By: Natasha Archary
We’re all doing our part to curb the spread of the virus. Still, health experts warn it could be years before governments ease current lifestyle restrictions. Not until a cure for the virus is proven successful and made available to the general public affected.
This means we may never go back to the comfortable world we left behind. Isn’t that a scary thought? It also means that adjusting to this new normal may be difficult for many people and it’s understandable. After the President declared an ease of the restrictions under Level 3, after almost 2 and a half months under lockdown, it may be time to readjust to life during this pandemic.
A disruption in routine
From adjusting to working from home to now transitioning back into the office environment, whenever our routines get disrupted it’s easy to lose focus. While some may thrive in an office environment, others may have felt more productive in the comfort of their homes.
Allow yourself a few days to ease into a new work routine and the early morning struggles again. The daily stresses of everyday commutes and traffic congestion may not be missed but we all knew the day we’d need to face them again would come. And now that it’s here to stay, it’s going to take some getting used to.
It means figuring out a care plan if children are still at home, to ensure their needs are being met whilst you are at the office. It is a big disruption. One that will need to be carefully planned around, to ensure that you’re safe and don’t risk your families’ health in the process.
The wage war
With many companies downsizing during the lockdown or closing altogether, many South Africans are coming to terms with losing everything. Under the current economic climate, it may not be advisable to pick up talks about a wage increase or promotion.
People are prioritizing health and essentials right now and its treacherous territory all around. Navigating conversations around a salary hike usually sees most companies engaging with employees before the new financial year, which should have happened in May, with some companies holding off discussions until the new financial year around July/August.
Companies that may not have been profitable during the lockdown, may have considered downsizing. It is highly likely then, that they will not enter wage negotiations and it would be encouraged that all employees read up on their rights under the labor law. It may be advisable to get discussions and agreements in writing to revisit when the economic hardship shifts.
From spending months together with your family to being office-bound most of the day, our time with family is once again limited to a few hours a day. Taking the little things for granted has seen many families work on their differences and strengthen their bonds, creating dedicated family time.
Something about the impending end of the world that makes one re-evaluate the meaning of life anew. Sharing in the household responsibilities, cooking a meal together, and being confined to quarters may have been just what many needed to bridge divides and fix strained relationships and marriages.
In each other’s faces
Zoom meetings, though frustrating at times provided some reprieve to face to face encounters. If you spend your days rushing from meeting to meeting, this could be the one thing from the lockdown millions vote to keep. It saves you from being fashionably late to engagements and is honestly hassle-free as long as we have power and a stable internet connection.
That and you can eat all the salty pretzels you want while your mic is on mute and your video function is turned off. If you have to return to daily meetings in boardrooms, however, yeah, we don’t have any tips for you, except good luck.
No more stretchy waistbands
Who missed stiff office attire? Nope, not here. Comfortable yoga sweatpants all day every day should be the new normal. But it’s sadly societally unacceptable in the corporate environment. Which means you’ll have to trade in those stretchy waistbands for actual office wear again. And swap the warm indoor slippers for heels and formal shoes. Yay.
Yes. A hint of sarcasm detected because whoever came up with those rules deserves a talking to. Whoever said one could not be productive in sweatpants anyway?
There are so many things to adjust to under our new normal way of life. Sanitizing our hands, avoiding people, and wearing a mask at all times are just the tips of an otherwise pandemic iceberg.