In an attempt to reduce the projected number of symptomatic Covid-19 cases in India, we have seen a lockdown that lasted close to two months now. It’s essential given the healthcare system’s capacity, though last few days have seen sudden spikes. This is India’s third phase of lockdown, wherein there are region wise measures based on spread, identified cases and quarantine zones among other factors.
1. Work from Home
This is probably the most widely discussed topic at the moment. Well, for most people in technology, this is nothing new. Most IT companies seamlessly moved into working from home mode when the government mandated the lockdown. Employees were allowed access from personal devices or official laptops through secure VPNs ensuring business continuity. But aside from IT and freelancers, most other industries did not really practice working from home much, if at all. But the lockdown was the necessity that forced organisations to look at various roles, and evaluate if they could be done remotely just as effectively. Journalists are researching pieces Radio Jockeys are hosting shows from home, instead of studios. All the amazing latest content that has been keeping us entertained – post production work on that is happening remotely, like colour grading, editorial finishing and titling.
2. E-Learning & Online Classes
Students have seen a significant disruption in their learning with the onset of Covid-19. Schools had to be shut down, examinations cancelled and classes put on hold as government started grappling with the impact and spread. But learning continuity is essential, and as we are crossing the second month, students (and their parents!) grow restless. There were various ed-tech platforms that always had online classes and e-learning options, but now there are traditional educational institutions organising video/online classes, not just for colleges and b-schools, but right from elementary level. Yes, there are difficulties with inadequate infrastructure, but they are being navigated through steadily in cities. In non-urban India, this is a different kind of challenge where students do not have access internet and devices to be able to use facilities like e-learning.
Telemedicine and Virtual Healthcare have been around for a while, and started expanding in India from 2018-2019, especially for improved healthcare in rural areas. The typical process of telemedicine sees communication via a videoconference, or phone between an offsite doctor and patient at home for consultation, diagnosis and check-ups. With the advent of 5G and IoT, there were further use cases of remote surgery and health monitoring. During the lockdown, there were two aspects that led to telemedicine’s popularity:
- Non-emergency medical care was suspended, and government shut down services that were not focused on Covid-19 care and other emergency.
- Given it was unsafe to step out, and in order to maintain social distancing, people preferred healthcare options that come to them, rather than heading to a hospital or clinic.
Platforms like RxDx and Practo help with online consults, whereas individual doctors and medical professionals have started consults on social media. The adoption of Telemedicine is still in nascent stages, but Covid-19 could be the boost it needs.
4. Virtual Workouts
Fitness and health are extremely important now that people are working from home and practicing social distancing. The last two years saw a huge surge of fitness studios and gyms, but now that they are shut, there is a different kind of discipline required for at-home fitness. There were always many free virtual workouts, and I have used them personally, but now they are gaining popularity. Cult, for example, conducts instructor led live online classes, and has class ranks and energy meter to keep things fun, engaging and competitive. Personal instructors are also conducting sessions live on social media or 1-on-1 with individuals. So there’s really enough options to take a break and sweat it out!
5. Cooking at Home
Even before the shutdown, as the scare of Covid-19 had started to permeate, most people were avoiding public gatherings, going out to restaurants, and even ordering in to a huge extent. That saw this wilful adoption of cooking at home. While some used this time to hone and perfect their skills of cooking and baking, many others are using this time to focus on nutrition, frugality and simplicity. Remember, ingredients and supplies are not abundantly available everywhere. Chefs were being asked essentials to stock in pantry. Lack of good breads led to some people making their own, for the first time! Perhaps with the extra time people have by not being stuck in traffic, or nostalgia and food make people feel better – there is SO much of amazing cooking, interesting recipes, masterful plating, styled photographs. The health benefits of a home cooked meal are an obvious advantage. And this is not just from folks that love cooking, but just everyone who are pragmatically learning and enjoying to cook!
The Covid-19 lockdown is bringing a lot of opportunities as individuals and enterprises search for ways to make an impact and be relevant. Beauty brands have launched assisted beauty programmes, various artists and performers are getting together for online concerts, designers are making masks, online portals are delivering essentials, families and friends are on video calls. Some of these practices could become the norm. These are tough times, but the changes could be here to stay. Make the most of the situation, and stay safe everyone!
- By Debolina Ray, Sheknowsgrub.