Although some countries are preparing to ease their coronavirus lockdown measures, experts are expecting COVID-19 to last longer – till the end of 2020 at least. It is an understatement, to say the least, that the pandemic has drastically changed the world as we know it. Planes are grounded, oil is cheaper than water, millions of people are now working and studying at home.
With the impact of COVID-19 felt in virtually every aspect of life as we know it – work, health, human habits and behaviour – it is likely that life post-COVID-19 (when it finally comes) will be different from before.
1. Normalise wearing a mask when sick
If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s to start putting on a mask when you feel ill. Unlike Taiwan and Japan where donning a mask is nothing out of the norm, wearing one in Singapore pre-COVID-19 outbreak could get you a few curious stares. However, with the current government mandated mask-wearing, it is no longer such a funny sight. It is hoped that this habit will carry on even after the outbreak is over.
2. Attitude shift: Not going to work as an act of responsibility rather than laziness
More pressing than ever, the beliefs around taking Medical Leave (MC) from work will have to change too. For fear of being thought of as intentionally skiving off, some workers in Singapore tend to “soldier on” when mildly sick. In some companies, anything milder than a fever may be considered not “serious enough” to warrant taking time off. The culture of rewarding employees who continue to show up for work even though they are sick will have to change. Such an act should not be seen as responsibility, commitment nor dedication.
Indeed, the Singpost cluster in Singapore, which was sparked when a worker showed up to work even when they were sick, is a painful lesson that such behaviour is anything but responsible.
3. Changes to the delivery of healthcare
A shift to telemedicine and teleconsulting may be needed to relieve some of the burden on clinics and hospitals. Additionally, doctor shopping (where patients visit more than one clinic to be diagnosed) might be discouraged more than ever as this pandemic has taught us that such behaviour may, on the contrary, aggravate the situation.
Image from https://mayfield.portsmouth.sch.uk/news/2020-03-18-school-closure-update-for-pupils-and-parents