The COVID-19 outbreak has compelled us to reevaluate and introspect a lot of things in life.
It has hit the 'pause' button in our busy, and often-aimless everyday personal and professional lives. Maybe we shall all overcome the crisis soon and resume our everyday lives, but it is never going to be the same as before. The Maslow's Hierarchy stands tall as we reassess our needs from before the COVID-19 outbreak, during and after. Let's have a look.
Physiological needs have transformed from consuming fast food and seeking luxury apartments to basic fruits and vegetables as well as sanitizers and disinfectants. Remember how you used to envy those upscale houses, thinking your own house just wasn't good enough? Home is the safest haven on earth now, no matter how small or basic it is.
Security needs have changed character as well, with fixed deposits, insurance making the cut for several people now. The world was beginning to invest big in Bitcoin. Individuals were scouting for premium investment alternatives. The outbreak has suddenly coerced people to go back to traditional investments, savings and increase focus on health insurance. Think about it, face masks have become more valuable as a security tool than CCTV cameras today.
Pubbing, frequenting restaurants and movie theaters have suddenly become a distant dream. While Netflix and Hostar endeavor to provide some solace, it just isn't the same. Today, social needs have translated into caring for family, participating in household chores, caring for an elderly neighbor or caring for pets. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp continue to reign supreme in helping people maintain contact with people. We've been 'busy' all the time, not having the time to pick calls or overlooking messages; now would probably be a great time to rekindle those ties of friendship with those school friends with whom you've lost contact.
This one's tricky. While esteem needs can be intrinsic as well as extrinsic, the latter is what people usually participated in the rat race for. That luxury smartwatch, premium car and jewelry is no longer going to help people maintain esteem today. Instead, donating to the PM CARES Fund, backing NGOs or going down to the grassroots level to help feed the poor is the new avenue to highlight one's external ego needs. Motivational speakers are also doing a great job by delivering content to help arrest negative thoughts and depression among people. Today's esteem need would be to take that mobile and instead of playing PUBG, dedicate a video (TikTok, if you must) saluting the doctors who are fighting a colossal battle.
With people running frantically after money and aiming for more and more in life, the painting you always wanted to make remained incomplete, the novel you always wanted to read gathered dust. Today is a massive opportunity to pursue an online course and strengthen your resume; today is a great opportunity to sing a song you've always wanted to sing. That mystery novel you wanted to write, but couldn't find the time for, calls you today. These are what we've all put off for later. This opportunity to fulfill your self-actualization needs is possibly the most unique you'd ever come across.
So, what do you think? By the way, WiFi continues to occupy its long-held status as a basic need. Forget about the impending economic crisis, lets look at this from the socio-cultural lens. Is the COVID-19 outbreak an opportunity for us to reassess our needs?
Shaunak is an Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management, St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Kolkata. He is an experienced research scholar with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing Management from St. Xavier's College.