of technology and innovations. Negotiate and restructure salaries and wages of staff till business revives. Do not retrench workers as far as possible since his family is dependent on him. Business enterprises should study the support schemes announced by the government to take the benefit. Enterprises that have liquidity should pay their suppliers promptly and if possible, give them advance. This will help them to survive and build a strong long term relationship.

+Support your neighborhood stores who met your needs in lockdown period, instead of buying online through Amazon or Flipkart. 

+Builders and real estate developers with borrowed funds having unsold inventory should dispose of the stocks with lesser margins or even at a loss to have liquidity and to prevent action by financial institutions.

+ Teachers should upgrade their skills with serious self-study for on-line digital teaching throw free/paid online courses. Otherwise, they will be irrelevant and will lose self-respect. They should learn to be innovative in the presentation to maintain the attention of the students.

+Singers, musicians, dancers and other artists should use lockdown period to have deep and serious practice of their art with total immersion. Once normalcy is restored, rejuvenated artists will be able to have extraordinary performances.

+Wherever possible, order online through Swiggy - Zomato to give support to restaurant services since they cannot open for regular customers.

+ Senior Citizens should empower themselves to manage their affairs from the comfort of home with digital knowledge and skills by using their smart phones. Learn internet banking for fund transfers and to make payment of utility bills ; use of applications for online ordering of food, medicines, goods, taxi booking; operate email accounts; chat with friends, participate in webinars, conferences, meetings through internet applications like Zoom, GoogleMeet. Know about connectivity solutions like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Hotspot. Watch movies, TV programs, listen to music, and lectures on the subject of their choice through YouTube and other applications. Make a beginning and with practice you will automatically have digital mastery. The best way to start is getting guidance from your school-going grandchildren. This has been my personal experience.

+Religious institutions with cooking facilities should provide meals to the needy in their neighbourhood to the extent possible. This is service to living Gods for devine blessings.

Remember these are very challenging times for everyone, which is not going to last for long. This should be faced proactively with a solution-oriented attitude and looking for opportunities.