The Asian Voice

Managing change post-Covid: Sin Chew Daily contributor

The writer says endemic Covid-19 necessitates all parties to take rehabilitative steps in a concrete and comprehensive way in various aspects of life.

People wait before crossing a road in front of a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur on June 2, 2022.


KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Whether we like it or not, we have to accept the fact that a lot of people are affected economically due to the plaguing Covid-19.

That said, this cannot continue and every individual must accept the change and rise from this fall. Studies show that the acceptance of a change heavily depends on one's mental block. Mental block refers to the state in which something influences the way an individual thinks and reacts.

In actuality, the main influence of mental block is confidence, feelings and other things that have been formed early on in life. These are added to the environmental influence and the normalcy that will make it difficult for one to accept change.

The reality is that no one will stay the same before or post-Covid. No individual, organisation or country can escape this inevitable change. The degree of difficulty that 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 employees' attitude that is comfortable with the structure and the situation before Covid-19. If they need to change to New Normal, they need to go through a new situation and environment that requires readjustment or re-adaptation.

Studies in change management show that limited organisational resources and leadership style also impede the New Normal from taking place. Sources like raw materials that are insufficient, too mechanistic and bureaucratic leadership style and low technology level become the impeding factors to the application of the New Normal in an organisation.

A change in lifestyle such as saving up while you have it and saving up for rainy days would be essential. The reality shows that the proverb 'cut your coat according to your cloth' is very suitable to support the savings and the stress due to the affected economy during Covid-19.

Spending extravagantly will invite various financial implications especially mounting debts. This is worsened if individuals easily swipe away their credit cards or debit cards without thinking twice. Careless spending patterns will give a negative impact to oneself, as the saying implies, people who act by lust or desires will suffer bad consequences.

Due to this extravagant spending, it is not surprising if the statistics for stress cases related to debts (financial distress) is on the increase every year. Stress happens when one's needs or desires cannot be fulfilled by this limited capacity that we possess. It can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

Studies show that the stress caused by debts, if let on and not handled properly, will lead one to experience insomnia, lack of appetite, headache, bad temperament and depression.

The practice of improving social relationships such as giving aids to the B40 group, urban poor and employees receiving daily wages must also continue. This is all important to ensure the reduction in the cost of living, the upgrading of consumers' purchasing power and savings.

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

It can reduce the dependency of SMEs to manual labour, helping to generate new job opportunities and contribute to the national GDP. The change towards New Normal in the public health sector cannot be taken lightly.

If the people are recommended to really seriously care for their health and hygiene, the treatment and medical capacity by the authorities must be improved. Other than that, the function of occupational safety and health in the organisation must be empowered.

The stringent occupational health and safety procedures should be able to revive the confidence of the human resource to improve social relationships at the workplace. Post Covid-19 will also bring new normal to the even wider digitisation of businesses and services.

The digital platform has to be improved, advanced and readily available earlier on so that everyday affairs like the teaching and learning process in education institutions, work affairs at the organisation, and the sales of food and items of necessity are not put on hold. The inclusive involvement of every layer of the society and leader is integral in making the change a new normal to the lifestyle post-Covid.

A communicative channel that is more organic and open is necessary so that every individual would know the real picture about the need to change. Continuous communication and involvement will create honesty that will form trust and confidence. Through this commitment, trust and confidence in the endemic era will be formed and implemented successfully.

Other than that, the society has to possess reasonable intellect and openness to help them accept this new change. This can be achieved through the continuous process of human capital development through training, education and individual expansion.

Humanity aspects such as skills, perceptions and hopes of individuals who possess the continuity from the change must be emphasised do that every individual has a wide perspective about the need to change. Through the learning process in the human capital development, individuals will be more positive and ready to accept change.

Facing endemic necessitates all parties to take some rehabilitative steps in a concrete and comprehensive way in various spectra of life. As an individual, we cannot place everything on the shoulders of every leader and manager. This is because no one is exempted from this New Normal, and everyone must leave behind the current normality and increase one's self-capability in facing the set of realities that is even more challenging.

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

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

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.