One of the basic concepts taught in business management classes is that External Business Environment is a product of Political, Economic, Social and Technological (PEST) forces that are largely outside the control and influence of a business, but with significant potential to cause a positive and/or negative impact on it. We are now witnessing this in real time in the form of Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic
22nd March was declared as the ‘Janata Curfew day’ to fight the Corona Virus pandemic. Self-isolation or quarantine is intended to slow the spread of the Covid-19. Curfew means all kinds of social gathering are prohibited by law. Most schools, entertainment facilities and tourist attractions would be closed across India. This closure may extend for additional days if the situation does not come under control. Offices are allowing work from home where possible. Colleges are conducting live online classes via various IT platforms. All measures are being taken to avoid the spread of the deadly Corona Virus. India is not isolated as similar draconian measures are being implemented by countries across the world. In fact there are suggestions to the Government to declare that F.Y. 2019-20 will end on 30-04-2020 instead of 31-03-2020 with F.Y. 2020-21 commencing on 01-05-2020.
India’s economic indicator BSE Sensex came down with over 350 stocks hitting their 52 week low. Big manufacturing companies are shutting down their operations while many smaller ones are going out of business. Some may not even be able to pay their staff during this lay off. This demonstrates the level of impact the current Covid-19 has had on our economy. This macro factor is uncontrollable and beyond our micro level approach. Nonetheless, the quarantine has also unexpectedly brought us something extremely valuable – time. . We, at micro level, can actually do something to utilize this downtime.
In 1665, Isaac Newton had to work from home when the University of Cambridge temporarily closed due to Bubonic plague. It was the most productive period of his life and he used the time to develop his theories on calculus, optics and gravity.
Of course not all of us are expected to develop such theories as Newton did. However, this downtime can be used for achieving a “Better Me”. I am 100 % certain that every one of us has always been pondering of pursuing something if they had some time – some hobby or fitness program or writing or cooking or planning a business model or study module or spending time with family… but the busy work schedule and other family and social commitments never allowed us to pursue it.
Now, many of us maybe saving the travel time with work from home option. We can plan to pursue that hobby or program we always dreamt of. I have enrolled in a live online class of learning Hula Hoop. Previously it was an in-person class which required a 3 hours round trip travel time – 3 hours that I could not spare. . Now, that online live sessions (one to one) are available it was very much doable. My Hula Hoop instructor is Devina Prasad, highly experienced in this domain and a Yoga expert too. She has her online hoop classes @hoop_yogi. The Hula Hoop sessions work as stress buster and help you burn those extra calories. Waist hooping also tones your core muscles. I plan to provide more updates as I progress with this class and happy to answer any questions. Nonetheless, we do have work from home and there may be extra activities such e.g. child care that may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. I have to conduct online live post graduate course sessions for my students. However, some extra time is definitely being saved by the social isolation. Let’s utilize this downtime to make a “Better Me”. I am utilizing it to learn a new skill (Hula Hoop) and preparing for a professional certification. My morning workout time has also increased. The small amount of time devoted in kitchen with my Mom is a bliss, something I am deprived of due to work schedule. So shrug off that laziness and get out of the comfort zone. Go Get it. No need to be a Newton, just a “Better Me” during this downtime.