Re-Evaluating Our Way of Life – ‘Sustainable Living’

Re-Evaluating Our Way of Life – ‘Sustainable Living’

The pandemic has forced us to revisit the social and economic paradigms that were often considered to be given in the past years. Indeed, the Covid 19 has through enforced isolation has not only triggered economic recession, but also social recession; as it has made each of us – our social strata notwithstanding - confront firsthand the issue of ‘personal safety and thrust upon each of us the challenge of living in an uncertain world’.

A closer look at the ‘pandemic battle outcomes’

Outcome 1: The pandemic has led many of us to adopt ‘social distancing.’ However, implicit in this decision is the ‘assumption that others must be viewed with suspicion’ and that we are living in a world where no one is safe. This uncertainty and sense of suspicion has in turn fueled a delta moment wherein the traditional model of rational decision-making (system 2 thinking) is being revisited through the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Personal safety and security have long been ignored by marketeers as the ultimate brand payoff; in favor of the higher order goals of self-esteem and self-actualization. However, given the immense the immense loss of lives and livelihood, any brand that can cue and provide the basic benefits of ‘safety and security’ should do well.  

Outcome 2: While the popular discourse on the lessons remains focused on handling of Covid; the fact that the pandemic has precipitated the adoption of technology by the even the most disinclined has been missed by many.

  Exhibit 1: Key Search Results for ‘Lessons from Covid ’   Select an Image

  Exhibit 1: Key Search Results for ‘Lessons from Covid ’ Select an Image

Outcome 3:   The pandemic has resulted in increased willingness to explore ‘work from home’. This is likely to impact many things including the war for talent and gender equality as it presents ‘women’ the chance to balance home and work. Hopefully, this will help facilitate gender equality a key Sustainability Development Goal. This in the medium term will also impact design of workspaces. However, with the rise of flexible working and need for ‘safe team engagement and collaboration’ this should impact current office spaces design towards more sustainable outcomes. For example, most offices still are inspired by the industrial revolution – this is however, likely to change given the new reality. However, suitable strategy to mitigate the long-term impact of ‘work from home’ on culture and motivation – would need to be designed.

One also hopes that the one key delta outcome of this pandemic in the long term would be to fuel the demand for sustainable products and solutions as a part of daily living; However, sustainable living continues to be a niche and is yet to enter to enter popular discourse. This is because habit formation is a tricky thing and for it to truly happen institutional changes that serve as commitment devices are critical. Hopefully, leaders will realize the importance of promoting sustainable choices to ensure fewer such pandemics and a better response in the future.