COVID-19 and Some Potential Positives
By Daniel Green
It’s been a year and three months since the deadly COVID-19 landed on our shores. The Australian Federal Government has done a stellar job of managing the thing. Other nations haven’t been so lucky. One thing is for certain. Our lives have changed, perhaps forever. Today in Australia, that damned invisible bug has claimed 420 lives, cost $170b, buried countless businesses and sent thousands of Australians into financial hardship. It certainly did a number on us. We’ll be reeling for a long time yet.
It would be easy for this article to follow the trend and focus on the negatives. How we’re in dire straits and how we’ve lost so much. And for some of us that would be completely fair. Especially for those who’ve taken a personal toll. But one of the great things that makes us Australian is that we can remain positive throughout hardship. So let’s fire up that Aussie spirit and examine some of the positive effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The industrial revolution has a lot to answer for. Those early magnates who pioneered mass production have had a deep impact on the sheer speed at which we consume life. So much so that we’re seeing an emergence of health conditions from living ‘too fast’. So when COVID-19 brought the world to a screaming halt in January 2020 the stop was so sudden that a bunch of us went through our collective windscreens. The throttles-to-the-stops mentality was forced to take a back seat while we dusted ourselves off and wondered what heck we’d been doing with our lives.
Some of us weren’t so adaptable, but for those that were the change was welcome. Neighbours talked over fences again. People gave way in traffic. We walked our dogs again. It’s like the sun shone after the storm, except it had poured for fifty years and we didn’t even know it was wet.
Part of this proverbial stopping to smell the roses was due to working from home. This decentralisation was of course driven primarily by a flash new concept they called social distancing. Soon it was apparent that anyone with a home computer and an internet connection could work remotely. Which meant trade could at least move forward, albeit at more of a limp than a run.
This freed us from the shackles of the traditional nine to five. We trusted our people to do the right thing – and they did [note: people flourish when you give them a little responsibility]. Soon we returned to a healthier work/life balance. All of a sudden all that time we spent in transit was now free to use outside in the fresh air. To spend time with your kids. See the sunset. It’s like we remembered we should work to live and not the other way around.
Humans are extremely habitual. When we get into it we can ride a groove for weeks, months – even years without really coming up for air. It’s not until we’re jolted awake by external forces do we stop and assess things differently. When COVID-19 hit many companies were faced with extended periods of slowed trade. And whilst some of the more unfortunate businesses weren’t so lucky, Perfect was able to use the time to look inwards. At ourselves. At our business. How it ran. Areas of lack. What we’d allowed to get out of control. It had given us a chance to work on our business as opposed to just working in it.
As the former HR Manager of the Perfect Group we assessed our entire hiring process from top to bottom. A long overdue change to electronic documentation was finally moved online. Zoom prelim interviews were conducted – a process that saved hundreds of hours for both the candidates and ourselves. We introduced ATS software that decreased the volume of paperwork which in turn negated the transmission of bacteria. And so on.
Crtl + Alt + Del.
Like giving the earth a break. In March 2020 the internet was flooded with crystalline images of a clean and clear LA skyline not seen since 1980! The forced lockdown had undone thirty years of GHG’s in three months. Similarly, many developing nations reliant on manufacturing for our consumption had ground to a halt. Like LA freeways their usually busy plants now lay dormant.
Within weeks the murky rivers that evacuated their effluent began to run clear. Water life returned and flourished. In other parts of the world animals reclaimed urban areas. Beaches and waterways were particularly respondent. Watching these stunning reversals of what we thought were forever lost natural wonders was a cathartic process for everyone. It gave us hope that we hadn’t ruined this pristine planet after all.
Any global crisis that creates as much carnage as we have just seen is a terrible, terrible thing. With 2.7m people dead, trillions in economic damage and a seemingly unending battle against an invisible enemy, humanity is certainly ready to see the back of this thing. And while it is truly heartbreaking to consider the losses from such an appalling tragedy, we must fight to think of the positives. To remain upbeat. To look for the positives. Those in more unfortunate situations would expect it from us.