By Mfonobong Inyang
The global pandemic has become the focal point of many nations in the world and has rightly been declared as an ‘invisible enemy’ because we are literally at war. Talking about wars, since World War II, there has been nothing like this – an occurrence that has caused the recalibration of human existence. Disruption is happening on a scale that is unprecedented and, at best, only imagined.
Here in Nigeria, most state governors have already shut their borders. But following the president’s declaration of a shutdown in the political capital – Abuja, the commercial capital – Lagos and her neighbouring state of Ogun, takes a whole new dimension for households and businesses.
People, businesses and countries are all having to make huge adjustments. Our definition of ‘normal’ is changing in real-time. We are finding out more creative and low-risk ways of carrying on with our lives. We are practically living in uncharted territory; nothing like our nascent civilization has experienced before – almost apocalyptic! However, there are certain things we can do to ease the inconvenience.
As the isolation bites harder, tech offers options:
For some people, this is not news. Many tech-savvy creatives and tech-enabled businesses have this option in their playbook. However, given the recent restrictions on mass gatherings, this system of work has been on the uptick. So for individuals and companies, if your mode of operation permits remote working, please, by all means, apply it. Here are a few tools to aid that:
- Emails: Good old emails. Most unnecessary physical meetings happen because both parties are too lazy to document their thoughts in written form. Details are everything with emails.
- Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts/Slack: You want to have meetings with real-time, audio-visual communication? Then use any of these apps. They are easy to install and use. As long as the other party has the same app on their device – you’re good to go!
- WhatsApp: Yes WhatsApp! Thank goodness we now have WhatsApp for Business these days. This popular app isn’t just for mindless chatting, group banter, sharing viral videos, cute emojis and those notorious forwarded messages that are ‘sent as received’. You can weaponize your app for economic purposes.
- Texts and Phone Calls: You just need ample call credit and data bundles. You can get work done and close deals by effectively communicating over the phone. Just stick to business hours and follow basic etiquette and you will be alright.
This is one of the many ways to ‘export’ events to the screens of your audiences without them having to be physically present. Religious services, concerts, weddings, birthday parties can be streamed live. Nobody wants to be at any crowded place right now. Social distancing is the new cool.
Digital Products and Services
This is the time for creatives to wake up and smell the coffee. Put your energies into creating digital products like CDs, DVDs, podcasts, songs, audiobooks, e-books, etc. People now have more screen time and will readily consume such. The same goes for services like writing, graphic designing, web development, tutorials, webinars, coaching, etc.
Following the closure of schools to further halt the possibility of community spread of the virus, most institutions have resorted to sending lessons to students online in modules. The demand for online courses have also surged in recent times as the feasibility of classroom learning further drifts into improbability. The Internet is notorious for taking down walls and encouraging a borderless world – education is no exception.
There is no better time than now to put yourself or your business out there. Just as I stated earlier, more people are now using their smartphones and laptops more than ever before. Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages should be popping with fresh content. Your website should regularly be updated with information that people may find relevant. Constantly plug your offerings whilst also taking it upon yourself to educate your audience on healthy living in these very interesting times.
Markets and malls are usually crowded, but that has reduced now that people are becoming more averse to populated places. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the virus can also be spread by currency notes. So for individuals, you might want to engage more in e-commerce than the traditional mode of shopping. Companies should adopt FinTech solutions to sales so people can use their platforms with ease.
Advertise! Advertise!! Advertise!!!
On the radio, television and yes, on great platforms like BellaNaija! People are constantly listening, watching and reading and generally looking out for updates on this pandemic. Your advertisement will be greeted by more eyeballs. So make that move right now, baby!
Whilst we wait for the medical tech experts to come up with a vaccine, let’s maintain top hygiene as advised by the WHO, the NCDC and other relevant agencies whose message anchor on flattening the curve. On a fun note, if you have more free time on your hands, you can participate in the #FlipTheSwitch Challenge or #StayAtHome Challenge.
The disruption and inconvenience from the restricted movement are real but in the words of the great Thanos, “this is a small price to pay for salvation!” Tough times don’t last but tough people do.
This, too, shall pass!