Time to define our personal COVID-19 response strategy

What role should we as individuals play in speeding up the economic/livelihood revival during COVID-19 pandemic?

The impact of COVID-19 is not only on the lives of people but also on the livelihoods and economy at large.while personal hygiene and social distancing are emerging as key practices globally for breaking the coronavirus chain, humanity is being tested on the grounds of longevity in sustaining livelihood chain. lives are important but saving the chain of livelihood from breaking is equally important, to this end all of us have an important role to play.

In recent times I have often come across several articles focusing on important issues like how the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO) should address the Covid-19 crisis along with reams of newsprint on the need for judicious leadership both globally and locally and the urgency for better coordination between central & state governments to address this pandemic. Equally significant were reports on the need for private- public partnerships and how not-for-profit and community-based organizations can engage better.

Help Your Domestic Workers

As per International Labor Organization (ILO), there are 4.75 million domestic workers in India, of which 3 million are women. But various reports claim that this estimate is low and that the true number can be somewhere between 20 to 80 million. Many women domestic workers are often the sole bread winners in their families and ensuring their financial well-being by paying full salaries or even a part of it despite them not reporting to work will not just help these families to survive but can also discourage domestic violence.

Help Whom You Know

As per the Economic Survey of 2018-19, 93 percent of the total workforce is informal in India. In absolute number terms it is roughly 450 million. Informal worker is defined as a worker with no written contract, paid leave, health benefits or social security and you can find them in every sector; with the majority of them in agriculture, construction, textiles and mining. I’m certain that many of us would know at least a couple of them. Supporting them in this crisis can be a great step towards sustaining the chain of livelihoods. Considering the reduction in our personal expenditure on transit, shopping and food during these times, even small monthly support of 1500-2000 (INR) during the lockdown period and for some time till they are able to return to work can save many families from falling into extreme poverty. 

Follow Safety Protocols

Following safety protocols as announced by government will not only help in saving us from the Covid-19 pandemic, but will also help in speeding the opening up of economy. Bill Gates in his note The First Modern Pandemic highlights “there are no easy answers; ultimately, leaders at the national, state, and local levels will need to make trade-offs based on the risks and benefits of opening various parts of the economy.” Our behavior can play a key role in allowing gradual opening up of economy which is very much required to save several livelihoods.

Learn to ‘Be Productive’ While Working from Home

Most of us are not used to working from home for such a long duration unless you are a gig worker. Interestingly, we all have become gig workers at least life-style wise during the lockdown or even for a while after that if your organization decides to prolong the work from home arrangement. Hence, it is important to learn how successful gig workers who work in the knowledge economy or in the creative field manage their productivity. HBR article Thriving in the gig economy talks of four things to remain productive: [a] create a dedicated Place [b] follow a daily Routine  [c] find a Purpose and [d] strive to avoid social isolation by having People (peer group) you can turn to for reassurance and encouragement.  Staying productive helps your company and the economy. During the lockdown while working from home I had my own personal insight on this, you may like to read it as well.  (Stay Home, Stay Safe & Stay Productive) . 

I believe that if we can focus on the above four, we will be doing a great service to society during this unprecedented crisis. Such acts stemming from our own consciousness and responsibility will not just motivate others but also pave the way to handhold the most vulnerable amongst us. 

Pranav Kumar Chaudhary | Director, Operations 

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