COVID-19 has forced a reboot of the entire world by bringing all the countries, industries, individuals, and groups to a grinding halt. Humanity and the Earth as a whole were long overdue for a reboot to fix the various errors. Everyone (individuals, organizations, countries) was missing an opportunity to sit back and reflect on their activities’ outcomes. They are all running their races to keep up with changing demands which have long been diversified, and failing to unite efforts even when needed.
If there is one significant positive outcome from World War II, the last major global reboot, it is the globalization framework developed to avoid future conflicts. Being interdependent on one another, leveraging what one can do best compared to others has helped ensure peace without significant disputes. The creation of the European Union and various other global organizations such as UNO and related groups helped provide a space for dialogue and growth opportunities. The more significant theme emerged from humanity’s last reboot: peace, harmony, economic well-being, healthy lifestyles, and mutual support in crisis times.
Humanity always looks hopeful it has reemerged from major global events strong and proceeded ahead with more positivity, strength, and rigor. With the same positive spirit, humanity has to take advantage of this common crisis to initiate a dialogue about humanity’s future. Many things are taken for granted or haven’t changed or stayed stagnant for many years, but COVIDgave a wake-up jolt to all such beliefs and age-old ideologies.
Many organizations are reluctant to let the employees have flexible working arrangements like working partly from home, working in split hours, and analyzing business travel. Individuals spend extravagantly on celebrations over 5X their annual earnings, failing to plan for future financial low points, ignoring the health and personal hygiene. Governments worldwide neglected the healthcare sector for many years, lacking planning to handle any pandemics or any contingency plans to offer essential medical services during a major crisis event. Rents have risen, unsustainably, over the years in many metropolitan cities in the name of urbanization, making the average middle class unbearable.
It is time to think and reflect on day-to-day lives as an individual, an organization, a government, and the planet as a whole at a global level. This is an opportunity to change our actions towards a more sustainable, resilient, happy lifestyle at every level. We are slowly emerging out of crisis and getting back to normalcy. This is an opportunity to re-define what normalcy is and what it means to build resiliency into our way of life. This COVID pandemic may be one of a kind large-scale occurrence. Still, there may be other global events that will affect everyone, like Climate change, food scarcity, fresh drinking water across many growing metropolitan cities.
I would like to close this with few questions for individuals, organizations, or even governments to reflect on the decisions that will be made in the next 6–12 months in the process of getting back to normalcy
- Why are the modern urban dwellers not showing interest in growing trees? Can sustainable choices be made to limit individual or family’s carbon footprint? What is stopping an average household from sticking to the reduce-reuse-recycle mantra?
- Why is it mandatory for everyone to be in office? Is partial remote work not possible for organizations? Is it impossible to re-design HR policies for evaluating the performance of remote workers? Is business travel required at the pre-pandemic level? Why cannot the advancement in collaboration technologies like webcams, whiteboarding, touchscreens, and chat platforms be leveraged for remote working?
- Where is the balance between sustainability and growth? Why are the governments chasing wrong KPIs to showcase the growth & prosperity of cities like new office space addition or occupancy? Where are the KPIs like groundwater level improvement, number of kilometers of pedestrian-friendly urban roads, atmospheric particulate pollution, plastic reclaimed for recycling, number of trees per kilometer of road, and more indicators which show sustainable growth of a city or country? How to provide insights and opportunities to households to contribute to sustainability by making adjustments to resource consumption?