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Most people ready to shop, eat out but not ‘work from office’

Most people ready to shop, eat out but not ‘work from office’

As new coronavirus cases in India show signs of slowing down and recoveries pick up, it is time for businesses to start chalking out plans to get back to the ‘normal’ routine. When we say normal, we mean the old regime and not the new normal. It is amply clear that there has been a huge shift in mindset. People, especially in the private sector, are unwilling to get back to their routine.

A couple of senior executives engaged with the private sector echoed the same sentiment. “They want to go on vacations, they want to eat out, but when it comes to getting back to office, an intense fear of coronavirus creeps in,” one of them said.

While the government offices have opened, most private offices remain shut and their employees are working from home.

“Even as most people continue to complain about the stringent WFH challenges, none are willing to get back to office,” another executive added.

It is a fact that people have got comfortable in their new normal and with WFH—whatever the challenges be.

As it becomes clearer now that the virus is unlikely to disappear—like most other viruses—as was anticipated in the beginning of the outbreak, it is important to show the required grit to open up offices and return to the earlier work routine.

India suffered an economic contraction of 23.9 per cent in the April-June quarter of the current financial year. Analysts have projected a contraction of over 10 per cent in the second quarter as well. There is hope that the economy will start showing signs of real recovery only from the fourth quarter and the role of each stakeholder will be critical, especially as businesses will have to be given an additional push to revert to the pre-Covid levels. After all that’s the only way we would be able to generate jobs and livelihoods.

The country is in an ‘unlock’ mode. Most economic activities have been allowed to open up from October 1; just a handful still remains shut.

People have resumed most of their social commitments—shopping, eating out, travelling. While these are important, equally important now is to open up offices and resume normal work structure. In fact, roads and home stays were almost packed just after the hill stations of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand opened up. Footfall starts increasing at shops and malls as the festive season kicks in. And amid this unlock mode, the focus should be on the private sector. It is time that it reverted to the pre-Covid routine.

While there should not be any compromise on hygiene and safe measures, people must be determined to get back to the ‘old’ normal to get the focus back of reviving the economy..