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Say Goodbye to the Old and Welcome New

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How can we define the current time without the transition period? Our familiar environment has recently changed before our eyes. Going to university with friends by shuttle train, participating the class together or chatty atmosphere on the corridor of department after class have come to halt. We are naturally going to accept what was a few days ago is beyond thought. Incredibly true that we are rapidly copying with changes. Darwin’s theory of evolution taught us about importance of survival for the fittest and how human civilization has embraced changes in its quest for survival from generation to generation. Accepting the changed habits that were previously abnormal is called “New Normal” that has become popular after global recession 2008-2012. In order to avert epidemic Covid-19 outbreak, changes are noticeable in lifestyle, work environment, business operation and overall our society and economy. Once Covid- 19 outbreak will end, many things will return to normal. But these new changes of living will become normal for many of us. In rapidly changing situation, it will be normal to accept new changes and to put away old habits.
We have marked mentionable changes that have taken place in many aspects in the midst of coronavirus breakdown. All government offices, except those involved in emergency services such as law enforcement agencies and hospitals, as well as private offices have been declared closed by government to prevent coronavirus outbreak. People have been asked to maintain social distancing and to stay at homes. Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged country’s people to follow the health ministry’s instructions. To succeed lockdown, the brick and stone classroom has been transformed into Google classroom. Many of us have run private tuitions by taking online class and guardians have made payments via bKash or other moblie financial services. We are strengthening our old friendship by chatting in whatsApp or Messenger though it isn’t new. Many students and professionals are doing career development courses from Udemy, Coursera, edX as well as other sites. Career development consultants are conducting webiners regularly. Bidyanondo and other social organizations are raising fund, gathering information and directing relief camps through using online platform. Many families are buying daily necessities from online shops. Meanwhile Swapno, Meena Bazar and other native super shops have collaborated with ride sharing companies like Pathao, Uber, Sohoz to offer home delivery service. Native lifestyle retailer Aarong has opened its all outlets countrywide for all customers through booking shopping timeslot at its website to ensure social distancing along with arrangement of sanitization and thermal temperature checking facilities. Soon, other retailers may open outlets countrywide by taking safety actions. Many private firms have encouraged employees to work from home to ensure social distancing and have taken swift decisions via online meetings with employees. Also, our government have directed important meetings, taken swift decisions, provided guidelines through video conferencing though it is not new. Digital Bangladesh is moving forward with efficiency, innovation, collaboration and information technology. Innovation is constantly coming. We accept changes spontaneously. We say goodbye to the old and welcome the new if the new helps us to find something good.
But does every level of society have new normal positive effect? No, It hasn’t. It is not normal for a transport worker or a rickshaw puller not to eat while working from home. It isn’t expected to stop thousands crores of businesses on the upcoming Eid. It is very unfortunate that many have lost jobs. Hundreds more examples still we have. So in the midst of new normalcy, we have to think about not falling behind of every single person, none dies without eating. Experts suggest to policymakers of both government and private offices to figure out how opportunities of new normal can be sustainable by taking precise actions to make those opportunities available for welfare of mass people. Policymakers should consider how passenger less rickshaw can be added in home delivery process of groceries or other things to assure income for those passerger less rickshaw pullers. Alike how online classes can be reached to uneducated farmers for better cultivation needs to look. Work From Home (WFH) can be a handy strategy to thrive many new startups. Engineers, IT experts, HR consultants, knowledge workers possibly will be the beneficiaries of Work From Home strategy. Even many existing private firms can seek opportunities from this strategy as it reduces operation costs of business. Industry leaders have to look on how empathetic leadership which we had noticed recently by closing workplaces, paying salaries, encouraging work from home, ensuring safety equipments can sustain for long-term business goal attainment and employer-employee benefits.
The Directorate General of Health Service has issued technical guidelines for prevention and control of social and institutional infections of Covid-19 that have to be strictly followed after reopening the industries, businesses, educational institutions and services amid the coronavirus outbreak. On that guidelines, health safety issue get highest priority for all classes of people. Public health specialists opine that temporal health safety issue will turn into social movement which makes mass people more concerned about sanitization and cleanliness, food habit, environment pollution, food adulteration, ways to increase immunity, safety work environment and overall public health.
Experts warn to those who have not yet looked on new normalcy, they have to think about. Now inclusiveness of all classes of people in the new change process is a major challenge which will be more forcible due to shutdowns, cancellation of orders, pay cuts, layoffs. Consequently, the people for whom new normalcy is beyond acceptance, their lives must be brought into the midst of normalcy, otherwise new normalcy will be temporary and ineffective. Henceforth, along with Private Public Partnership in health, education and agricultural sector, income redistribution under public expenditure, social safety net, progressive tax policy will be effective strategy to combat with change process. Even, the government can stimulate production in private sectors by frizzing up crude oil in globally reduced price. Moreover, government should motivate youth engagement in innovation process to attain efficiency and sustainability.
--By Anupam Das & Dipa Das
(MBA Students at University of Chittagong).