The week’s winners, losers and newsmakers.

 

Original Source: adage.com

The pandemic has had a massive impact on many things—our daily and work routines, hygiene habits, the way we socialize, shop, and behave in public, our plans as well as those of many businesses and governments, and a slew of many other things.

Many of us have grown accustomed to the way the world has changed, but are also looking forward to the time when things will go back to normal. Alas, not everything will remain the way it has been because of how drastically the coronavirus has changed the world and the way it used to work.

So, it does seem appropriate to wonder what has been changed forever. Reddit user u/Cuish has recently asked that very question—what will never be the same again once the pandemic is over?—and Reddit delivered over 17,000 responses.

Bored Panda invites you to read through some of the best and most thought-provoking answers to the question. Scroll down to read through them and make sure to comment and vote on the ones you liked the most.

#1My marriage.

My wife and I had to work from home together (separate jobs) from March until September when she had to go back to the office. I am still working from home. During this time, we became increasingly closer. I have heard so many stories of marital problems being caused by Covid. I literally miss my wife everyday she has to go to work.

I meet her at the door like a fucking puppy. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sometimes forced proximity does too.

Image credits: level 1 quimbykimbleton

#2Hopefully your boss will finally admit that all his dumb meetings actually could have been emails all along.

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#3The phrase “avoid it like the plague” – turns out people don’t do that.

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#4A massive amount of people now know they can work from home.

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#5Time spent with my kids.

Pre-pandemic I would leave the house 5 days a week at 6:15am to commute to the office, usually before anyone else in my house is awake. And I’d get home most evenings just in time to put them to bed. I’ll never go back to that. The past 8 months I’ve actually seen my boys grow up in front of my eyes and I get lots of quality time with them every day, even with work from home.

I know now what i was missing.

Image credits: darylcarolan

#6Blowing out the candles on your birthday cake

Image credits: level 1 Speakinmymind96

#7I will not take hugs for granted.

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#8Anytime you’re sick, you’ll wear a mask. I’m amazed at all the times I flew before when I had a cold, and didn’t wear a mask.

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#9Office life. My company has already announced that once we are allowed to go back, we’d only be going once or twice a week. It seems many realized how feasible working from home is.

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#10My dogs have expected me to basically be around all the time and rub their belly’s 24/7#11My definition of “personal space.”

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#12People coming into work sick to show how dedicated to work they are or saving those days for ‘mental health days’ meant ironically.

No Justin! Don’t come over to my desk with your coughing and runny nose telling me how bad you’re ‘roughing it’ at work to get some sympathy. “If you’re looking for sympathy, look under the dictionary between shit and syphilis”!#13As a current college student, I am in favor of keeping recorded lectures. It’s way more helpful than just having notes or slides.

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#14Shopping will continue to be mostly online and malls will likely die out faster than they were already going to.

Image credits: FrogginBullfish_

#15Most of the mom and pop stores in my town are gone forever. Some of these stores I grew up with, the nickle arcade, the tiny French bakery my aunt took us to when we got good grades, the only ramen shop open after 10PM, my favorite donut shop, the fancy British tea shop I never had a good date in but many London Fogs that were utterly perfect, the only dim sum place, the handmade mochi and tea shop, the only cigar shop in town to get fancy cigars…

I lament the death of all these tiny businesses I took for granted. I always thought they’d be around. Now my community is left with just brand named box stores, no more originality and flavor. Just closed skyrise buildings surrounded by a garishly lit Denny’s, Olive Garden, and Target.

Image credits: Not-A-SoggyBagel

#16Working in an office, particularly in Japan.

I live in Japan. Going to the office and spending all day here is a deep cultural tradition. So many companies here, even in the early COVID days, flat out publicly said “Hah, no, we will NEVER be doing that ‘work from home’ thing, sorry. That’s laughably naïve.”

Then, the country issued a “Declaration of National Urgency” (not an actual Emergency, as that would entitle the govt to be actually accountable to the livelihoods of the people, just a very strong arm public stance and shaming businesses into following suit).

And those traditional Japanese businesses saw what happened to their bottom lines when they no longer had to pay for electricity, heating/AC, cleaning, office equipment and maintenance, subsidized travel expenses to/from work, soft items like coffee and snacks, etc… and so many of them now are singing the praises of a “sensible work from home policy” and planning for even long-term work-from-home options.

Image credits: Diamond_Sutra

#17Health care workers going to work without a mask on. Definitely took for granted seeing my co workers smiling faces during my long shifts

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#18I’m hoping that this convinces the (American, pretty much everyone else has this figured out already) masses that healthcare is a human right and should not be tied to employment. The pandemic has shown that plenty of people lose their jobs through no fault of their own, despite their best efforts and that should not condemn them to either going without healthcare or accumulating crippling debt when they lose their health insurance coverage.#19Obliviousness to how many things I touched between hand washings

Image credits: level 1 snortingdietcoke

#20Literally this morning, our local paper reported that the government is aiming to achieve full internet coverage throughout Indonesia, reaching even the remote villages by 2024. We had a local meme as our boomer minister said a few years back something in the line of “Why do we need strong internet access?” It took the poor stealing smartphones for the sole purpose of letting their kids attend online classes to convince them. So the answer to the question is: some boomers’ view on the value of internet accessability.#21My waistline

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#22Childhood development theories – we now have an entire group of children who have missed what are regarded as developmental milestones. Learning to play cooperatively with others, learning to share, empathy building, etc. It will be very interesting to see the research coming out over the next decade or so#23As a nursing assistant… I will be forever oh so hesitant to get near someone (particularly the elderly who like to cough directly at you) without my eye-shield and mask.

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#24They’ll probably leave the plexiglass things up. That’s probably it.#25Drinking fountains.

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#26Hopefully frequent handwashings will become the norm. And hand sanitizers in shops, restaurants and public spaces.

As someone who refuses to touch food if I haven’t washed my hands (I am emetophobic, I’m terrified of the stomach flu), this endless supply everywhere I go is really nice. And people who usually don’t care about washing their hands do it more often!#27Having been the funeral organist for numerous pandemic-caused deaths:

I can bear first-hand witness to the sad fact that the families and friends of the departed brought to their death by COVID-19 will never be the same.#28Food delivery just being dropped off on your doorstep. Remember when you had to go outside and make EYE CONTACT like some kind of PERSON?! No more, my friends. Just leave it outside and I’ll get it when I’m ready. No more scrambling to find pants when you’re half baked and hungry…#29It’s annoying how (seemingly) quickly my life went from talking about where we wanted to buy a house to discussing the possibility of moving back in with my parents for a while.

RIP live music career, you will be missed.#30I am afraid that a lot of karaokes and spas in our country will go out of business.#31Standing next to someone after they sneeze#32Movies, unfortunately. Cinema specifically. I’m sure a lot of production companies will take enormous losses or possibly file bankruptcy as no one is paying to go see movies anymore. The other issue being that no one can really make movies at the moment either. Travel bans all over, logistic issues, actors not able to be within close proximity to one another, and then all the post-production work that, for the most part can’t be done from home. Little to no support for creative arts jobs from governments around the globe. Artists encouraged to retrain in other sectors.#33Dating is going to get even more app related which isnt good for most people honestly. Especially if people work at home more and dont go out for entertainment.#34My attitude towards my entertainment backlog. Previously I used to look at my PlayStation library or my Netflix list and think “If I just had a few weeks off,I could make a serious dent”

I’ve had more then a few weeks off and my backlog seems if anything more endless,I’ll probably be in the retirement home with that little voice in the back of my head going “Peaky Blinders is meant to be good,should get on that”#35Fewer weddings, more elopements.#36I have the impression that people has shown their worst part and this will have consequences for long time#37People actually knowing what 6ft looks like. Seriously, everyone’s estimations of 6ft distance have been just gradually decreasing and decreasing to a point where most people are hanging out 3ft away and thinking it’s 6#38Cruise Ships… dubious that industry will come out the other side without radical changes#39Snow days (for school)#40Video games. They feel like they did when I was a teenager again. Usually I feel guilty that I’m not doing something more productive, but right now I could care less about spending a whole weekend doing almost nothing but playing video games.

Original Source: boredpanda.com

In India, COVID-19 efforts can be combined with tuberculosis prevention help defeat both illnesses. Photo: Shubhangee Vyas
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With COVID-19, our lives are no longer the same. The pandemic has overshadowed other health issues and reversed the progress made over decades in our fight against other diseases, including tuberculosis (TB). In India, despite sustained and aggressive nation-wide interventions, this deadly disease continues to haunt the population with one of the world’s highest TB infection rates. 

Under the National TB Elimination Program, the country has successfully treated over 20 million patients since 1997. Efforts have been afoot to further reduce the TB burden, but the COVID-19 pandemic has created serious obstacles.

However, rather than being an obstacle, the pandemic should be seen as an opportunity to simultaneously combat COVID-19 and TB, in order to avert millions of deaths.

The respiratory route is the primary mode of transmission for both infections. Interrupting it will stop the spread of both.  In addition, global strategies to control COVID-19 and TB have common key elements: early detection, diagnosis, contact tracing, and case management. Both ailments also require a whole-of-society approach and active community engagement for implementing simple, doable, evidence-based and affordable non-pharmaceutical interventions.  

The National TB Elimination Program is a good place to start this process in India. It has demonstrated the strong involvement of civil society and community leadership in prevention and management of TB. This can be used to curb the spread of COVID-19 through community outreach that seeks to reduce close contact and promote use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. respiratory hygiene) in communities, public transport and overcrowded houses.

The program has also been instrumental in finding active TB cases. This can be expanded to include COVID-19 by strengthening the surveillance for influenza-like illness. The unification of surveillance activity for communicable diseases with similar modes of transmission is prudent, efficient, productive, and cost-effective.

This success can also be attributed to the involvement/engagement of the private sector, including use of the TB notification and patient management system ‘NIKSHAY.’ This IT-based platform can be strengthened to integrating notifications and responses to COVID-19. The strategies for COVID-19 can be synchronized with TB’s four strategic pillars of “Detect – Treat – Prevent – Build.”

India has scaled up diagnostic facilities by making highly effective tests available throughout the country. This has helped to make sure more people are diagnosed, receive proper medical treatment and thus reduce transmission of infection.

One of these tests, the cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test, is rapid, highly sensitive, specific, and also detects resistance against recommended antituberculosis drugs. This system has also been extensively used during the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the possibility of cross-use and integration of this system for diagnosis of other infectious diseases. With minor modifications it has the potential to become an affordable and reliable diagnostic aid across the spectrum of infectious diseases.

The pandemic should be seen as an opportunity to simultaneously combat COVID-19 and TB, in order to avert millions of deaths.

The other, TrueNat®, is a chip-based, portable reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine that is the fastest available test for COVID-19. It also has the potential to become an important diagnostic tool for multiple infectious diseases.

These tests can be made more effective by strengthening diagnostic outreach in the community with well-defined referral mechanisms. 

Using the same facilities for testing TB and COVID-19, with possible expansion and strengthening, can help in successful reductions of both diseases.  India has, in a remarkably short period of 6 months, scaled testing capacity for COVID-19 from the initial 15 testing laboratories to more than 1750 labs across the country. TB detection services can benefit immensely from this feasible, affordable and quality service network-based delivery model.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Tuberculosis Free India Campaign (TB Mukt Bharat), presenting his vision to eliminate TB from India by 2025. Similar leadership has been shown in managing the pandemic. India even allocated about $10 million to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for fighting the pandemic in the neighboring countries in South Asia. The pandemic response can benefit from adopting best practices in India’s TB program, including telemedicine, doorstep delivery of drugs, insurance coverage, improved logistics, private sector partnerships and other benefits to community and frontline health workers.

The COVID-19 response has put the focus on public health interventions like social distancing, use of masks, cough etiquette, and hand hygiene. Continuing these steps will help in preventing new infections of TB as well. In the long term, strengthening efforts on providing properly ventilated houses to the poor contributes to the prevention of all respiratory infections. Initiatives such as the 30-second coronavirus mobile phone ring tone produced in India can be also be used to promote control of TB and other infectious diseases.

Managing the COVID-19 outbreak can help end tuberculosis in India in other ways as well. A major challenge in TB elimination continues to be “missing cases”. Sustained awareness amongst communities on various facets of TB – including the lethal consequences of late diagnosis and incomplete treatment of TB, will encourage people to seek health services more quickly. A strong network of diagnostic laboratories – on the pattern of COVID-19 labs, is needed to confirm the diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment.

Lessons learnt from pandemic should also include integrated training on related ailments. The disease dynamics and management of TB and COVID–19 can be communicated simultaneously to medical professionals and the public to ensure uniformity and better compliance. Other diseases can also be easily integrated into these training modules or platforms for broader upgrading of skills and efficient use of training resources.

Across the world, enormous technical and financial resources are being invested into fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these are fortifying existing public health services and skills in managing cases and implementing effective measures for infection prevention and control. It will be prudent to sustain these achievements and use them to provide a swift response to future epidemics or pandemics as well as improved health services, especially those pertaining to respiratory infections.

covid, covid-19, coronavirus, novel coronavirus, corona virus, covid-19 response, communicable diseases, infectious diseases, emergency response, health response, outbreak, pandemic, covid-19 prevention, India, tuberculosis, TB, respiratory illnessSonalini KhetrapalSungsup RaPatrick L. OseweCountries: IndiaArticle

Original Source: blogs.adb.org

The coronavirus outbreak has not only brought about a global health threat but is also crippling the economy. Several organisations, factories, and businesses are unable to operate normally, forced to cut down their costs by deducting salaries and/or reducing their employee strength. 

According to media reports, 27 million workers within 20-30 lost their jobs in April 2020 amidst national lockdown. 

Paytm job

Paytm is looking to hire more than 1,000 tech and non-tech roles and 50 key senior-level hires. [Image Credit: Shutterstock]

Also ReadHiring in India picks up pace during April to June: LinkedIn

However, Noida-based fintech unicorn Paytm is looking to hire people for 1,000 positions within the next two to three months. Apart from this, the company is also looking to bring in over 50 key senior-level hires for vice president and above positions for tech and business roles.

Speaking with YourStory, Rohit Thakur, Chief Human Resource Officer, Paytm, says, “The ongoing global pandemic has not impacted our hiring plans and we have continued with our interviews, as well as inductions of new joinees through WFH mode even during the lockdown. We believe the hiring process would be complete in the next two to three months.”Growth and expansion amidst crisis

According to Rohit, Paytm and its other group businesses — lending, insurance, wealth management, and offline payments — have been expanding operations, creating the need to hire people for both tech and non-tech roles. 

“This team expansion would play an essential role in launching innovative financial services and technology to fuel Paytm’s growth journey and digitally serve the residents of the country in the troubled times of COVID 2019,” he adds. 

Paytm is not only building solutions to survive and sustain its business amidst the pandemic but is also aiming to empower the citizens to deal with the crisis. Riding on the accelerated digitisation wave, the fintech unicorn claims to have grown by 35 percent combining offline and online transactions, while its Gross Transaction Value (GTV) has grown by 50 percent over the last few months. 

The company’s offline merchant transactions and P2P transactions have increased by 122 percent and 50 percent, respectively amidst the pandemic situation. 

The fear of contacting COVID-19 through currency notes has forced people to shift to online transactions. Transactions through Paytm Payments Gateway have also increased, especially for gaming, OTT, and essential services. 

Paytm, jobs, hiring

Paytm and its other group businesses have been expanding operations thus creating the need to hire people. [Image Credit: Shutterstock]

Also ReadHow Paytm’s Rs 250 Cr ESOP policy will help the fintech giant drive growthEnsuring wellbeing, financial security of employees

To ensure the physical and mental wellbeing and financial security of the employees, the fintech unicorn made efforts to not opt for salary cuts or layoffs. This also ensured that employees gave their undivided attention towards innovating new solutions rather than worrying about their jobs.

“We have cut down on a lot of overhead costs, streamlined our operations and real estate, and managed to save on resources in other areas. We have ensured that all levels and categories of staff remain safe, motivated, and energised as earlier with minimal impact,” says Rohit.

The company is giving up leases of 19 facilities across the country that can help Paytm save over Rs 40 crore yearly in rent, maintenance, and other operating expenses. According to Paytm, this money will be utilised for tech development, employee, and other initiatives. 

Further, to maintain the productivity of the employees, senior managers and team leads try to stay connected with teammates and support them in completing their daily tasks. The company has also joined hands with professionals to organise mental health webinars, online yoga classes, and other workshops to ensure the health of its employees.

“Every week our founder [Vijay Shekhar Sharma] addresses a video-townhall meet with a large number of colleagues to keep everyone informed about all the latest developments in the company. Throughout the week, the HR touches base with various teams to hear out their concerns and address any work-related issues that they might have,” he adds.

When asked about the appraisal plans, Rohit reveals that Paytm is looking to opt for an ESOP-based appraisal plan, which will be applicable for all the new joinees and existing employees, who were given ESOPs 2019 onwards. This new process has been linked with individual goals, which are reviewed and approved by the HoD or business head.

“Linking it to the performance of our colleagues helps us get the best out of them and also sets the benchmark for goal setting. We follow a point-based performance structure that is transparent and done purely on the basis of achieving the set goals and targets. The higher the points scored in each assessment, the more percentage of ESOPs the employee gets allocated,” he says.

New business opportunities 

Paytm has launched several new products and services such as Paytm Postpaid, Scan to Order, contactless ticketing service, COVID-19 insurance, Recharge Saathi programme, credit shell for flight tickets, and free cancellation of bus tickets, among others. 

“Early on, we understood that social distancing norms and safety measures would have a lasting impact on the movement of migrant workers across the country. Things that they were able to do earlier, including standing in a queue to pay utility bills, going for shopping, and even touching currency notes would become difficult. Keeping all these things in mind, our team worked dedicatedly to revamp the Paytm app UI with a ‘Stay at home essential payments’ section to include Mobile and DTH Recharge, electricity, water, gas, credit card, and insurance premium payment among others,” Rohit says.

This offering led to over 50 percent increase in mobile recharges, 60 percent increase in DTH payments, and over 200 percent increase in broadband bill payments, claims the company.

To cater to the growing need for contactless services, the fintech unicorn launched the ‘Scan to Order’ feature to promote safe dining and hygienic food ordering experience. It also developed a unique QR to be displayed at restaurants, which can be scanned by users to browse the menu and place orders using their mobile phones. 

Paytm also launched a contactless ticketing service for state-run local transport buses, which will benefit state transport corporations such as DTC, BEST, Punjab Roadways, CTU, OSRTC, and KSRTC, among others.

“We are already in talks with 20 state transport departments to ensure that citizens are able to travel safely within cities following all social distancing norms. We are targeting to enable a contactless ticket-buying experience in over 20,000 state-run busses in the first phase of going live with this service,” adds Rohit.

He adds that a deep understanding of user needs, along with the capability to develop innovative solutions helped the company find new opportunities during these turbulent times.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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Original Source: yourstory.com

Early retirement packages are being offered to more employees as a result of coronavirus, but workers need to negotiate the best packages carefully, including health insurance and other non-financial benefits.

Original Source: cnbc.com