At this point, we need to examine the realities and the possibilities of what could or will happen when we are finally done fighting COVID-19.
Since the world was hit by the novel Coronavirus Disease now dubbed COVID-19 i.e Coronavirus Disease 2019, which reportedly started in Wuhan, China late December 2019, a lot has changed about us and the way we live our lives. From universities and governments taking classes online like the Ogundigiclass instituted by the Ogun State government in Nigeria some days ago, to businesses working from home to stay safe and set their businesses afloat the catastrophe this pandemic could bring on their economic status. Governments around the world have initiated total lockdown on states and countries with every government and health organizations like the World Health Organization advising everyone to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus. Doing most things we have had to do face to face or in a gathering online is now a luxury. Not everyone is prepared for this time although some are and some others now have to learn the current nature-imposed way of working. Flutterwave — a payment gateway company according to an article published on Techpoint Africa had to run a company-wide global remote day pilot to ensure their workers can still be effective while working from home should the Virus hit harder. Religious bodies who have for once criticized using online platforms to broadcast their services live to their viewers are now rushing to the internet to do the same thing they once preached against.
Should we blame all these changes in behavior or criticize them for embracing the realities of the season? No, we shouldn’t, according to B. Jordan
People won’t change until the pain of not changing is greater than the pain changing brings.
The Present Realities
The change and reality of taking our activities online or doing things remotely have always been starring on humanity for too long, with a low eye of consideration in Africa. The acceptance at this period is a welcome development, although the reason for it, is not welcome. An article published by Forbes in 2019 titled Making the case for remote work, advocated that working remotely is long overdue and companies including startups should start embracing the reality. Little did the writer know that we will be where we are today. In the same vein, the economies of countries have not been the same since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on the 11th of March, this year. Many stocks on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has reached their lowest low in a long time, with the Wallstreet going Red severally this month. Also, NYSE had had to close trading for 15 minutes twice this month due to S&P 500 hitting the underside. Needless to talk is the Oil price fall to the lowest since 1991, presently selling at $23.62 as the time this article was put together. All these are indicators that the times are changing, and to survive it, we must change.
The government of various nations has under the guise of saving lives infringed on people’s privacy like it’s being done in Taiwan and Israel, where surveillance is used for contact tracing of infected individuals. Countries and places that give people a connection to life are being put on lockdown without due process due to the emergency of the situation. If these actions, had been taken without any emergency such as we have today, people would have taken to the street to advocate the various infringement on human rights that we are seeing around the world today. Rights and freedom fought for by heroes and martyrs are now being given up at the platter of Gold without any questioning from the society. He who is fighting the water to avoid drowning should not forget he will need the water to live after winning the battle for survival.
One thing is certain, the efforts of proactive governments and health officials to win the war against this Virus is sure, and it is not going to be the end of the world, the only answer we don’t have is how much longer it’s going to take. The events in the past few days of this year is shaping our world, and we must be ready for what it could turn into when this process is over, because the unprepared always suffer the consequences of a won war, while the prepared enjoys the spoils. The 9/11 incidence, 1918 Spanish flu, Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing of 1945 has never left the world the same way, so, don’t expect this to be different.
Many had tagged everything happening presently in our world due to the COVID-19 pandemic a social experiment, especially the role various governments had played and their decisions either with intent or not. Some had tagged it so on Twitter;
The top of it been Candace Owens, an American conservative commentator and political activist tagging it a social experiment in a twitter video
Either it is an experiment or not, this is going to change our world, big time.
The way we work
I could remember sitting down for an interview chat with a tech company recruiter earlier this month as a recent graduate looking to have a sharp start to my career in the tech industry. I did not get the job basically because I opted to work remotely. As most start-ups in Nigeria, the company is located in Lagos State, a state with a population estimated over 20 million people with a high population to land ratio, this state is characterized with traffic congestion as most persons are finding their way to or from their workplace at every point in time. This is the sad reality most states in the country and west Africa bear. This pandemic has now enabled every organization to conduct a compulsory experiment of how working remotely works and if it is effective. If it is effective, which it is, many more organizations will now embrace working remotely and it will forthwith be a must-have skill for any job seeker to have in them and on their Curriculum vitae (CV). This is obvious from the rise in stocks of tech companies that have built tools for remote working like Zoom — a video conferencing platform and Slack an online workplace on the NYSE. Companies must start engaging this way of working as we do not know the next reason why staying at home will equal saving the world.
Some employees may be laid off
The reality is that some companies are big scapegoats in the present economy given to us by this pandemic. Companies which deal in clothing, betting, money-saving, and many others have been dealt with a big blow this period. Definitely, when all this is done these companies will need to bounce back, and part of the measures that might be needed for this could include laying off some low-level workers. This scenario might not be the case in big companies but definitely in start-ups that are still fighting to gain their foot in their various industries. Think about what people are not bordered about this period, like cinemas, and things that are not of too much necessity to the demand of the period, if your company is offering services or products in this area, your boss or board of directors might be considering this option at present. In this case, all you have is to prepare for it, by learning new skills, upgrading your CV, or reaching out to your boss on an idea that can save the company.
Governments might have more control on the people
Governments around the world have done many things this season with little or no inquisition from their citizens, as everyone is focused on getting over Coronavirus disease which is not a bad idea in itself. Nevertheless, our latitude at this time may have made a loophole for wild governments in the world to know what to say or do anytime they want to deprive us of our rights. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister has taken several decisions more like a dictator than what a prime minister in a democratic government is supposed to do. Netanyahu and his surrogates have shut down the court systems in Israel, and have severally used phone surveillance on the dwellers of the nation with COVID-19 as an excuse for his actions and inactions. Like Israel, most countries are being flogged from the front by the governments ignorantly. When all this is over, the government in some countries might have gained more power than the voice of the people and in others, the government might have learned enough techniques from this to be able to shut down the people at their will. Nigeria’s President — Muhammad Buhari has refused to talk to her citizens and most of his subordinates have attached it to the recent crisis the world is facing.
Massive internet take-over
More than ever before in the human history, people have spent the best part of their time on the internet, we now talk to friends, work, have fun through the internet due to the stay at home order or advice in various nations. The traffic has been much that companies like Google and Netflix had had to work on their platforms to cater to more people in the past few days. Businesses and religious outfits that have once disregarded the internet as a solution and the future of the world are presently running to it like a mother running towards her crying baby. The prophecy of the internet takeover is now because it is the only way we can connect when we socially distanced. The need to develop soft skills like flexibility, adaptability and ICT skills will now be on the increase as nobody who had engaged the internet for help to stay extant the past few weeks will run away from it after this pandemic except the slowpokes. If your business does not have an internet foothold, this may be the best time to have one, to stay prepared for the evolving world. People with internet skills and freelancers will be the kings and queens of the coming Coronavirus-shaped world.
Things have changed in our world in the past few days for us to be able to easily recognize what changed. It is sad to think about the fact that close to 500,000 people are now infected by COVID-19, and over 18,000 persons have died from this virus, but the reality is that, for every infection we see by the day, the world is shaping fast into a new order. The longer this lasts, the more our world is shaped into an unexpected reality of time. Know the facts; this disease is not going to end the world as the world will definitely not end this way. More people will die and more may be infected, you just have to ensure these people are not you or your family by following all World Health Organization instructions and advice on the pandemic. Even as we do all of these, we must not forget that the world is being shaped into a new order where the difference between 2019 and the year 2020 may seem too large to match. For this purpose, even as you stay at home as forced or advised by your government, ensure you remain insightful, and look into the world you might wake up to meet tomorrow. During crisis as this, billionaires are made, people die, economies wreck, people become poor, choose which you want by preparing yourself in all manner you know to be fit to live or at least cope in a Coronavirus-shaped world.