Moving with the times: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

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From the way we socialise to how we work, and even how we shop, life as we know it has been transformed since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is how things have changed – and what we’ve learnt so far:

How we work and study

  • Some people have returned to the office, but many are still, to varying degrees, working remotely.
  • We have to follow certain safety procedures, such as having our temperature checked and sanitising our hands, when we arrive at the office, at school or on campus.
  • We wear masks and sit a safe distance (at least 2m) apart during in-person meetings.
  • Instead of stopping at someone’s desk for a chat, we instant-message or send an email.

What we’ve learnt: More effective communication skills with videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Many people have managed to sharpen their collaboration skills (even while working remotely).

How we socialise

  • Our greetings have changed from kisses, hugs and handshakes to elbow bumps and waves.
  • Our get-togethers are with small groups of friends instead of large gatherings.
  • Many are opting for outdoor activities instead of indoor ones.
  • We wear masks and keep a safe distance around others outdoors and at social venues.
  • We often socialise through social media and texting, more than we did before.

What we’ve learnt: We appreciate quality time with our loved ones and have become creative with our interactions. We also use technology more effectively to stay in touch (e.g. video calls and social media updates).

How we dine

  • Many people still prefer dining at home – cooking or ordering takeaways.
  • We are careful about touching condiment shakers, sauce bottles and even menus.
  • Waiters and waitresses wear masks, and customers only take their masks off during meals.
  • Outdoor restaurant options are preferred as they afford more ventilation.

What we’ve learnt: A survey by Dineplan, a South African reservation system for restaurants, showed that 68% of South Africans are willing to eat out post-lockdown. These diners indicated that they would only be eating out if safety precautions such as temperature checks, mask wearing and social distancing were in place.

The results indicate that although some of us are willing to venture out, a significant number are still reluctant.

How we shop

  • Although restrictions have eased, many of us are still mainly shopping for essentials such as weekly groceries.
  • Many are opting to purchase clothing and other goods online.
  • We’ve discovered that we used to buy many unnecessary items before lockdown.

What we’ve learnt: More light was shed on how we spend our money, particularly with regards to supporting small businesses, according to a Bizcommunity article. From selling goods to interacting with customers, small-business owners have been using social media more effectively, particularly Instagram.

For more advice on adapting to change, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


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