The Unlock 1.0 of the Government and its directives are welcome steps which will help in boosting the economy and will provide a much needed relief for all sectors of business. The Government is keeping protocols in containment areas with higher infection levels and this safety measure seems to be a judicious measure of prevention. I feel strongly that the benefits of the Unlock will be rapidly felt at all levels of society, helping bring on track people and businesses.
My colleagues and I have been working with Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI), for opening up of malls and organised retail stores, which collectively impacts the livelihood of almost 12 million people across the country. The SOP’s we have created have been instrumental in bringing to the notice of the government and the other stakeholders the necessity of opening malls and other large format retails stores. I am glad to say that this will now be underway as soon as the Government notifies the SOP’s for the sector.
The opening up of the economy and travel has led to people travelling all over the country for personal or business reasons. A friend of mine travelled from Varanasi to Delhi and the journey experience consisted of flight as well as cab journeys. He was pleasantly surprised to find the levels of hygiene and care being taken to ensure that the flight was sanitised and even the cab part of the journey was surprisingly safe with many precautions taken by the cab driver. Clearly we see more and more companies and individuals implementing social distancing in a proper way.
While the government continues to play its role in educating the public and working in multiple areas, I now feel that the onus is shifting more and more on individuals and organisations as no government on the planet can enforce all the preventive measures necessary for society to be safe. In our offices at Consocia Advisory, we strictly follow social distancing norms and plan all interactions in a manner which allows us to keep a safe distance from others. We have a regular schedule for sanitisation and have created socially distant work zones. I feel strongly that all offices must do the same.
One dark aspect of the lockdown is the severe economic circumstances and the psychological tensions that are created in society. I feel, that the severe unrest in the USA is a direct result of the prolonged economic hardships and isolation that millions of people had to endure. The lifting of the lockdown is a certain safety release of these built up tensions.
Health and safety practices to raise physical immunity are also most important. Regular exercises, meditation and music help in preserving body and mind. Keeping these points in view, I have started walking 10 kilometers daily and also have started singing, thus taking care of my physical health and gaining a calmer and more balanced mind as well.
The loss to business and community has been incalculable. Year 2020 looks to be a washout and even Q1 of 2021 looks grim with expectations of negative growth. All my friends in business agree that this is the time when community will have to lead the way in showing society how to start work, overcome challenges and be socially responsible at the same time. As we move ahead in Unlock 1.0, the new normal for business survival will be innovation, sustainability planning and pivots. But, I believe that this era will also be marked by something that defines the pioneering leaders of business and society – passion and grit. Companies and organisations who have at their helm people with these two qualities are the ones most likely to make it through the storm.
I was just reading a report by Anand Rathi Financial Services which showed how fear levels are coming down and there is an upswing in sentiment in the market. People are quite willing to now resume economic activities with social distancing safeguards in place and it is this upsurge of sentiment which will help restart the economy. As communicators, we have to have an unbiased outlook and start telling the stories of the recovery, the growth that lies ahead and what are the paths that can lead to better growth for business and society. It is our duty to now present the positives of the revival that lies ahead so that we can together create the best narratives to bring optimism and beat the blues of markets and society.
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