The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how intricately connected the world is, let alone those in the same country or the same community. After such a harrowing time globally, the conversation around social awareness has also gained momentum. The effects caused by the lockdown protocols highlighted the systemic differences that resulted in a spectrum of different outcomes due to varying factors. A complex blend of socioeconomic factors incredibly involved how individuals were expected to navigate the pandemic.
The lockdowns caused multiple businesses to take a hit to their bottom lines and even shut down completely. Employees lost their jobs during already financially difficult times, but this wasn’t the case in every industry. Companies that can shift to remote working solutions can pivot their business models and cater to the evolving health and safety protocols.
Stronger Focus on Community
This drastic difference resulted in individuals who, in a way, were also able to benefit from the pandemic. Government-mandated stipends along with their steady income streams even resulted in a surplus of funds by the tail end of the pandemic. These two ends of the spectrum didn’t go unnoticed by communities all over the globe.
A stronger focus on supporting local small businesses and those who incorporated eco-friendly practices became the new standard. A heavier focus on environmental practices wasn’t entirely unforeseen. However, industry leaders have been pushing big businesses to start doing their part to achieve more sustainable practices. Technology has played a significant role in helping companies become greener in small and big ways.
During the difficult times amidst the pandemic, it was no secret that bigger businesses had the luxury of more wiggle room to adapt. In comparison, smaller businesses confined to their limited physical and financial resources most definitely struggled. E-commerce avenues became prevalent for more prominent companies to continue serving their consumers. A great trend that came out of the pandemic was the increased support for local restaurants. While chain restaurants can afford to participate in diversified ordering systems and delivery services, not all smaller businesses can.
Ordering from your local cafe around the block served a bigger purpose than just where you were eating lunch. Local cafes or restaurants were also more likely to be supporting local suppliers for their ingredients. Consumers giving greater importance to the small business economy undoubtedly saved some of their restaurants.
Businesses big and small have been pursuing digital transformation for years before the pandemic. One great example that’s been widely present across various industries is the push to go paperless. Digital record-keeping systems have been used in medicine, law, education, finance, and even the creative field, for years before the pandemic. Not only has this made record-keeping less of a hassle, but it also helped companies cut back on their paper usage.
Even the remote working setup has its benefits for the environment. Fewer people were using their private vehicles that contributed to their carbon footprint. Still, with fewer people in the office, corporations must also step toward a greener future. HVAC or heating, ventilation, and air condition systems that previously functioned almost around the clock were shut down or significantly reduced usage. Flexible work environments that took it a step further and utilized intelligent or smart controls allowed for even better results.
Families and Communities
The smallest levels of society, both or a familial and individual level, felt the effects of the pandemic. The result of the lockdowns on families greatly depended on multiple socioeconomic factors. For example, single-parent families that saw the increase in child care needs as schools shut down found it extremely difficult to manage. Even for parents who had the luxury of working from home, keeping an eye on their children while simultaneously being productive workforce members posed a challenge.
However, families that had both parents employed can afford for one of them to pick up the slack. Families who saw separated parents also had difficulty juggling their economic needs as they were confined to only one location. And as finances became tight, some even pursued legal actions with child support attorneys on their former spouses to step up their efforts to provide for their children. Even though technology permitted remote working and virtual learning, not all families were equipped to take on the sudden change.
Though the disparities in how the COVID-19 pandemic affected different social and economic classes can be disheartening, it’s also been an enlightening experience for many people. The call to give back and pursue a better, greener future for the next generation has become somewhat of a sensation. The slower days also allowed individuals to take a closer look at their daily habits, which they can change to better the environment.
Many of their previous choices depended on convenience as they juggled day-to-day activities. But being stuck indoors allowed them to make greener choices, such as skipping single-use plastics, recycling, and supporting local farm-to-table options.