COVID-19: How to prepare for the impacts?

At individual or household level, how are we impacted and what can we do to cushion any negative impact? What’s in store for the future, post-COVID-19, and how can we prepare for the eventuality?

 

As it is, COVID-19 pandemic is already impacting all aspects of our life, physically, mentally and spiritually. The impacts are multi-dimensional and interact with each other – health, job, income, supply of goods and services, social interactions etc.

 

Managing potential impacts involves managing changes at work and at home. For those who are in education, managing their studies is required. To prepare for the impacts or the new normal, each individual or household can conduct a simple scenario planning using the “what if” exercise to explore various future possibilities.

 

Scenario planning paves the way for us to have the right mindset and realistic expectations on what’s in store for the future. For instance, potential scenarios for our future work (income) include status quo, reduced income of total loss of income.

 

For each scenario, we can develop a plan to mitigate the potential consequences. The pandemic should also trigger reflection on our life, life goals and priority settings.

 

Following are the 5 steps that we can use as a guideline to cushion any potential negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic:

 

1. Develop plan

For those without any plan, this is the time to develop plan for financial, personal and career needs. Those who already have plans can update their plans taking into considerations impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans should look at short, medium and long terms. 

 

2. Practice prudent spending and savings

As the duration of the impact is unknown and facing with uncertain future, it is crucial to exercise caution and practice prudent savings and spending.  To keep check of our finances, develop weekly or monthly budget, and monitor spending closely.

 

3. Get assistance/help

If you need help, ask for help/support based on needs, be it financially, mentally or spiritually from relevant authorities, professionals, NGOs or religious leaders.

 

4. Be more innovative at work, at home or at our study

As we are already operating in a different environment, we have to think differently and find creative ways of doing things to achieve similar results as if there is no MCO. In short, we must strive to turn challenge to opportunity.

 

5. Reinvent ourselves

Even before the pandemic, we are already living in a challenging time. With COVID-19, it is more urgent than ever for any individual to stay relevant and be a valued member of an organisation he/she is in. One must take the opportunity to upgrade one’s skill set (or reskill) and strives to diversify his/her knowledge base.

 

Additionally, as a society, we should also help each other, especially those who are in need, financially or otherwise.

 

Studies on the impacts of COVID-19 to our livelihood show that there are considerable uncertainties going forward. It is imperative that we prepare ourselves and make necessary plans to weather the challenging times ahead of us.

 

Mohammad Abdul Hamid, founder & consultant, Behavioural Insights Consultancy

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