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21 day lockdown or 21 days of opportunity?

Take this opportunity to build life skills in children, and let both partners share the workload.

Take this opportunity to build life skills in children, and let both partners share the workload. Simple things like making bed, laying and clearing table before and after meals, hanging and picking up laundry can be taught to children

The last few days, the impact of corona virus is all over whatsapp messages, news and social media. It is for sure a serious concern and the 21 day lock down is supposed to help us arrest the break out from reaching unmanageable levels.

Cognitively, while we all understand that this lockdown is required, emotionally and physically we are all facing challenges. Let me articulate a few-

♦ All organisations are transitioning to "work from home" I am using the word "transitioning" because while physically no one is going to work, everyone is getting used to the concept of working from home like in office, without the environment and facilities an office provides. Organsiations and leaderships are working on prioritising, communicating, tweaking business processes to make this work.

♦ Lock down has impacted access to domestic help. So while employees are working from home, there is additional burden of household chores and childcare. As one of my clients commented, "I don't know if this is work from home or work for home".

♦ There is fear of not getting regular supplies, staples, medicines.

♦ For some, staying indoors is translating into boredom.

♦ There is fear of financial crunch. The stock market dip might have caused most people financial loss.

♦ There is insecurity of jobs, appraisals, increments and bonuses.

All the above are valid concerns, Yet, they are all out of our control. And when something is out of control, we need to dig deep and bring out our resilience and positivity and turn the question on its head. Instead of "How do we sustain this crisis?"; how about asking "How do we use this opportunity?". Because, rest assured, this time shall pass too, and when will we get an opportunity to stay home, spend time with family, and work at our own pace.

So here are some thoughts-

♦ Yes, there is office work and domestic work to be taken care of. Take this opportunity to build life skills in children, and let both partners share the work load. Simple things like making the bed, laying and clearing the table before and after meals, hanging and picking up the laundry can be taught to children. Parents can request for flexibility from managers to manage their domestic and official tasks.

♦ This is also an opportunity to drive gender neutrality in families. Household chores are not just a ladies' responsibility. Rope in your partners. Let children see their fathers pitching in.

♦ If time permits, do dabble in a hobby. Painting, reading, gardening. Enjoy the quiet on the streets, hear the birds. Feel close to nature. You will miss it once you start office again.

♦ Exercise every day. Walk inside your homes, gardening helps burn calories. If you like dancing, put on some music and let the whole family dance. 30 minutes of activity in addition to household chores will help release endorphins and keep those spirits up!

♦ If time permits, start an online course, learn some new skill you have always wanted to.

♦ Connect with family and friends you have not spoken to for a while. Do Zoom calls, re-establish those lost connections.

♦ Nurture family bonds. Replace binge watching with playing games. Monopoly, scrabble, Taboo, Uno, Ludo, Life and so many more and such great tools for family fun and bonding.

♦ If you run your own business, it's a great opportunity to revisit your business plans. Research, read, learn and revise strategy to maintain business continuity in the upcoming economic environment.

♦ Yes, stock markets are down, but this impacts everyone. No one is alone in this. Remember the 2008 crisis. We recovered then, we will recover now as well.

♦ Help others- there are a set of people who might not be as privileged. People providing basic services, cleaners, law enforcement force, medical fraternity…. Where possible and if possible, donate.

I am taking this opportunity as guilt free leave. I read, write and work when I feel like. I spend time with family. I am rejuvenating. And when this gets over, I will be ready to hit the ground running!

Sonica Aron, managing partner, Marching Sheep

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