More than ever, everything is uncertain - worldwide speaking. We were all taken aback and we are still trying to figure out how to face Covid-19 and to picture life after it. Individuals, companies, governments, and leaders are now being called to make decisions based on inconstant data. It's indeed very hard to be sure about anything and I bet nobody is at the moment - otherwise, it's very likely that this person would be in the global spotlight right now. Although, there are some changes that can be expected when taking into account everything this pandemic is teaching us - from our personal hygiene standards to science investment - and we believe it worths sharing.
1. Hygiene standards
Okay, contradicting my statement above, there is one thing we all can be sure about: our personal hygiene standard matters, with greater reason now! Of course, it's not something new the fact that washing our hands will, many times, prevent us from contracting viruses and bacterias in general - but the new coronavirus has shown us that this is actually one of the most effective ways to minimize the spread of it.
When this is all over, it's expected that people, besides caring more about their own hygiene, will give preference for places with a high score on this practice when buying a service: especially for the hospitality and travel industries, cleanliness review rates will add value and count a lot during your possible customer decision-making process. Keeping this in mind, it's important to make sure your staff is aware of the importance of keeping up high standards of sanitation as well as possibly implement deep cleaning days on a more frequent basis. It also worths reinforcing the idea of how your company prizes for outstanding service to your guests: make it clear to them upon check-in and also spreading small notes around, making them feel welcome to report any cleansing fault they may encounter at your place during their stay. What's more, always keeping a hand sanitizer on your front desk will be very appreciated and it also helps with the first impression you'll make!
2. Accountability & Sustainability
The earth is taking a break now and with this comes more and more news about how nature is responding to it. Venice's canals looking clearer a few weeks after Italy imposed the lockdown - at the very end the swan returning to and the dolphins swimming on the canal were fake news, but indeed the water is clearer as it hadn´t been for the past decades. Wildlife roaming further into cities as lockdown measures empty streets. The Himalayas being visible from miles away after decades of being hidden by air pollution. These are only the main ones but they do make us reflect on our actions and their impacts on nature.
What is more, it's important to highlight that, accordingly to recent research from Harvard University, air pollution is one of the factors believed to increase Covid-19 fatalities - since breathing in low-quality air long-term can raise the chances of contracting the virus and it also brings to 15% the chance of dying from it.
Taking it all into account, it can happen (and hopefully will) that we, as humanity, will have accountability for our actions, becoming more conscious about our real necessities and the environment. Being forced to live with nothing but the essential at the moment is making many of us realise how we spend money and time on things that we can perfectly live without - and this tends to make us review our lifestyle and change our priorities. It's possible that people will prefer to live new experiences rather than buying new things - the old story of being instead of having.
This being said, right now we can understand that small actions matter: if all of us make our part, we can play a big role together. That's another reason to start a more sustainable life and go greener! Let's do it!
As people with certain health conditions are more vulnerable to the virus, it's predictable that we'll all care more about our well-being. Eating healthier, stop smoking or smoking less (if you do), exercising, and practicing activities that make you feel good will probably see an increase in the number of adepts - after all, they help to keep our immunity system strong. Besides, many people are now enjoying the quarantine to go for activities they didn't have time to before and create a new routine, and it's likely that they are going to be willing to keep these activities in their daily life especially after seeing the impacts it brings to their physical and mental health.
In addition to my previous point, it's also believed that people will be more careful and, if possible, avoid travelling when sick - since coughing, sneezing and having high temperature will never again be seen as before. When not possible to postpone the trip, there is a big chance that people will pay double attention to their hygiene standards, in order to minimise the spread of any virus - society won't see a cough as a simple flu symptom anymore.
4. Home office
Covid is showing us that, indeed, many types of work can be done from home. Having no other option made the companies allow their teams to work from home during the quarantine and they are seeing how possible it is. This, added together with individuals and companies having more accountability and thinking about actions they can take in order to be more sustainable, could increase the number of corporations allowing their staff to work from home most of the times - this would have a great impact on reducing air pollution as well as in people's consumption in general. Why? Think about unnecessary things we buy on our way to and from work: that shop window which makes you walk in and buy "just this t-shirt" or "these trousers I really need" (when you actually don't) here and there, that plastic wrap snack when you are in hurry to work, or even the work clothes you have to replace from time to time - you wouldn't need that much fancy/social clothes when working from home... when you think about it globally, it's a huge and impactful change!
5. Science investment
With the Covid outbreak and all its consequences around the world, there is a mad scramble for a vaccine - since only after this we'll be able to actually overcome the social distancing and travel safe again; which means that science will be the one taking us out of this crisis. Hopefully, this will make governments aware of the importance of science investment, instead of taking it for granted as many of current governments around the world have been doing for the past years. The US is an explicit example: for the past 4 years, Trump's administration has made deep cuts to the science budget, including cuts to funding the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, according to chemist H. Holden Thorp article to the journal Science - and here they are now: the number one economy in the world is also the number one on Covid death tolls, urging its scientists to come up with a vaccine.
Optimistically, administrations around the globe will understand that science can't be taken for granted: it needs investment and time to succeed and be able to help us in a more efficient way in a crisis like the one we are facing now.
6. Land rather than air transports to be chosen
Whenever possible, trains and buses are likely to be preferred rather than flights. First, because domestic travel will probably recover before international one - due to border restrictions that will probably remain in place until we get to a vaccine, second because of the pollution numbers of each of these types of transportation.
7. Empathy and humanity
One point we can't ignore is but should instead highlight it: there are incredibly beautiful actions being taken at the moment. Companies are producing alcohol-based sanitizers to distribute them for free. Governments are helping each other as they can. Populations are coming together (even being apart) in order to thank and support the front-line staff who is working endlessly and exposing themselves in order to save as many lives as possible. People are volunteering in other to help in any way they can - delivering the essentials, feeding the homeless, markets are implementing dedicated time for the elderlies to shop, therapists are stepping up online in order to come up with advice to deal with the growing anxiety, artists are using their skills to spread important health messages to their followers and fans... At the very end: people are caring and thinking about each, way more than it used to be. Let's hope this community and empathetic spirit will stay with us to build a better world!
While writing this post, I came up with many reflections and one of them is that: for so long, all these points were taken for granted, even with the earth and nature trying to show us, through many natural disasters, that we were going to the wrong direction. I believe nothing happens by accident and definitely think Covid-19 is a wake-up call that humanity mustn't ignore. It's time for us to reinvent ourselves as individuals, companies, leaders, governments... It's time for us to reinvent ourselves as humankind and begin a New Era.