COVID-19 has been the biggest impending crisis in the 21st century and has given rise to the new normal way of surviving, both personally and professionally. With uncertainty clouding over nations across the globe, economies have come to a standstill and India has been no different. Companies have been forced to adopt the “survival of the quickest and the smartest” mantra, while the economy struggles to come back to normalcy. With individuals restricted with the four walls of their homes, mental health has taken a severe hit. According to the Rebooting 2020: A Story of Covid-19, and Shifting Perceptions survey by reputation management advisory, The Mavericks India, 61% Indians are experiencing mental health related issues due to the lockdown, uncertainty, and looming financial crisis.
Mental health takes a beating this lockdown: Gen-Z and millennials have been impacted the most with 27% of Gen-Z and 19% of millennials expressing that this crisis has taken a significant toll on their mental health. Baby boomers are least impacted or perhaps better experienced and prepared to handle the crisis.
Furthermore, women are struggling more than men as their workload has increased significantly with them carrying multiple responsibilities without any assistance from domestic helpers.
Work-from-home the new normal? 46% of CXOs surveyed believe that working remotely will be the most significant change in the post-COVID world. While Work From Home is quite prevalent in the western world, the concept was confined to a handful of sectors and very often, limited to a few functions in India. This lockdown has forced all industries to explore innovative ways to get their workforce to operate remotely. Given the success of the forced experiment, many CXOs are exploring options to get a major portion of their workforce to work from home for a longer period of time post-COVID, or permanently in some cases. With salary cuts implemented with immediate effect across all industries, the WFH proposition offers saving time and money while bringing down the real estate costs for the employers significantly. WFH is being touted as a win-win scenario.
On the contrary, the workforce is itching to get back to working from office with 75% Indians finding WFH very challenging and further blurring the boundaries between work and personal lives. Indian economy’s road to recovery – a bleak future
90% CXOs expect the recovery to be slow and painful and this is likely to be reflected heavily in their decision-making as they try and navigate the turbulent times. A whopping 72% of Indians do not expect the economy to recover in less than a year with 26% being further pessimistic, not expecting the recovery before two years. A slow recovery stacked with depleted earnings and an expectation to save more spells impending doom for discretionary spending.
The rebooted consumer mindset is good news for shared economy brands while brands in luxury, travel and assimilation of material assets are likely to struggle and bleed on their way to recovery. However, the premium mobile phones market is expected to make a V-shaped recovery and dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and automatic washing machines market is expected to grow substantially.
“Early lockdown was the best solution to controlling the spread of COVID” Overall, 70% of Indians and 79% of CXOs are supportive of the Central Government’s response in handling the crisis with the only exception being, lack of planning and implementation in accommodating the plight of migrant workers. It is likely to prove to be a major impediment while putting the economy back on the path of recovery and eventually, growth.
Reduced dependencies on China the next big move for India? 51% of the CXOs and 40% of other respondents believe that China will suffer a global backlash as the world perceives that China could have responded more responsibly in handling the crisis that has gotten the world down on its knees. It’s a great opportunity for India if we respond quickly to bring in policy reforms, making it an attractive investment and consumption market, while focusing aggressively on the Make in India initiative and encouraging Indians to going #VocalForLocal.
Media consumption shifts to the online medium: Indians are tuned in to Zoom and Google Hangouts/ Meets for most part of the day, besides being pushed to bring in the digital transformation to some of their most loyal habits like consumption of traditional media. 70% of the respondents are reliant on online news sources and apps and only 3% of the millennials hold on to their old habits.
Sustainability is the name of the game: 58% of respondents are likely to have increased appreciation towards sustainable environmental practices while 63% are committed to leading a healthier lifestyle with a special focus on physical fitness and building better immunity. Say no to travel till there’s a vaccine: As expected, the travel and hospitality business is likely to take the longest time to recover as social distancing will continue to be the new normal for a while and definitely until they are vaccine-protected. At least 67% of the Indians are not likely to travel for the next 6 months unless it is absolutely necessary.
Commenting on the impact of COVID-19 lockdown and crisis, Chetan Mahajan, Founder & CEO of The Mavericks said, “Reputation, transparency, and trust will be the new currencies of the post-COVID era. Brands that are living their purpose and are conscious about building sustainable business models will enjoy preference and will recover faster. Furthermore, digital transformation will change the storytelling game and authentic change the storytelling game and authentic influencers will become the key carriers of the Brand story.”