REPOSITIONING TO COPE WITH THE NEW NORMAL IN THE YEAR 2020
Thursday May 14th, 2020
Governments, corporations and well-meaning individuals across the world are continuously injecting funds into their economies running into excess of US$9 trillion by providing stimulus funding and palliatives to support people as well as businesses in different categories over the last 3 months. It is clear that what people actually need now and post Covid-19 era is massive creation of jobs and hiring of millions of people to fill in various positions.
Governments should consider hiring more health workers, support staff in health care, building more facilities, and making access to medical care more affordable. This would require capital injection. In addition, massive investments in sectors that are critical to economic growth would result into millions of jobs being created to boost consumption and aid the recovery of many economies.
As testing and contact tracing are going on across countries, more people can be hired to handle these tasks with accuracy and increase the number of testing. In addition to the provision of adequate personal protective equipment, critical testing and contact tracing should begin with frontline staff especially healthcare workers, staff and occupants of long-term care and nursing homes as well as operators of essential services that are currently opened for business.
In order to curb the rising rate of unemployment, government and corporations can embark on creating jobs through alternative model where people can work in scattered rotational schemes and remotely via online facilities. This should allow consumers to be effectively empowered to spend more money that is needed to keep the economies going.
Scattered rotational schemes can involve big corporations adopting shifts within a 24-hour period on a rotational basis to allow people work in a conducive environment while still maintaining effective social distancing and adopting other responsible measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19. This means people would have the options to work and also shop at any point in time during the day. Evening or night becomes the new day and vice versa.
For the new normal, manufacturers need more people buying and consuming large quantities of their products on a sustainable level. More businesses already cleared to operate but which are still closed can adopt drive through or curb side pickup or delivery approach to serve their customers.
Presently, many countries are talking about opening up businesses or allowing people to go back to work, while some businesses are already opened. The issue is until we are able to totally isolate and combat the spread of the virus, we may have to wait a little longer for businesses to actually open and get back into the normal way of doing things. But the reality is that without completely opening their doors many businesses can begin to do deliveries or curb side pickup, where customers can conveniently shop online.
Factories and work environment should maintain a high level of hygiene programs and protocols, which would include how workers access and exit their facilities as well as the use of equipment. Workers should be given personal protective equipment that would constantly and intermittently be disinfected. The floor, materials and equipment used for operation should be constantly disinfected and cleaned. In order to ensure the safety of the workers, gloves, masks, glass shields should be given to and worn by workers. Transparent barriers can be installed around workstations to minimize physical contacts while ensuring strict adherence to social distancing and other hygiene measures.
To create a healthy demand instead of downsizing workers, new incentives and programs can be created by businesses to woo more customers. Rather than continue to charge the same price for goods and services prior to the Covid-19 era, companies would need to introduce price cut or adjustments, stretch payment period and other incentives that would attract and retain customers.
Workers should be very responsible and accountable. There should be new rules governing the use of general open spaces within an organization. In order to communicate, workers would be encouraged to use mobile telecommunication devices, emails and medium that does not require close contacts. Corporations can also use temperature measuring device to measure the temperature of their staff. Body scanners can equally be installed at the main entrances to check body temperatures. More testing and contact tracing as well as screening should be embarked upon. Corporations can temporarily include facilities for testing with certified health workers carrying out the functions within their premises.
People need to be economically empowered and it is imperative for them to conveniently be able to fend for their families. It is clear many people would like to go back to work, even if it means working flexible or fewer hours than what they were used to. Certainly, people do not want to rely on unemployment benefits if they have steady jobs since the unemployment insurance benefits is temporary and they would rather do dignifying jobs that guarantees their sustenance. If people need to get retrained, institutions of learning should start creating short term programs that could effectively train or retrain people in various field within the shortest period of time.
As more people are getting restless because of the lockdown, and as nations are gradually opening or contemplating on gradual opening of their economies, more resources and investment needs to be made into developing a vaccine and the right treatment for the virus very rapidly. In addition to maintaining safe social distancing, it is important to adhere to the guidelines of personal hygiene by washing of hands and using hand sanitizers, which have been proven to be effective in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. There is a great need to avoid community spread as much as possible. Where you are required to wear masks, face shield and hand gloves as extra protection, by all means do what you are advised to do and together let us save more lives.
In order to surmount the challenging times, funds are being raised on many platforms to support families, the less privileged and homeless people in the society. We should continue to put in our best efforts to increase the donations and deliveries to the doorsteps of those people who are critically in need.
In the US alone, over 30 million children depend on their schools for their daily meals and support. Since schools are still closed, measures should be put in place to reach out to these kids all over the world to support them and their families in order to preserve their lives as well as ultimately combating the growing poverty in the land. Government, corporations and NGOs can put in place arrangements whereby they can still feed those kids at home.
Although countries, states, provinces and municipalities are opening their economies, allowing businesses to operate under specific guidelines, people need to tread cautiously and not be imprudently exuberant. Until the virus is completely eliminated or extensively contained through the discovery of a vaccine, no one is in the clear especially with asymptomatic people or with the resurgence of community spread. Any area or place or platform that could engender the spread of the virus and considered to be high risk should still remain closed for a while.
Thank you over and over again to the heroes of our time, all the frontline, health care and essential services workers for putting the people and community first even at the expense of your lives.