KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Whether we like it or not, we have to come to terms with the fact that many people are economically affected by the rampant Covid-19.

However, this cannot continue and each individual must accept the change and recover from this fall. Studies show that the acceptance of a change strongly depends on one’s mental block. Mental block refers to the state in which something influences the way an individual thinks and reacts.

In fact, the main influence of mental blocking is confidence, feelings and other things that formed early in life. These are in addition to the environmental influence and normalcy that will make it difficult to accept change.

The reality is that no one will stay the same before or after Covid. No individual, organization or country can escape this inevitable change. The degree of difficulty an individual has to go through during this pandemic will determine their tendency to make the change.

Studies show that the difficulty in accepting a change will be caused by the attitude of employees who are comfortable with the structure and the situation before Covid-19. If they are to move into the new normal, they have to go through a new situation and environment that requires readjustment or rehabilitation.

Change management studies show that limited organizational resources and leadership style also prevent the new normal from happening. Sources like insufficient raw materials, overly mechanistic and bureaucratic leadership style and low technological level become the factors that hinder the application of the new normal in an organization.

A lifestyle change like saving while you have it and saving for rainy days would be essential. Reality shows that the proverb ‘cut your coat according to your fabric’ is very appropriate to bear the savings and the stress due to the economy affected during the Covid-19.

Spending extravagantly will lead to various financial implications, especially growing debts. The situation is compounded if individuals easily swipe their credit or debit cards without thinking twice. Reckless spending habits will have a negative impact on oneself, as the saying goes, people who act out of lust or desires will suffer bad consequences.

Due to such extravagant spending, it is no surprise that the statistics of cases of debt-related stress (financial distress) are increasing every year. Stress occurs when a person’s needs or wants cannot be met by this limited capacity that we possess. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender or background.

Studies show that debt stress, if left unaddressed and mismanaged, will lead to insomnia, poor appetite, headaches, bad temper and depression.

The practice of improving social relations such as granting subsidies to the B40 group, the urban poor and employees receiving a daily wage must also continue. All this is important to ensure the reduction of the cost of living, the improvement of purchasing power and consumer savings.

At the entrepreneurial level, the recovery plan for the entrepreneurial sector and employers of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) is very necessary. It is high time that SME entrepreneurs take seriously the Industrial 4.0 component such as the use of automation, super data analytics and system integration in their operations.

It can reduce the dependence of SMEs on manual labor, helping to create new employment opportunities and contributing to national GDP. The shift to the new normal in public health cannot be taken lightly.

If people are recommended to take their health and hygiene really seriously, the treatment and the medical capacity of the authorities must be improved. Apart from this, the occupational safety and health function in the organization needs to be strengthened.

Strict occupational health and safety procedures must be able to revive the confidence of human resources to improve social relations at work. Post-Covid-19 will also bring a new normal to the even wider digitization of businesses and services.

The digital platform should be improved, advanced and easily available earlier so that daily affairs such as teaching and learning process in educational institutions, organization’s professional affairs and food sales and essential items are not put on hold. The inclusive involvement of all sections of society and leaders is key to making change a new normal of the post-Covid way of life.

A more organic and open channel of communication is needed so that each individual knows the reality of the need to change. Ongoing communication and involvement will create honesty that will build trust. Through this commitment, trust in the endemic era will be successfully formed and implemented.

Other than that, the society must possess reasonable intelligence and openness to help them accept this new change. This objective can be achieved through the continuous process of developing human capital through training, education and individual growth.

Human aspects such as the skills, perceptions and hopes of individuals who possess the continuity of change must be emphasized so that each individual has a broad perspective on the need for change. Through the learning process in human capital development, individuals will be more positive and ready to accept change.

Dealing with the endemic requires all parties to take concrete and comprehensive rehabilitation measures in various areas of life. As individuals, we cannot place everything on the shoulders of every leader and manager. Indeed, no one is exempt from this new normal, and everyone must leave behind the current normal and increase their own capacity to face the set of realities that are even more difficult.

It may be perceived as difficult now, but remember that it will be a new normal when everyone is ready to practice it and adopt an open mind.

  • The author is a professor and dean of the Graduate School of Business at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. The paper is a member of Asia News Network, media partner of the Straits Times, an alliance of 23 news media titles.