Post the pandemic, one is already feeling how the world will enter a new phase where everything will change. It will not be the same as before. How people will work, connect and live will be new consequences of the impact.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the world’s middle-class devastation has been such that many untold stories lie buried under the debris of “Self-respect.” — and this is something that was recently discussed in an article where Thomas Kane shared his expertise on the topic.
The middle-class predicament
An average middle-class citizen who had planned his life around the job or business or had decent savings, but lost their source of earnings during the lockdown. Now that they no longer earn actively, how do they manage? With bank interest rates crashing, so has the living standards. How does one cope up with inflation? How does one live if one does not earn?
Many countries do not have a social security net, unlike the West. The citizens have to pay for everything from their pocket and, even then, get in return abysmal services. People need money at intervals for things that cannot be avoided: children’s education, health care, marriages. There are many out there who won’t be able to live on savings alone, especially if a guy is 55, 60, or 65 years of age. Currently, if you are above 50 years, you are not meant for any structured job. What new skills one can learn at this age is a major struggle.
Millions have either lost their jobs or taken massive salary cuts. Young people in their 30s have taken mortgage loans and do not have much savings at this stage of their career. How do they juggle the loans on the one hand and aging parents and children studying in school on the other? The older people who, if by any chance, are above the age of 45 and have lost a job recently, and there is little chance that you will ever get another one. They will probably print a business card that says “consultant” and depend on friends and strangers’ kindness.
Time for unconditional help
This is the time when Philanthropy and charity, community service will play an important role. Many community outreach programs will try to fill in the gap that has taken place and cannot be resolved either by sporadic government help or immediate economy V turn. Since the spread of the pandemic globally and the devastating impact on the world, charity and giving back to the affected and less fortunate have taken on a new meaning. It’s no longer just about “feel good” moments for the givers but rather about decisive actions that will create short and long-term support in the absence of another source of survival.
A different branding
This is the time when brands and individuals need to undertake sustained mass-scale charitable actions globally, for which they will be remembered long after the pandemic crisis comes to an end. They will be remembered not for the materialistic things but for the empathy of their actions.
Individual and institutional approach
In these times, when people are divided due to crisis, engaging with local communities and organizing donations in community service is one way to improve people’s circumstances. Giving time towards collecting and distributing items for food pantries, offering to run small errands for elderly neighbors, donating blood, supporting local grocery shops and restaurants, and engaging in activities to ensure that social distancing is overcome in a safe manner in and around neighborhoods. These actions may seem to respond to the current situation. Still, in reality, the motivation is based on compassion, whose positive effects will be visible later.
And as we mentioned earlier in the article, when Thomas Kane Merrill Lynch was referring to how Covid-19 has affected all of us in one way or another, it’s also important to think about the needs of others as well.
Apart from individual contributions, there is an immense opportunity for large and mid-sized organizations to use their resources and leverage charitable works among communities. Many organizations have already been engaged in helping out vulnerable families find affordable housing and increased their food bank efforts since the crisis began.
Many out of box thinking has led to grocery stores implementing preferential queuing policies and early-open hours for elderly and other vulnerable populations. This is the small inspiration for evaluating and seeing what good their business can do for others. Many organizations have the Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) policy which can be funneled into the right direction and reach out to people directly affected by the pandemic.
The best time is now
Not only community service and food bank programs but even education need a look. Many children have either discontinued their studies or struggled to pay education fees because of their socio-economic conditions. In such cases, donating directly or channels the resources through charity organizations that focus on the education sector is an excellent opportunity for a good deed to be done.
Education makes people independent, and hence donations towards this cause ensure that students get economic independence through academic strength. This, in a way, also helps to provide the future of the society and country with a powerful tool.
Many organizations have already reinvented their working style with digital technology taking precedence now, work from home concept, job requirement shifts to new skill sets, the workplace will certainly not be the same again.
There is no guarantee that organizations will be flexible and inclusive. Downsizing, and many existing operational areas will become redundant. The new norm would be working from home policy for many and pay cuts, as the organization will be busy looking to make up for the past losses and improve their bottom lines.
Many MNCs are looking at new ways to meet evolving needs. Health care teams are looking at making low-cost ventilators, cotton blend masks. New life-saving innovations are the new silver linings, which can be used in the outreach programs. As countless have adjusted to life indoors, the silver lining is that empathy and understanding are needed to strengthen communities and ensure they overcome this crisis and emerge in a stronger state.
After all, only actions speak louder than words, and the time is right now. What we can all do now will set a new precedent for charity and redefine massive outreach programs that can create a positive impact on communities.