Created: 18 November 2020
It’s been close to nine months since Malaysians have been in some sort of lockdown. As COVID-19 has forced us into time-out within the confines of our homes, most of us have had to make major readjustments to our daily activities, and experienced dramatic changes that will forever change our lives.
With the country being hit by a third wave of the pandemic, and globally new highs in number of daily cases are being recorded, it is imperative we set the record straight that the ‘new normal’ is here to stay for a very long time.
Therefore, pivoting our survival skills towards the ‘new normal’ will enable us to not just survive through it, but thrive.
Here are some ‘new normal’ most of us, pandemic millennials, i.e. working generation who happen to also be also known as Generation Y − born from 1980s onwards − have started (or seriously need to start) getting used to, plus meaningful questions to ask ourselves:
1. Working from home... day what?
If your boss used to strongly disapprove of work from home (WFH), well, sorry − it’s time to take the chill pill! The pandemic has resulted in what is effectively the largest “work from home” experiment ever conducted in human history. People are finding unconventional ways to connect with co-workers, virtual meetings in pyjama pants are on the rise (or taking over some of our lives!), and employers are getting more flexible about adopting cloud-based technologies and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to keep things up and running. So, while some workers may be complaining that it’s taking a toll on their tummies, you can be sure some of us are loving the fact that we don’t have to spend a quarter of our lives stuck in peak hour traffic jams and crowded public trains. Are you finding the new WFH trend more productive or less so?
2. We’re in this together; family, pets, housemates, zero mates!
Whether you’re staying home alone, or the home is packed with family members and pets for a more sustained period than you could have ever imagined − there’s no time like now to foster closer ties with family! People are being awakened to all sorts of realisations, hopefully for the better too... For instance, you may find your pet cat’s 24/7 presence, even in the bathroom, oddly comforting. You may be giving thanks that there are more family members in the house to share the daily meal prep load and chores. Whatever the case, it’s time to be a true emotional support to your loved ones and go back to the basics of appreciating your nuclear family. What realisation have you made about your ‘stay home’ situation of late?
3. MCO (Master Chef Oomph) everywhere!
If you live in an apartment, you’ll notice that more households are cooking, with smells of sambal, salted fish, curries, ikan bilis (anchovies) and what not permeating the air. Many working millennials who hardly found the time to cook prior to the lockdown and used to tapau (takeaway) like nobody’s business, are now devoting more time to their kitchen survival skills! Recipe searches are on the rise. Cooking at home is becoming a sure way to save money, fit in healthier immunity-building menu options, and spend creative time with the family. Again, it’s all about going back to the basics and caring for the family via wholesome home-cooked food! Are you cooking at home more often or prefer to order in mostly? How many new recipes have you learnt besides Maggi Mee restructured in 99 different ways?
4. Rise of Group Networking and Video Teleconferencing Apps
Beyond an economic recession, the world is also going through the COVID-19 pangs of a “social recession”. ‘Loneliness’ is a major side effect, and to solve it, many millennials have had to get creative. Applications like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Fortnite (a battle royale shooter game) have reported record usage, serving as virtual group hangouts and isolation-breakers for millennials during lockdown period. Zoom Video Communications Inc’s daily active user base grew by 67% since early January, data from Apptopia showed. As communities worldwide are being socially distanced by the virus − families, friends and colleagues are staying connected through virtual face-to-face networking apps. Are you doing the same and keeping your social life up to speed?
5. Hygiene Saves More Lives Than Hospitals Ever Can
Have you ever stopped to think that beyond surviving an economic and social recession, we might also experience a ‘virus recession’ at some point thanks to COVID-19? That’s assuming everyone learns a big lesson to wash their hands more frequently, that is! Stop to think that it’s not just COVID-19 we’re attacking when we frequently scrub and sanitize those grubby palms and fingers, but all other dangerous infectious viruses too, like influenza, cholera, flu, etc. Not too long ago in 1950, a simple Hungarian obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis saved countless lives with three unexpected words that shocked the medical community: “Wash your hands” . Are you more conscious of your hygiene habits today?
6. No more touchy-feely moments or close personal contact
There’s never been a time like this, where personal contact has become a serious health threat and everyone’s earnestly performing the notion of ‘being apart but together’.
With the effects of COVID-19 showing no signs of letting down; most of us will remain wary about physical contact for some time yet − staying away from shopping centres, bars and nightclubs. No more handshakes, back slaps or hugs for a while; stay a safe at least 1 metre away; attend Zoom concerts or virtual parties instead. Our brains have been rewired to accept more socially distant practices. How are you getting creative with social distancing of late?
7. Savings and Insurance are no joking matters anymore
As unemployment rates go up and the labels ‘redundancy’ or ‘lay off’ haunt the minds of young working professionals and business owners everywhere, many wary individuals have started tightening their belts. Other affected jobless individuals are either living off their meagre savings or barely scraping by. Experts advise to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses to weather emergencies; but this particular state of emergency doesn’t look like it’s going away in three or even six months till a vaccine is found!
During times of crises, such as this pandemic, there is a surge in awareness of money management − being prudent with spending, subscribing to insurance plans and looking into investing. It is clear that those who have always been practicing wise financial habits will be able to weather this awful and uncertain storm until clearer skies comes. And for those who intend to start now, it’s never too late.