MANILA, PHILIPPINES — With COVID-19 rendering the world to a veritable halt, industries have been scrambling to adapt to “the new normal.” Similar to what happens when your computer stops working, instead of pressing Ctrl. Alt. Delete., COVID-19 has reset the world and everyone has been scrambling to see if the work that they had done before the pandemic was saved or needs to start from scratch. The effects of quarantine, even long after it is lifted, will continue to fall on our backs. Amid this great collective re-emergence, what are we returning to, and what are we really leaving our quarantined ways behind?
Digital agency AdSpark refers to where we are now as “The Great Reset.” By using a combination of Social Listening, Consumption Scans, direct interviews, and contextualized third-party data, AdSpark Intelligence is attempting to see how the lifting of restrictions and gradual re-entry into this new world is affecting Filipinos.
Their report looked at five key areas:
1. A more fragile world and a more fragile me — During quarantine, there was a sense of protection for most Filipinos behind their closed walls. With restrictions gone and the coronavirus still present, however, there is apprehension about going outside those homes. Most miss life before COVID-19 while understanding that until a vaccine is found and distributed, there really is no safety in this situation today. A society that fills malls to the brim and seemingly enjoys non-stop dining occasions has been stopped in its tracks by the coronavirus.
2. Work persistence despite perils – As work-from-home situations became more prevalent, companies had to be open to the idea due to the perils of going outside. Bills still had to be paid, leaving many companies with no choice but to reopen when a different stage of quarantine was adopted. Many adjusted the ways with which they worked as unemployment continues to soar and small businesses have been shutting down left and right. Business could not go on “as usual” and survival has become the top priority.
3. This crisis is personal – Even as global economies suffer and go off the rails, the impact is being felt in the wallets of many. A recent SWS survey stated that 83% of Filipinos believe that the quality of life in the Philippines has gone down in the past year. The hazards of looking for livelihood while dealing with a pandemic has left 9 out of 10 stressed. Psychological well-being has also become a topic of discussion as the fears surrounding the virus and finding steady cash flow have crept into many people’s minds.
4. The new role of entertainment, classes, and kitchen creations: a sense of completion – During the three months of hard lockdown, countless Filipinos took to the internet to learn new skills or educate themselves. While some did so just to have something to do, others wanted to better themselves or have a sense of accomplishment while being in a restricted space. Rather than be satisfied with merely posting selfies while under quarantine, these people actually went out and learned to do something handy and they can be proud of.
5. Holding onto hope amidst uncertainty – While the world dealt with the disease and death that this pandemic wrought, Filipinos once again turned to the Divine for strength. This has been the nature of Filipinos for centuries in the face of natural calamities and dictators so COVID-19 was no different. No matter how many apps the Filipino downloads or how many videos they watch, when push comes to shove, the Filipino’s belief in a higher power always emerges. Since there is no blueprint to follow to combat this disease, the Filipino’s faith is at the forefront once again.
Even as traffic on EDSA once again becomes unbearable and the businesses that survived begin to reawaken, there is a sense that we are entering a new era. The challenges we each face are real even though our pockets are less full. Yet we do our best to hold on to the belief that these are things beyond our control and we need to adapt to this changed world.
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