The Coronavirus pandemic has given us the opportunity to sit back and really examine society. Nationwide lockdowns, more time spent at home, and less time traveling back and forth to the office have meant our lives have certainly become a lot less busy than they were before.
As a result, our eyes have really been opened to the world around us. We’ve also had the opportunity to get to know our neighbors a little better and, between random acts of socially-distanced kindness and the weekly support for our health workers through ‘clapping for carers’, everything seemed to become a little friendlier.
But, as the pandemic begins to subside and life starts to return to a more familiar pace, it’s time to decide what type of society we want to see post-COVID. Do we intend to continue functioning with an improved society that’s based around thinking of other people first? Or will we fall back into the old habits our day-to-day demands forced us into?
If we’ve been able to change the way we live our lives over the past few months, there’s really no reason why we shouldn’t be able to continue living in the same way moving forward.
It’s quite manageable to change the way society works and how we behave as well. We just need to think differently about how we approach certain aspects of our lives, how we react to the world around us, and the way in which we treat other people.
Let’s take a look at how business has had to change during this pandemic to begin with. Social distancing measures had to be put in place and hand-sanitizing stations needed to be installed to help customers feel safe whilst they shopped. The number of people that were allowed into shops at the same time had to be closely monitored too.
These changes had a positive impact on society overall. Not only did they help to slow the spread of the virus, but they also help encourage people to think about their behavior whilst shopping. Giving people more time and space to make their selections, rather than crowding around shelves and becoming increasingly impatient with slower shoppers.
Surely this is the type of society we would like to continue functioning with once the Coronavirus pandemic is well and truly over. But is it truly achievable?
All of the changes that shops need to implement cost money. And, if we want to keep the society we’ve become accustomed to, they need to continue to be put in place. Hand sanitizer, protective screens at the checkouts, and even the employment of security guards at the door ensuring that capacity numbers are being kept in check all come at a cost. But just how are these smaller businesses able to follow government guidelines whilst retaining workers and continuing to make a profit?
Javad Marandi, a co-founder of The Marandi Foundation, is encouraging investors to turn their focus towards small businesses. It’s these businesses that really make the backbone of the economy, yet they are always the first to suffer.
This was highlighted in the way the UK’s government chose to address the loss of earnings suffered by self-employed people, with them being the last on the list to be offered any kind of support.
There is a domino effect that comes with investing in smaller businesses too. You see, the more money a small business has to keep up with these changes, the more chance there is of customers continuing to shop patiently and thoughtfully. And, in turn, society continues to function in a friendlier, kinder way.
Ongoing Societal Changes
We each have a responsibility towards ensuring society continues to function in a new way too. And, with no COVID-19 vaccine looking like a real option for a few years, it’s important that we continue to uphold changes that affect us personally.
Social distancing has been proven to slow the spread of Coronavirus. So, even as restrictions are gradually lifted, we should all continue to give people the space they’ve become used to having. This is a great step in the right direction for creating a friendlier, more tolerant society.
Continuing to wear a face mask when you hit the shops is another way to help other people feel safe and to protect yourself, and also helps lead to a more thoughtful way of life for everybody.
There have been some dark moments of society highlighted to us during the period of lockdown as well, and it’s more important than ever to pay attention to these situations and decide how we can use them to improve ourselves and society.
Take the police-officer led killing of George Floyd in America as an example. This sparked worldwide Black Lives Matter protests which, in turn, really gave us the opportunity to educate ourselves about racial injustice.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, surely it’s that we are all the same. Each of us is human, regardless of where we come from or the color of our skin, and the sooner society starts functioning with a tolerant, unprejudiced state of mind the better off we’ll all be.
The state of the environment is another thing that we all need to wake up and start paying attention to. COVID-19 came from our exploitation of the planet, and if society continues to operate in the way it has been up until now, we’re looking down the barrel of a loaded gun.
In fact, scientists believe that if society continues to mistreat the environment the chances of a similar pandemic will recur every five years. Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on human life and has plunged the global economy into a recession. Who knows how bad the next undiscovered virus could be?
Making small changes to the way we live our lives is the best way to ensure society functions in a kinder, more tolerant way. Think about your behavior when you’re out in public. Keep your distance from other people, give them the time they need to make their decisions when shopping and make sure you’re wearing a face-covering!
Think about what changes you can make at home too in order to help protect the environment and ultimately prevent another pandemic. Take a look at your food waste levels, make sure you’re recycling, and really take note of your consumer habits.
All of these small changes will lead to a better society that thinks about the needs of others, functions globally, and allows each of us to become a better citizen of the world.