There’s so much worry, panic and negativity around at the moment. We could all do with some uplifting news – so are there any silver linings to Covid-19? Here are a few to help us balance things out:
- More time with family. With home schooling and virtual work places we have an effective pause button on the busyness of our lives. Jigsaw puzzles, movie nights, board games and backyard cricket are at an all time high. Make the most of this time; it will certainly be remembered by kids as the time mum and/or dad didn’t have to go to work.
- Appreciation for the simpler things in life. In Britain a Government survey found only 9% of residents want to go back to life before Covid-19, with 40% reporting a stronger sense of community during this pandemic and 39% saying they are spending more time with family and friends. It’s a great time for slowing down, gratitude and appreciating things we perhaps have taken for granted or not noticed. The best things in life are free.
- Less pollution, less congestion. Pollution and emissions have fallen significantly, for example a 25% reduction in China and a 50% reduction in New York, and we have a much better chance of meeting desired climate change targets across the globe. 51% of people notice cleaner outdoor air in Europe and Indians can see the Himalayas clearly for the first time in years. Scientists have noticed more wildlife and oceans are starting to recover from over-fishing.
- Streamlining what we need to go to work for. A survey of HR leaders found that 41% of employees are likely to work remotely after this pandemic. We’re discovering what’s more efficient online vs what’s critical face to face, and there’s likely a new norm and work life balance that will result afterwards.
- Cooking at home. Meals at home are getting more adventurous, if internet searches are anything to go by – more people are looking up how to make a sourdough and pasta from scratch, how to use tin foods and staple ingredients, and how to make cakes and sauces . Recipe groups are going viral and people are sharing their successes, and failures, with good humour and lively discussion. Baking has been proven to improve your mental health, so ensure you do some!
- Community coming together. From philanthropists developing vaccines at breakneck speed, to Facebook groups “adopting” healthcare workers, to 100 year olds doing laps in their nursing home to raise money for hospitals, to singing apartment buildings in Europe, we are seeing the best of humanity. Not to mention the free courses, concerts, online learning and the many memes and family videos that have gone viral as folks get creative and offer their talents and resources to others around the world.
- Innovation and learning new things. Now is the time organisations are adapting (e.g. Gin factories producing alcohol sanitisers or restaurants providing how to cook boxes along with online videos from celebrity chefs) and many are undergoing exponential digitisation and rapid migration to online platforms. Individuals are taking up online courses, new hobbies, interests and perhaps rediscovering old interests.
- Spending less money – a large UK survey found 61% of participants are spending less, and maybe that’s a good thing overall to help us live within our means and not buy things we don’t truly need. Economists forecast that US consumer spending will fall by around 20%, as household income falls by 16%.
- Greater value on health and well-being. This generation will certainly wash their hands more (87% of Australians are washing their hands more than usual the past month) and there will be greater attention to preventative care such as flu vaccination (records numbers anticipated this winter). Home gym kits and online yoga are on the up.
In times of crisis, the world adapts, often for the better – after cholera and influenza epidemics, there were demonstrable improvements in clean drinking water housing and hygiene. Perhaps Covid-19 will lead us to a better future…. let’s be optimistic!