An altered world


The pandemic has brought to the fore a set of stark realities. While they were present during the pre-pandemic days, their intensity was only gauged once we went into a lockdown in 2020. These realities could help us better understand our attitudes and behaviour. The first act we collectively did as humans in 2020 was to go into isolation. There were nearly four to six months when the complete lockdown was observed across the world.
In Pakistan, the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan cities were reduced to nearly zero activity. We understood that we can live in isolation given that we are connected via social media. Perhaps our inclination to use social media for many years prepared us to ignore the realities of the lockdown as we wandered over social media during the lockdown. However, it was also observed that those working on daily wages needed to work every day. The lockdown did not bode well for them.
Work-From-Home (WFH) was another concept that thrived during the lockdown. Many cities are still following this rule. The WFH rule showed us that employees can indeed work while staying at home. The Internet and online communication tools facilitated employees to conduct video meetings, share work over emails or on collaborative tools as they worked remotely. Perhaps in the future, a nine-to-five workday could be replaced with a six-to-eight-hour WFH schedule. In an ideal situation, organizations should ask the employees to complete tasks – whether they do so at the office or while working from home.
Another insight pertains to one’s leisure pursuits. People meeting for lunch and dinner or hanging out at cafes before the lockdown greatly reduced in 2020 and have become rare in 2021. People – especially teenagers – went through the ordeal of preventing themselves from making such plans to remain safe and to follow social distancing. It seems such hangouts only curbed one’s need for social interaction. People found solace by enjoying themselves in the comforts of their homes. They read books, watched movies, or got themselves busy with other tasks.
Indeed, the lockdown increased psychological stress among the children and teenagers as they were not meeting with their friends nor attending school. However, many students began completing free online certificate courses.
The world is still uncertain when the pandemic will be over and when the new normal will return to the old normal. Teenagers and the youth must continue to learn skills while staying at home. They have the wonders of digital media at their fingertips. While staying at home, they can read books, write articles, make video blogs, or even start working as a freelancer. They should focus on using their skill to fulfill a need and help them earn in return. It is indeed a challenging time for those who are transitioning from school to college and from college to university.
Online classes were not the norm but many students who aspired to take classes at a college or university are compelled to do so while staying at home. The world is now viewed through the screens of our laptops, PCs, or smartphones. We need to focus on learning skills as the future is bright for those who will develop them and make good use of them.