Impact of COVID-19 on the Indian Workforce

How Covid-19 Might Change Indian Feminist Narratives For Eternity

Increasing confirmed cases in India of Coronavirus had caused a drastic disruption in the lives of people. The economy is hit, and a slowdown has been expected. The lockdown has put the life in India to a standstill, and every industry is putting recruitment on hold or laying off workers and making decisions regarding pay cuts. The automotive and IT sectors are suffering the most, as there was a significant dependence on exports and imports. The economy is also being affected by the same, i.e., the supply irregularities due to modifications in international trade policies. We can look for a silver lining in this situation as the Indian industries might emerge as the major suppliers in the areas of pharmaceuticals and textiles. The significant impact is on the people running all these industries. The country is not only facing economic losses but also human resource losses. These are both physical and psychological. This is discussed further by dividing the workforce into three types – a) Daily wage workers, b) Normal Employees, c) Managers/Head of Departments/Companies.

The needs of different workers have been explained using Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory in this article it is assumed that the conditions stated in his theory hold true.

Daily wage workers and urban poor include the people working in the agricultural sector, construction sites, car washers in a typical scenario. But with progress in technologies and companies like Uber, Ola, Zomato, etc. coming up, the delivery boys, cab drivers etc. are also people who might earn a monthly income but are still in a job with little assurance of income. Then there are mechanics, vegetable vendors, etc. with no fixed payment as well. All of the above mentioned and many others have been left with no means to earn a livelihood after the lockdown was imposed to contain COVID-19’s spread in India. The closing hotels and restaurants and little movement on the streets have left many people devoid of income.

For these people, the main aim is to earn a livelihood and secure their income for tomorrow. Their needs can be related to the first and second need defined in the Malow’s need hierarchy, i.e., physiological and safety needs. These people have not moved up and do not crave recognition in the organization as such. Most of them are not even a part of any organization as well. These people will be affected the most since there can be three possible scenarios. First being that they might become too dependent on the government aid being provided to them during the lockdown period. Second, if their locus of control is external, they might end up being depressed and let the suffering take a toll on them. Third, if their locus of control is internal, they might strive to make their situation better after the lockdown period and prepare in advance for any future pandemic.

The people who will breed on government’s aid might become lethargic and lack the motivation to do work again. They will be forced to do work after the conditions normalize, and this will cause them to be dissatisfied because of their mindset of receiving without working. The people who have an external locus of control, which encompasses most of this population because poor people might not always give priority to mindset development, will suffer the most. They will keep blaming the authorities and the external conditions and will let the pandemic disrupt their lives. The people who have an internal locus of control might try to make the best of their current situation while planning for the future.

The normal workers are the ones working in the corporate world and are related to certain organizations and are financially stable. These workers are facing layoff and pay – cut tensions as almost every organization is trying to manage finances with the economy coming

down. Some organizations have decided to not take this path such as DLF limited, which did not take a pay – cut and is not even retrenching the workforce.

Companies outside India like Tesla has decided to do the opposite. It laid off all the non- essential workers till May 4 and even took a pay cut of 10%. Around 3,000 workers were also laid off by Sephora. In India, most of the companies and start-ups are following the same path. Techolution laid off 20 workers in Telangana. Acko, an online insurance firm, laid off 50 employees. Fareportal, a travel firm based in the US, cut off on 500 workers in India.

Bounce, a transportation network company, has decided to take 20-60% pay cuts. All these measures are being taken to ensure that the organizations have finances to run their business when the conditions normalize. Some companies are taking initiatives not to lay off workers and continue working from home, but it is also a challenge only around 5% of their employees have Wi-Fi at their homes.

The people working in these organizations can be classified into three types based on their needs. First are those who still are struggling to fulfil their safety needs in the Maslow need hierarchy. Second, are those who have affiliation and esteem needs that are to be satisfied, and the third category is of those people whose self-actualization needs are too satisfied.

A relation between locus of control and motivation level can be established as people who tend to struggle in fulfilling their safety needs are usually stuck at the external locus of control. Thus, such people will feel unmotivated and distressed during the period of lockdown as their need for security won’t be fulfilled due to the retrenchment process going on in many organizations.

People who require the feeling of belongingness and are out to fulfil their esteem needs might make use of this lockdown period if they have access to the required resources. There can be two categories in these people as well. Some might spend their time leisurely, but the ones with an internal locus of control will try to improve their skillset and use the time productively.

This is also a great opportunity for people who want to satisfy their need for self-actualization as now they can serve the community and do something helpful for society. Some professionals are doing it be it situational or be it out of their sense of duty, for example, the doctors, policeman, etc.

The people who are at managing positions in the organizations have different problems altogether. That set of the workforce is influenced by their type of commitment towards their organization. The people who have an affective commitment towards the firm they work with will be the people who will help these firms to recover after the lockdown. They will be forced to think creatively so that they can sustain their finances and help the company grow. A few examples of such people are Deep Kalra and Rajesh Magow the founders of MakeMyTrip have decided to take 100% pay cut and not affect the salaries of their employees.

Then some people have a normative or continuance commitment towards the organization and might not be willing to put in efforts to contribute to the organization. They would probably plan for their secure future and their savings.

Thus, COVID-19 won’t only be impacting the population physically, but it also has left so many people psychological affected. The organizations like Sephora, are also trying to help their workers by assuring that once the conditions normalize, they might consider taking the laid-off workers back. Bridged is also taking initiatives to help employees during this time of self-isolation by making a service available so that people can talk to someone and share their problems.

There is a strong need to balance out the focus on running the organizations and taking care of the employees. Similar initiatives are required to focus and develop the workforce in India because of it one of the things the country will rely on reviving the economy after the pandemic ends.

Some measures that the organizations can take are that they can host free webinars for their employees and even for the laid-off workers to give an insight into the skills that would be required in the coming times.

There can also be awareness spread about how to take care of their mental health along with physical health. Also, there is a need to let the population staying at home right now know how essential it is to develop their skills. The silver lining in this tough situation is that we might end up with a more skilled workforce. This is because people might choose not to get into jobs for some time and pursue higher education.

The main crux of the situation is that it is necessary to address their needs keeping in mind the feasibility aspect as well because that is the essence of organizational behaviour. Human resource cannot be ignored totally to sustain organizations because even if the companies manage to use finances wisely, there would still be a need for employees to ensure future success.

Why read ‘Predictably Irrational’?

Why there will never be a cure for irrationality

In this meticulously researched work from acclaimed Professor Dan Ariely, the author dives into the chasm of human psyche and carefully articulates even the most trivial archetypal decisions that we consciously and unconsciously make in our lives. The book starts off with the author describing a personal tragedy where an explosion left 70 percent of his body with third degree burns that left him immobilized. The victim was then subjected to an excruciating three-year period of hospitalisation and excessive dependency on nurses. The trivial yet significant observation of the methods that were used to remove burn bandages in a way that minimises the amount of misery inflicted upon the victims, led the author to further his research on psychology and behavioural economics.

 In each chapter, the author describes the general decision making rigamarole that our psyche seems to follow and then he backs these claims with ground-breaking experiments and logic. The first part of the book concentrates on how we have a comparison bias while we evaluate, judge or make decisions. As an ambitious college student- I, unfortunately, can relate to this. An 8.5 CGPA seems trivial if it’s surrounded by a dozen 9 CGPA’s. This phenomenon of viewing things relatively has been analysed and understood by the market forces. Salesmen and prominent websites prey on this psychological bias to make profits.

I have always wondered how economists arrive at accurate supply and demand statistics and about the factors that should be taken into consideration. The author does a marvellous job in explaining how psychological factors play a major role in the economic decisions made by us and why apart from external factors (price, income etc), psychological factors should be also taken into consideration while predicting market fluctuations or any data of that sort. One of the most interesting and shocking part of the book was the “cost of zero cost” experiment. Apparently, people would rather receive a 10$ gift card for free than paying 7$ for a 20$ gift card. The author personally conducts this experiment at a mall in Boston. The explanation for this irrational phenomenon is conveyed coherently.

The author then shifts focus to some intricate and personal areas of decision making. He addresses questions such as “Why we can’t we make ourselves do what we want to do?” and “why we overvalue what we have?” and then presents the observations of his experiments.

Throughout the book, the reader is asked perplexing questions about various decisions they make which forces them to scratch their heads, following which the rational and irrational answers (observations) are conveyed in a sound and profound manner. I felt that one of the most interesting and perspective-changing parts of the book was when the author accentuates the effects of cost on the psychological and physiological forces of our body. The knowledge of the cost of a commodity shapes our psychological perception towards it- which results in a manipulative physiological response. The author elegantly unravels the reason why a 50-Cent Aspirin can do what a penny’s worth of Aspirin can’t in an experiment he conducts.

In the last part of the book, the author attempts to undertake the courageous journey of deciphering the context of the human character. He tries to analyse the human quality of honesty- What is honesty? Why are people dishonest? What can we do about it? – These are some of the questions he attempts to address. The relevance of these questions and its importance is underestimated in the financial sector. 600 Billion dollars’ worth of thefts and frauds are committed every year in various organisations, claims the author. Furthermore, the reader is clued in about the ever interesting and mind-boggling realm of behavioural economics- The hidden forces that shape our decisions are acutely outlined.

Overall the book is an amalgamation of rigorous research, profound wisdom, intricate questions, ground-breaking experiments, astounding observations and a tinge of humour as only Professor Ariely can provide. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in human psychology and behavioural sciences.

Quarantine ‘n Chill

Quarantine and Chill — Stay Strong

In the modern world, the target audience captivated by the introduction of web series in my opinion is nothing but stupendous.

The indulgement has reached a point where people expect more from the storyline and climaxes than they do from the government or what’s happening around the world which sure sounds vague but is the harsh reality and I would on no uncertain terms deny my participation in it.

 On the contrary, web series do provide us with an array of genres to learn and get entertained from and are a glorious source of information if one wishes to perceive it that way. In the present day with the spread of the pandemic and the concept of “social distancing” , which sure is a blessing in disguise for our worthy couch potatoes and the busy youth.

 It is giving them the time they need to catch up, relax and binge watch their favourite web series leading to off the charts increase in the indulgence of the same but now enough of the intellectual aspects of it and let’s get to the part we all enjoy.

So embrace yourselves while I take you on a ride with me exploring the top 5 web series that in my perception will keep you on the edge of your seats and will not disappoint. Being a web series fanatic myself, the series I would like to inaugurate this journey with is none other than the classic,

  • SHERLOCK
sherlock screenshots Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

“I’m not a psychopath, I’m a highly functioning sociopath”

One of the most beloved lines of the British crime series which is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books comprising of detective stories named as “Sherlock Holmes” originally .The series is based around Sherlock, a man with extraordinary observatory skills which is played by Benedict Cumberbatch who is then accompanied by his roommate Dr. John H. Watson who recently moved in at 221 B Baker Street played by Martin Freeman.

They work as a team to solve twisted crimes as “consulting detectives” in modern day London. Although most people were suspicious of Holmes at first, but over time his exceptional intellect and bold powers of observation as mentioned above persuade them of his value.

 Dr. Watson who used to blog about the adventures and cases they have been to and witnessed, lead to Holmes becoming a reluctant celebrity with the media reporting on his cases and eccentric personal life. Both the ordinary civilians and the British Government including his sibling Mycroft Holmes would ask for his help.

The series depicts variety of crimes and perpetrators, conflict with nemesis Jim Moriarty who is another intellectually supreme fellow is recurring feature.

Now coming to my opinion and why I would like to suggest this to you, the readers, is because the genre being crime, it keeps you on your feet the entire turn with the suspense and the plot twists which I personally enjoy making the episode “The Abominable Bride” my favourite so I recommend this show to each and every one of you out there hope you enjoy.

  • Black Mirror
Black Mirror' Screen Capture - - Imgur

“So many choices, you end up not knowing which one you want”

Once again we have with us a series that will leave you flabbergasted with its jaw dropping premise and unusual yet true discoveries and logics.

It is a British Sci-Fi anthology series created by Charlie Brooker. It examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of the newly discovered technologies .The episodes are usually set in an alternative present or the past or the coming future and sure does demand your maximum indulgence.

The thing that intrigues me the most and keeps me occupied is the phenomenal representation of the things that we face in daily life but with a totally different perception and is a show worth your time and brains.

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Agents of SHIELD Recap: 'Among Us Hide ...' | The Mary Sue

“Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.”

One of the finest picks for MCU enthusiasts as it reveals and answers most of the questions that organically arise in an individual’s mind after watching the movies and reading the comics and yet feeling like they have not been answered.

S.H.I.E.L.D ,a peacekeeping and spy organisation in a world of superheroes is led by none other than Phil Collins who is dead as we know from the previous movies making it more interesting on how is he still the leader ?Well to answer that you have to be a part of this show.

The entire series is dedicated to how a small bunch of trained agents fight injustice opposed by alien terrorist organisations such as Hydra, I’m sure the MCU fans know what I’m talking about and witness way too many hurdles in their way yet come out victorious with their team work and the training that they behold.

All I can say is it is a must watch for you Marvel fanatics out there trust me you will not be disappointed instead feel like all your questions have been answered.

  • Marlon
Marlon Wayans works hard for laughs in new sitcom 'Marlon ...

“If you are going to black up, they are going to back up”

An ultimate test for your tickle bones as I can bet money on the fact that you will crack up at every joke made not because it’s just funny but because it’s really smart and witty along with being funny.

It’s a story of a divorced couple who have two kids and are still more like best friends than ex husband and wife while the ex husband being a very established comedian in real life, Marlon Wayne is a youtuber and has an elite sense of humour and the entire series revolve around them being there for their kids incorporated with fun little feuds with one another and the other characters in the show.

In totality it is a light hearted yet superiorly funny show and I give it a solid 10/10 in the genre of comedy.

  • The Mentalist
7.13 White Orchids - TheMentalist713 0204 - The Mentalist ...

“My memory is a mighty fortress, Lisbon, from which no fact ever escapes once committed”

Another American drama thriller series which will leave you in a state of shock once the story starts taking its turns.

Patrick Jane, an independent consultant for the CBI formerly considered as a “psychic” uses his extra ordinary skill sets of observation and   contemplation of the body language and the minute details to help the CBI solve numerous cases and is doing that in return to gain help from the CBI to catch his forever nemesis who goes by the name of Red John as he killed his daughter and wife in bright daylight and Patrick is out for seeking revenge.

Again a show I highly suggest if you are in the search of getting yourself amazed. With that we come to the end of the journey and I hope the suggestions made by me suit you and help you pass time in the current scenario of social distancing.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Supply chain of the Manufacturing sector

A roadmap for manufacturing: These five steps can power an ...

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11, 2020. Apart from the substantial deaths and chaos, Pandemics can have severe implications on the economic and social landscapes of the world. The manufacturing sectors of various countries have taken a huge hit as they are labour intensive, and the current pandemic situation has called for nation-wide lockdowns and several restrictions all over the world. This has caused stagnancy in operations conducted in numerous manufacturing plants.

Today, the world is more connected than ever due to incredible technologies and globalisation. Hence, disruption in just one of the manufacturing hubs is more than enough to cause anomalies throughout the enormous supply chains spread across countries. For example, Greenland has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and all of them have recovered. However, it relies on imports and supply of raw materials which are spread across Europe. 

 To understand the impact on the supply chain of the manufacturing sectors, lets first identify the key drivers of manufacturing. The primary factor is demand in the economy. Only if there is substantial demand for a commodity, it will be manufactured. After manufacturing, the commodity is required to be delivered to the customer/consumer. It is in this stage that the pandemic has had an adverse effect. Due to lockdowns and restrictions the logistics are in vain. Hence, the manufactured goods are not reaching the customers.

The Indian manufacturers have significant dependency on China for the supply of raw materials. The current situation has made supply difficult due to complications in logistics. Operations in manufacturing plants are incredibly difficult to carry out due to social distancing norms and lockdown restrictions that are essential to follow. This has minimized the use of human resources which is vital for carrying out operations. The demand for essential goods has skyrocketed in contrast to non-essential goods which has taken a hit due to inaccessibility. Considering this scenario, industries which manufacture essential goods have been able to continue with connections to e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. However, the automobile industry has been stagnant due to overwhelming inefficiency in the supply chain caused by the pandemic.

This pandemic has provided India an opportunity to be independent with regards to supply and imports. Realizing the Indian potential for raw materials would have a ripple effect in the future economy and reduce dependency tension. To stimulate the manufacturing sector and operations, logistics must be made more efficient. This could be done by eliminating/reducing the entities of supply chains. This would ensure minimal human involvement which is essential in the current situation. E-commerce websites could implement grouping of delivery to ensure efficiency. The government could take precautionary measures and incentivise demand for non-essential goods. This could stimulate the manufacturing industries of non-essential goods which have been stagnant.

What you need from your Customers: Loyalty

3 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty at Your Restaurant

Customer loyalty is an important part of any type of business. Loyal customers are more likely to come back and purchase more of your company’s goods or services and thus increase the profits of the company in the long-term. Customers who are given the chance to participate in loyalty programs are also known to be more likely to recommend goods and services to friends and family as they begin to feel loyal towards the company. However, gaining and maintaining customer loyalty can be a challenge especially depending on the type of business and the strategic goals that the company wants to achieve in the future.

One way that a company can attempt to gain the loyalty of their customers is through loyalty programs. The term loyalty program refers to the use of a special gift or incentive being used after a repeated action by the customer. An example of this would be if a cake shop decided to give their customers a free cake for every nine cakes that they had already purchased. This incentive encourages customers to spend their money at the store because there is a special reward for giving the company their business. Aside from this, there are two main reasons why companies should consider using this method of customer service to improve their customer loyalty. One of these reasons includes the fact that loyalty programs have a positive effect on the relationship quality between the customer and the business and that these types of programs make the customer feel entitled towards their reward from the company because of the business that the customer gives them.

A loyalty program “gives the customer a sense of superior status relative to the other, “ordinary” customers” (Steinhoff & Palmatier, 2014). This, in turn, makes the customer feel more valued and is more likely to bring them back to your business instead of someone else’s business the next time they want to purchase a good or service. The other reason is that there is the principle of reciprocity once the customer receives that reward from the company. They will feel like they need to reciprocate or give back to the company for the reward that they received. This is a principle that is taken from studies done on human behaviour and the factors that motivate human beings. This principle can be used to benefit companies through the loyalty programs, because as stated above, once the customer receives their rewards they will feel as though they have an obligation to pay the company back by giving their loyalty to that business. This can increase profits for the company as loyal customers will continually purchase their goods and services.

Overall, companies can greatly increase their long-term profits and sales if they implement customer service practices such as loyalty programs since loyal customers have been proven to repeatedly revisit the company and repurchase goods and services that are offered. Loyal customers are also more likely to recommend the business and thus companies are receiving positive benefits yet again. All of this is because customers not only begin to feel more special to the company because of the rewards they receive but because they also feel a need to reciprocate for those rewards as well. If a company is willing to invest in creating a loyalty program for their customers then they will directly see the positive effects that it could have on their business and customer relationships.

References

Ma, B., Li, X. and Zhang, L. (2018), “The effects of loyalty programs in services – a double-edged sword?”, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 300-310. https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1108/JSM-06-2016-0227

Steinhoff, L., Palmatier, R.W. Understanding loyalty program effectiveness: managing target and bystander effects. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 44, 88–107 (2016). https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1007/s11747-014-0405-6

When the Police take matters into their hands…

Police Cars in India (List of all Indian Cop Cars)

On July 10, the Vikas Dubey was killed in an encounter while he was being taken to Kanpur in the custody of UP Special Task Force. The gangster was arrested at a temple in Ujjain just a day before for murder of as many as 8 policemen. To describe the incident, the car which was taking the accused to Kanpur got overturned and Dubey seized the opportunity by snatching the gun from a policeman who was injured in the accident. Afterwards, the man tried to flee but he was killed from the shots fired by the police in retaliation.

The whole story sounds a scene from the movie Singham in which a group of cops can’t stand the injustice anymore and take matters into their hands to bring a politically powerful organisation of gangsters down with the aid of fake encounters. When a person with a criminal record or a terrorist is killed by the police or armed forces without any trial but in self-defence, it is known as encounter killing. Such killing can also be part of a set up in which the police makes it seem like they were helpless and the life of the criminal was compromised in turn.

Something similar happened in Hyderabad in December 2019. Four men who were suspected of raping and killing a female vet were shot dead when they were being taken to the crime scene. The narrative goes like this – the four men had made an attempt to escape by attacking the ten officers that they were in the custody of and not only did they throw stones and sticks but also stole the officers’ gun. The police tried to make them surrender until they were finally killed in retaliatory firing. Justice was served and the police were appreciated for doing their job by the public.

But is it actually the police’s job to do justice or the court’s? The police are only supposed to catch the criminals and present them in court for trial. It is the court’s job to decide whether a criminal gets imprisoned for life, hanged or even figure out whether the accused is guilty and not the police’s. There have been several cases in which the police picks up the wrong person and sometimes they do it deliberately in order to calm the public rage or hide its very incompetence. Innocent people, usually from poor or minority section of the society, are dragged into jail so that the police can protect their image and become a hero in the public’s eyes.

Are the stories of police acting out and killing the suspects or murderers in defense even plausible? The fact that people were even able to get away from the police, let alone steal their guns and the police were not able to stop them. Law enforcement in this country has become more about revenge than justice. It is strange how the accused in so many major cases manage to escape from a large group of policeman and firearms always end up in the hands of arrested persons. An Encounter happens and whether it is real or staged, is subjective. How does police expect people to believe that such encounters are not fake? Because if it wasn’t, then it really says a lot about the competency of the officers assigned to such cases.

Role of perception in the discrimination against people with COVID-19

I am not a virus.' How this artist is illustrating coronavirus ...

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic crisis has had severe implications on the economic and social landscapes of the world. It has caused a substantial amount of deaths and has disrupted the workings of the entire world. This has impacted the way we perceive our world and everyday lives. The pandemic has also brought out a whole range of attitudes, prejudices, beliefs, perceptions and stereotypes. The pandemic is extremely infectious and is dangerously quick in spreading. In addition to this, it is a new virus and no vaccine or medical procedure guarantees recovery. This is critical as people are fearful and uncertain about their own safety around corona patients or otherwise. A general perception has been formed and shared amongst several people against people suffering from COVID-19. This has caused several instances of discriminatory behaviour against these patients. There could be many factors in play that might have influenced the perceptions of the masses. Perceptions are instrumental to personal characteristics of the individual as well as the target. The personal characteristics include personality, past experiences, interests, motives and expectations. The target factors include novelty, motion, sounds, size, background, proximity and similarity. The role of perception in the discriminatory behaviour exhibited by the masses can be analysed using these factors as well as common errors in perception.

The perceptual process begins with the environment and leads to perception of a stimulus which eventually results in a behavioural reaction. The uncertainty around infections and their cures causes fear. People do not have the most rational responses under an environment where they are fearful. They associate this fear to “others” in order to reduce the uncertainty. This phenomenon is likely to be responsible for the mass perception developed with regards to corona patients. Consequently, a stigma has been associated with these patients. This causes negative association towards the patients or anyone who is perceived to be a patient. Discriminatory behaviour, stereotyping, differential treatment are all reactions to this stigma. Even people who are not infected with the virus and are merely exhibiting some common symptoms such as coughing are being treated unfairly. There have been many instances where people thought that an individual was infected and instead of aiding, they reacted in an unpleasant manner.

COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. This fact caused people to form negative perceptions towards the Chinese. In Italy, the rampant pandemic spread was initiated due to two carrier of the virus who were from China. There were several cases of discrimination against the Chinese people living in many countries across the world. They were shunned at and treated unfairly. However, the main question is if this is due to people inherently being racist or if there is some other explanation. The psychological factors should not be ignored in this circumstance as in a pandemic situation, emotional responses are bound to occur. It is important to realize that the perception formed by the masses needs to be exposed to objective reality. The government of India has tried to do the same by using social media, mass media as well as caller ringtones to disseminate information about discrimination of corona patients. They have clearly said that corona patients are not the enemy, corona is. This shows the importance of mass perception as it can be dangerous if it is formed based on irrational and untrue facts. Stigma can undermine social cohesion and prompt possible social isolation of groups, which might contribute to a situation where the virus is more, not less, likely to spread. This can result in more severe health problems and difficulties controlling a disease outbreak.

Past experiences of the people also play an important role in forming their perception. Viruses are known to be extremely dangerous and have caused significant death. When exposed to this fact, people are much more fearful of the pandemic. This causes chaos and confusion. Under this psychological framework, errors in perception are bound to happen. Assigning group guilt, isolating and blaming groups are some of the behavioural responses made under the influence of this erroneous perception. This has severe implications. Such negative perception associated to patients and potential patients drive people to hide the illness just to avoid discrimination. This reduces testing and increases the potential spread of the virus. It prevents them from seeking appropriate medical assistance and adopting essential healthy behaviours.

The Horn effect is a perceptual error which resembles the current situation quite appropriately. The horn effect is when an individual is completely judged and treated based on his negative aspect. The corona patients are perceived as “negative” or “bad” or “dangerous” based purely on the fact that have been infected by the virus. It is not considered that they are fighting for their lives and they are in the situation that they are in just because they were unlucky. Another perceptual error is stereotyping which is currently rampant.

Chinese and Asian races are being discriminated all over the world. This is purely due to the negative perception formed which identifies Chinese and Asian races as “dangerous” and blames them for the misery caused in the world. This stigma and perception associated with patients and races is extremely serious as it escalates and gets out of hand quickly. It starts with differential treatment and ends with extreme racism and associating group guilt to individuals.

Negative perception has also caused segregation of people. This further facilitates stigmatisation and normalises routine differential behaviours. Stigmatization causes resentment. As the number of patients rise, if the perception does not change there could be dire consequences. Just like HIV and leprosy patients demanded rights and concessions, COVID-19 patients could walk the same path. Protests and riots are potential consequences. This was seen in Indore, where a group of patients protested and attacked a peaceful contingent of doctors who just wanted to provide medical assistance. However, due to constant discrimination, resentment exceeded the level of tolerance and violent demonstrations were made. When the importance of mass perception as well as the consequences are realised, precise steps to avoid the development of negative perception can be taken.

Erroneous perception has not only facilitated stigmatization towards covid-19 patients but also influenced behaviour to anyone and anything perceived to be associated to covid-19. There have been numerous instances where healthcare workers and police officers have been subjected to differential treatment. The famous beer named Corona had been boycotted. A rumour which said that covid-19 spread rampantly due to the 5G towers caused people to try and burn down these towers. Normally these reactions seem extremely irrational and could be cases of blatant ignorance. However, in this case it could be explained by the mass perception of stigma and hatred towards anything associated to the pandemic. There is no doubt that perception plays a significant role in the discriminatory behaviours exhibited by several people against covid-19 patients.

It is important to inculcate the right attitude in people towards the pandemic situation as it will strengthen the fight against coronavirus. In order to accomplish this, the perception towards the same must be modified. Misconceptions, rumours and misinformation are contributing to stigma and discrimination which hamper response efforts. Correcting

misconceptions, at the same time as acknowledging that people’s feelings and subsequent behaviour are very real, even if the underlying assumption is false is vital. Another way to modify perception could be to promote the importance of prevention, lifesaving actions, early screening and treatment. Collective solidarity and global cooperation are needed to prevent further transmission and alleviate the concerns of communities. Share sympathetic narratives, or stories that humanize the experiences and struggles of individuals or groups affected by the new coronavirus. Communicating support and encouragement for those who are on the frontlines of response to this outbreak (health care workers, volunteers, community leaders etc) is necessary. Facts and not fear will stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Objectivity is facilitated when accurate facts are revealed, and hoaxes and myths are debunked. We need to Share facts and accurate information about the disease. Challenging myth and stereotype is another important step. Choose words carefully and precisely when addressing anything related to the pandemic. Words have enormous power and influential abilities. The way we communicate can affect the attitudes of others. The government leaders need to use the power of speech to influence and steer the perception of the masses in t a direction where it is productive and does not hamper the ongoing fight against the pandemic. The mass media should ensure that accurate information and facts are being disseminated to the masses. People should be enlightened to the fact that solidarity and unity is the way to go forward and not discriminatory behaviour. These steps could be critical as they could influence perception and bring about change in attitudes and behaviours in the society.

“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act”

George orwell

Video Games: The Good Side

The State of Online Video Games throughout the World in 2019 ...

A new trend in our society is the issue of how frequent mass shootings are becoming. These events are awful and atrocious, but the ones that truly shock us are the ones that affect our youth. School is the one place where our youth should be allowed to learn in safety and without fear. However, these events are happening more frequently and without a proper solution and our society has started to place blame on things that are not related to the real issue. One main scapegoat for the issue is video games, many sources claiming that they are making younger people unsensitized and violent. However, this claim is simply based on fear and in reality, the use of video games is seen to play a highly positive role in the lives of children and adolescents. Video games can be a learning tool to improve essential skills in children, they can help improve intergroup relationships especially in struggling groups of youth, and they can also help improve grades for students. Video games are an engaging and interactive tool that should be used and integrated into the lives of children and adolescents so that they can gain the skills associated with them.

The use of technology such as video games has been increasing in the last few years as access to technology and electronics also increases. One main fear that people have with this increased use is that children and adolescents are going to become increasingly violent as they age. This is an understandable fear as school shootings are becoming more frequent in our current society. Articles have even been published, appealing to the fear that everyday citizens have. Katherine Kealty, a researcher who conducted a study into the connection between violence and video games, said that “In 2005, the APA issued a statement called the Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media that stated that violent media was linked with feelings of aggression and feelings of hostility” (Kealty, 2013). However, in her article she told us that this idea was very misleading, especially for those who did not have the background knowledge on the topic. The same study by Katherine Kealty discovered that “video games caused no increase in aggressive behaviour and in children with ADHD, the video games actually had a decrease in aggressive behaviour” (Kealty, 2013). This study displayed that this fear of children and adolescents becoming violent because of video games was simply a myth and an idea that was appealing to the fear of those who do not have the background knowledge on the topic. Therefore, we should look past the false idea that video games make youth violent and instead focus on the proven results that cause positive change in youth.

Society has also become more and more competitive and the younger generations are needing to become more educated in order to succeed. As the world’s demand for skills and talents become greater, it is important that we change the way we look at learning tools. One main way to engage younger students in their learning process is by including the use of video games. A study completed by Ru-Lan Hsieh, Wen-Chung Lee, Jui-Hsiang L was completed over a four-week period where children with developmental delays played video games. This study showed that the brain released a chemical called endogenous dopamine which is involved in “learning, attention, sensory-motor integration, and behaviour reinforcement” (Hsieh, Lee & Lin, 2016, p. 10). The use of video games in this study showed increases in skills that help boost the abilities that are needed in order to learn new things in the classroom. Therefore, if video games are used with traditional methods of teaching then it could help children and adolescents succeed in school, especially those who struggle with the current educational system.

Overall, video games have been proven to have many positive benefits. They are shown not to increase aggression in younger individuals but to actually decrease aggression in children who have behaviours that tend to be more aggressive than the average child of their age. Video games have also been proven to release chemicals in the brain that promote learning, attention, sensory-motor integration, and behaviour reinforcement within adolescents. Both of these points show exactly how the use of video games in schools and younger individuals could have a major positive impact on the development of skills for children and adolescents. 

References:

Adachi, P.J.C., & Willoughby, T. (2017). The Link Between Playing Video Games and Positive Youth Outcomes. Children Development Perspectives, 11(3), 202-206. doi: https://doi-org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1111/cdep.12232

Gonzalez-Bueso, V., Santamaría, J. J., Fernandez, D., Merino, L., Montero, E., & Ribas, J. (2018). Association between internet gaming disorder or pathological video-game use and comorbid psychopathology: A comprehensive review.International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 668. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.3390/ijerph15040668

Hsieh, R.L., Lee, W.C., & Lin, J.H. (2016). The Impact of Short-Term Video Games on Performance among Children with Developmental Delays: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 11(3), 1-16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149714

Kealty, K. (2013, October 16). Study: Video games, gun violence not related. University Wire.  Retrieved from Sheridan Library Database


Page, Z. E., Barrington, S., Edwards, J., & Barnett, L. M. (2017). Do active video games benefit the motor skill development of non-typically developing children and adolescents: A systematic review. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 20(12), 1087-1100. doi:http://dx.doi.org.library.sheridanc.on.ca/10.1016/j.jsams.2017.05.001

How has the Pandemic affected the Supply Chain?

COVID-19: Is Your Hospital's Supply Chain Ready for Coronavirus?

Current scenario

The impact of Covid-19 across the world has been completely devastating. The nations across the world have taken steps out of ordinary. From putting ban on travel, closing borders, stopping business to complete national lockdown, the economic growth has downgraded tremendously. Several attempts have been made to “flattening the curve” which involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases on day to day basis.

For a country like India with high population density, it becomes necessary for the Government to take up vital steps to protect its citizens as high population attracts the virus to spread easily and rapidly. Therefore, keeping in mind, the limited infrastructure, the Government had to completely lockdown the nation from March 25. The lockdown was supposed to last for only 21 days but has been extended till further instructions. The impact of this has already begun by troubling the Indian economy resulting in slow growth and shrinking consumption.

Impact on supply chains

Even before the spread of Covid-19 across the globe and nationwide lockdown, there seemed to be a ripple effect on the global flow of trade due to disruption in China. Due to this many companies had started working to thin the supply chain from China. Because of Covid-19, the vulnerabilities of costs have been exposed and “just in time” deliveries with emphasis laid on minimization has led to decrease in inventory buffers and has left very small or rather no room for adequate buffers

However in India still there are certain industries which are heavily dependent on Chinese imports. Some of these industries are that of pharmaceuticals where about 70 per cent of pharmaceutical ingredients are imported from China for the requirement of industry. Automobiles which adds up to 10-30 per cent of imported raw materials from China for the base parts. The renewable energy sector especially Solar in the area of solar is heavily dependent on China for Solar panels which is 80 per cent of our renewable sector’s requirement.

Managing the crisis

To combat the current crisis, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) imposed restrictions on the export of 13 Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and 13 formulations made from these ingredients. Major actions were taken to quickly initiate customs clearances of imports from China.

The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) advised its members not to rely on Chinese products by diverging the source of raw materials as the supply from China has been cut off due to the pandemic. According to AEPC Chairman A. Sakthivel the industry body has approached the government on the matter who in turn has asked the Indian embassies to find the alternate sources of suppliers for India.

Due to crisis many companies want to move at least a part of their supply chains locally which would increase investment in India’s local industries and help to overcome economy in crisis. The Indian Government has decided to promote domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs) and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in the country which will promote Bulk Drug Parks with investment of ₹3,000 crore in the next 5 years. This is a wake-up call for India to develop its own local sourcing units and adopt alternative strategies for reducing the dependency on China.

References:

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/covid-19-exposes-indian-industrys-supply-chain-vulnerabilities/article31224928.ece

How can Emotional Responses to the Pandemic be addressed?

Spread of the Coronavirus Emoji

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was a huge shock to governments, administrative agencies, businesses and ordinary people. In addition to the imminent threat to public health, the pandemic is causing tremendous economic and social stress. Following measures can slow the spread of flu:

Large rallies can be canceled, schools can be dismissed and business hours shortened. Workers may stay at home and continue their jobs using computers and telephones. People with flu can be told to stay home, along with their families. You may need to reorganize your life to provide for your loved ones or get treatment.

Several companies have introduced contingency plans. Employees can function online, or adapt to significant organizational changes. Systems are in place and the enterprise continues. You may have also provided advice to your workers on how to better adapt to work from home or on self-care ideas. However, we are seeing gradually one missing piece of the solution that can undo all the rest that has been achieved.

While there is plenty of information on how we can adapt and care for ourselves, there is much less information on how we can feel and think about changes. The key component in crisis psychology is called “normalization”. Whenever something occurs that’s distressing, unplanned or affects the people we ‘re close to, most individuals will develop an unpleasant, disturbing and potentially overwhelming reaction. When we feel that we are unable to control the outcome and our standard lifestyle is threatened or impeded, then that is particularly challenging.

The ongoing COVID-19 disease outbreak means that treatment for our mental health and wellness is just as important as our physical health. At the center of handling crisis emotional health, we ‘re learning the same stuff from people:

I feel restless constantly and can’t settle. I think sometimes that I’m not in charge of my brain.”

Normalization describes that this is how the body and brain respond. In terms, it would make sense for people to connect to. It should be providing advice on what people could do to help calm the reaction. It should encourage people to generate action plans that give them a sense of control, as they now have a clear idea of their reaction and action justification. Unless we normalize the emotional reaction, it is very unlikely that we will involve people in activities that will help them take good care of themselves and adapt to what is going on.

As part of the pandemic response, health care providers have a significant role to play in resolving such emotional outcomes. Emergencies in public health can affect the health, safety and well-being of both individuals causing, for example, feelings of inadequacy, confusion, emotional isolation and communities due to economic losses, closures of work and schools, inadequate medical response resources and poor distribution of necessities. These effects can transform into a range of emotional reactions, such as distress or mental illnesses, undesirable lifestyles, such as increased use of substances, and lack of compliance with public health directives like home restraint and vaccination in people contracting the disease and in the general population.

Health problems from natural causes such as life-threatening viral infection would not match the new trauma criteria required for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) diagnosis, but other psychopathologies, such as mood and anxiety disorders, may try to emulate.

Many people are even more vulnerable to the psychosocial impact of pandemics than others. In specific, individuals who catch the virus, those at increased risk for it, including the elderly, people with weakened immune function, as well as people with medical history, mental health, or drug use issues, are at increased risk of adverse psychosocial consequences. Medical professionals are also especially prone to emotional distress in the current pandemic, considering their risk of virus transmission, worries about infecting and caring for their loved ones, scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE), extended working hours, and participation in the allocation of resources that are emotionally and morally complicated.

 Besides the stresses inherent in the disease itself, guidelines on mass home containment, including residence-at-home orders, quarantine, and isolation, are unfamiliar to individuals and raise questions about how they may respond individually and collectively. A recent analysis of psychological impact in samples of quarantined individuals and health care providers could be instructive; it reported various emotional outcomes, including stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, anxiety, uncertainty, rage, annoyance, boredom and quarantine-related stigma, some of which remained after the quarantine was ended.

In the existing pandemic, huge areas of the population’s home confining for indefinite periods, differences between the stay-at-home orders issued by different states and countries, and mixed information from government and public health organizations will most probably amplify distress. COVID-19 will provide behavioral evaluation and tracking of associated stressors such as exposure to infected sites, infected family members, loss of loved ones, and physical distance, secondary adversities such as economic loss, psychosocial consequences such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, increased use of drugs, and domestic violence.

 Bearing in mind the worsening economic crisis and various uncertainties surrounding this virus outbreak, suicidal thoughts could arise and require urgent consultation with a mental health professional or referrals for potential psychiatric emergency hospital treatment. Medical professionals may give strategies for handling and dealing with stress, such as organizing and maintaining habits, connecting patients to social and mental health resources, and encourage patients to receive appropriate mental health treatment when required. Because media reports can be emotionally distressing, contact with news related to the pandemic should be regulated and reduced.

Since parents frequently ignore the distress of their children, open discussions should be urged to address the reactions and concerns of the children. Self-care for services, such as mental health care providers, includes being educated about the disease and risks, checking one’s own stress reactions, and seeking additional help with personal and professional commitments and concerns — including, where indicated, professional mental health interventions. Health care facilities would need to tackle the burden on individual providers and overall operations by tracking reactions and results, changing assignments and schedules, adjusting priorities, and developing structures to provide supportive care where appropriate.

Separating from others could be stressful if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if you are not getting sick. After quarantine everyone feels different. Emotional responses to quarantine probably include:

  1. Mixed emotions like post quarantine relief.
  2. Fear and worry about your own health, and your loved ones’ health.
  3. Stress from the perspective of observing yourself or being watched by others about COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
  4. Sorrow, frustration, or disappointment, as friends or loved ones, have irrational fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you were determined not to be infectious.
  5. Guilt over not being capable of performing normal duties of job or parenting throughout quarantine.
  6. Many improvements to the physical or mental wellness.

 In view of the fact that most COVID-19 cases will be reported and handled by staff with almost no mental health experience in health care settings, it is important that psychosocial issues identification and treatment be implemented in those situations. Ideally, incorporation of mental health issues into COVID-19 treatment should be discussed at the organizational level by state and local planning; processes for recognizing, referring and managing serious psychosocial consequences; and the capacity to communicate with specialists will be assured. Health sector executives, emergency workers and health care providers should be provided with information and training on psychosocial issues. The sectors in mental health and emergency management will work together to identify, create and analyze evidence-based services regarding mental health crises and referrals in mental health and certain population’s needs. Risk-communication initiatives will predict the dynamics of evolving problems such as guidelines on prevention, accessibility and acceptability of vaccinations, and require pandemic-related evidence-based approaches and tackle a variety of psychosocial concerns. Healthcare professionals should assist in developing messages which respected leaders should deliver.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disturbing consequences for emotional and social functioning of a person and collective health. Beyond delivering medical services, already strained health care professionals have a significant role to play in tracking psychosocial needs and offering psychosocial support to their patients, health care professionals, and the public — activities that should be incorporated into general pandemic health care. We see people affected from all walks of life, with especially big numbers among those working in the medical field or as first people on the scene along with other essential workers. Our hearts are going out to those heroes. Furthermore, residents of nursing homes and even prisoners are also at higher risk due to health factors and proximity to each other.

Crisis incidents can cause a lot of shock – and then emotional distress, which can take time to subside. Once we know our emotional responses and accept them, we are much more likely to take steps that can help.

ADHD: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD - Unique Mindcare

An ADHD patient behaves a certain way because they feel like they lack people’s attention, right? Wrong. Actually, People who have ADHD are impulsive and/or unable to pay their full attention to anything. The mental disorder is very common in children and even after therapy and medication, it can still persist in childhood. With increased awareness now, it is easier to detect but earlier, it wasn’t so as so many people discovered their condition in late adulthood, only after getting tested. Detection becomes crucial as it is the first step that an ADHD patient could take towards learning to deal with it as it is not completely curable.

There are three types of ADHD – inattentive, hyperactive and a combination of the two. If a person has the inattentive type of ADHD, they might show symptoms like inability to be attentive during a conversation or lecture and get distracted easily, forgetfulness and losing their things often. These people are also unable to stick to a routine and meet deadlines because they lack organizational skills. If they remain unaware of their state, they might start feeling that they are just inferior to their peer and become depressed. People who have the impulsive type of ADHD get agitated quickly, so much that they become impatient when they have to wait for their turn and they interrupt a conversation often in order to get their point across. 

Imagine having a constant urge to move that you are unable to sit quietly in one place. People who have ADHD are so hyperactive, they often get up from their seat and start to move around in the middle of a lecture. Their energy is evident from the way they can talk nonstop. They also try to multitask or switch from a task to another without completing the first one and switch to something else later. All of these episodes of lack of attentiveness and impulsivity can lead to distress in both personal and professional lives. People surrounding the ADHD patients may try to help them without knowing that they have ADHD, but their advice can make the patient feel even more helpless as an ADHD brain is very different from neurotypical or normal brain. After detection. however, a patient can find their own strengths and ways in which they can deal with their weaknesses.

There are also good sides of ADHD. It brings out some very special personality traits like generosity, fairness, compassion and persistence. Individuals with ADHD tend to be more humorous with exceptional conversational skills. They can also have the ability to hyperfocus which could serve as a great advantage in almost all professional fields. With so many years making trials and errors in just getting on with life, their level of resilience becomes very high. They would also make great entrepreneurs, owing to their spontaneity, risk-taking behaviour and ingenuity. Present a problem to them and they would come up with the most creative, out-of-the-box solutions to them because like Jessica McCabe said, in her Ted Talk, “We not only think outside the box; we’re often not even aware that there is a box.”

Check out Jessica McCabe’s Tedx Talk.

7 Emerging Technology Industries for Startups

The Most Important Factors for Startup Success - Salesforce Canada ...

There are two types of entrepreneur – the ones that have an original idea and the ones who just want to start their own business. Either way, an entrepreneur tries to solve a problem and improve human lives as a whole. There are so many startups in the market and they cease to exist due to the fierce competition they face. The entrepreneurs can either differentiate their businesses with a very strong USP or enter a virgin territory. The former will make the business capable of fighting against existing competitors while the latter won’t have many competitors to begin with.

Learn about personal USP here.

For the people who want to start a business but don’t have any unique ideas, here’s a list of industries that are the future of technology and are yet to be fully exploited:

  1. Electronic Sports

It is hard to believe that people would watch other people play video games just like they watch their favourite footballers and cricketers on the field and in a stadium but Esports is becoming a reality now. The evidence of the same can be seen on Youtube where there is a whole section of trending gaming videos.

  1. Financial Technology

Fintech is simply the use of technology in financial services and it is becoming very popular as the days go by. Nearly everyone heard of Bitcoin when it came into the news and Fintech is behind the development of cryptocurrency. With the use of computers and smartphones in our daily activities, money related matters are also being digitalised every day.

  1. Blockchain

Blockchain is related to Bitcoin and it is very complex technology. It is used for handling of Bitcoins. It helps in keeping records of transactions that are made using the cryptocurrency and ensures that the information is unchangeable through advanced programming. The word ‘block’ means digital information which is stored on ‘chain’, that is a public database but the technology is yet very confidential at the same time

  1. Big Data Analytics

Big data is simply the large amount of data stored in different formats, at high speed and with high accuracy. Almost all the gadgets and instruments that we use transmit data about us that helps the manufacturers and developers in giving us better services but such useful data needs to obtained from the big data and this is where the big data analytics comes in play.

Read more about big data here.

  1. Robotics

Making use of robots for day to day activities is the future of technology. Computer science and engineering have given birth to robotics and Artificial Intelligence is its brain. Robots can perform almost all works that are done by humans and even the things that cannot be done by humans. Activities that are hazardous to human life can be easily performed by robots.

Learn about the different types of human intelligence here.

  1. Electric Cars

With rising environmental concerns, the world is moving towards sustainable solutions and offerings to problems and needs. The chances of running out of non-renewable fuels like coal and petroleum have driven the automobile companies to develop electric cars and even though we don’t see as many electric cars on the road, a Bloomberg study has found that by 2040, electric cars will outsell gasoline and diesel-fueled cars.

  1. Online Education

With the onset of the pandemic, the need for online education has been felt worldwide as almost all students shift to online learning. As life becomes more hectic and new technologies and subjects come to reality, almost everyone would want to learn about what is new and trending. Even elderly, retired people try to stay updated nowadays so online education has a huge market base and great potential.

Learn about skills that are in high demand here.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 7 Tips for Smart Work

Working Smart' — Defined by a Study of Over 5,000 Managers and ...

Just what is the difference between smart work and hard work and which one of the two is better? To explain with an example, when the stone-age man picked up a boulder and carried it all the way to the place where it is supposed to be used, say building shelter, that’s hard work. Now after some time, when the man had invented the wheel and started using a bullock cart to carry several pieces of boulders in a single go, that is smart work.

It can be noted, from the example of the stone-age man, that hard work leads to the in-depth understanding which makes the brain look for more efficient and effective alternatives Both the smart work and hard work equally important but the understanding of smart work is essential for making the hard work more fruitful. The efforts you might put into something cannot make a difference unless you know whether that thing even requires the efforts or not.

While you are putting your blood and sweat into a task, the following suggestions will help you work smart:

  1. Avoid all possible distractions

When you have a task in hand, you must concentrate on it and avoid thinking about any other things like work or personal issues. You should turn your phone off because it can easily distract you even with promotion mail. Letting your friends, coworkers and family know that you are going to be busy for some time is a good way to avoid disruptions. 

  1. Automate any work that can be automated

With new technology, computers can do almost all tasks that were previously done manually and one must know how to exploit such a useful resource. It is possible to not have the knowledge of the function that is required but everything can be learned. Try not to think about the time that you spend on learning skills like Excel and Photoshop because they will help you in the long run.

  1. Learn to prioritize and don’t multitask

Sometimes we have multiple things to do at a time but we must be mindful and pick the things that are more urgent or important. Choosing from a list of options can be difficult for most people but at times when it seems impossible, just follow your heart. Don’t try to do two or more things at a time because then you might end up not doing well in any of them. Multitasking will also lead to undue stress.

  1. Have a routine and stick to it at all costs

Make weekly plans and set a routine so you don’t waste time in thinking about what you need to do and when. Every day you can save so much time if you know what you are supposed to do beforehand. Being organised will reduce uncertainty and it will also give you a sense of control. Knowing what needs to be done can also be a source of motivation.

  1. Take regular breaks

When you do make a daily and weekly routine and plan, ensure that you give yourself an ample amount of breaks to avoid physical and emotional burnout. It is important to rejuvenate because when you give yourself time to relax before you start to work again, you can be more creative and much more productive with the regained energy. 

Read about Emotional Exhaustion here.

  1. Focus on results, not the time

Sometimes we spend a lot of days on a task and we start getting demotivated. We might reassure ourself by thinking that we have been working for so many days so we can stop working now and just take a long break, even when we aren’t halfway through the task. It is important to keep track of the milestones than the time that we take to reach them. After all, results matter more and only the results will make people appreciate your time and dedication.

  1. Finish what you start

If you have started something, don’t stop until you have finished it. Don’t give up and don’t procrastinate. It is not unusual for people to drop out of the project just because they lost interest. You need to make finishing what you start a habit. Whether it is a book or challenging research, reaching the end of everything keeps us going without having any bothersome thoughts in the back of our head.

Obsession with Fair Skin

Sapna Babul Ka.... Bidaai (2007-2010)

In a country like India, where more people population is brown, people are still strangely obsessed with fairer skin colours. This affinity that Indians have with white skin dates back to the time when the country was ruled by the Mughals, Portuguese, Dutch, French and finally the British. All these rulers were relatively fairer than Indians and so the fair skin came to be viewed as a trait of people who are superior in position and class. Even after the independence and to this date, the country has reincarnated the views giving the fair-skinned men and women preferential treatment in almost all aspects of life.

Only recently have we started to see not-so-fair actresses on the big screen but before that, the film industry was mostly dominated by actresses with glowing, white skin. This regime did not only impact the careers of many brown and darker skin people who aspired to be in movies but also the general public who is the audience to these movies, TV shows, and commercials. It had helped in building the perspective that people have towards skin colours. The unjust treatment starts at a very tender age of childhood when kids knowingly or unknowing fellow kids names like Kaali and Kaalu just for fun.

The victims of skin colour based bullying may or may not take it too seriously at that time but it does get into their head. In several cases, getting called out for having dark skin by both friends and relatives had lead to depression, social anxiety and underconfidence. It is not even just about getting bullied but also losing the opportunities for something that is so natural and we have had from our birth. Not only do people with fair complexion get jobs regardless of their qualifications, but they also get unjust special treatment at the workplace. The matrimonial sites and advertisements too emphasise the need for fair-skinned bride and groom. Even when the brown ones do get accepted, it is unfair when families ask for more dowry just because the prospective bride isn’t snow-white.

Indians are so obsessed with fair skin that shelves of stores are filled with cosmetics that claim to lighten your skin colour and people do believe and buy these products to change something that cannot even be changed. The colour of our skin is genetic and one can only get lighter to some extent by removing the tan. People often bleach their skin and put on make up that is supposed to be for lighter tones. There was a time when people weren’t even aware of the different colours of foundations that are supposed to go with different colours and there was only one colour of foundation in the eyes of these people – the one that makes them unrealistically fair. There are even products available that make the groin fairer.

The change in the mindset of people regarding skin colour is a very recent phenomenon but better late than never. People have started to value what’s inside more than the view. There are many NGOs that are working towards creating awareness and fighting discrimination against skin colour in various parts of the country and with the online campaigns have started to reach more people as almost everyone is joining the world of internet. Several brands have taken steps in order to resonate the values of equality by making their products and commercials unbiased to fair skin.

7 Types of People you should surround yourself with

Photos - Group of friends enjoying on their holiday - YouWorkForThem

The people that we are close to – the ones that we confide in about almost everything and care about, play a vital role in our lives. Friends are our chosen family. We may not realise but they shape our personality and have the ability to change our whole outlook on life. We become similar to them as time passes by and they influence us in ways no one else can. They literally grow on us. It is also well-known that bad company can destroy a person so picking our friends wisely becomes even more critical. 

Here’s a list of 7 types of people you should be with regardless of whether you are at school, university or work:

  1. Dreamers

People who are ambitious and passionate and want to reach at some place or accomplish something in life. These people don’t see any limits to what they can achieve and their goals motivate them so much that whatever they do in life, they always have the big picture in the back of their head. Their dreams and goals might seem unreal but to them nothing is impossible.

  1. Doers

Not only do these people have goals and things to accomplish but they have deliberately calculated each step that they need to take in order to reach the high ground. They will do whatever it takes while also keeping a track of their progress. The milestones that they make for themselves, mean a lot to them and when they surely celebrate the small victories.

  1. Realists

The people are practical and grounded to reality. They openly criticize and argue if something or some idea seems to deviate from what is possible. They are very analytical and try to determine the pros and cons of the idea that is presented to them. They keep the people around them grounded as well and keep giving them reality checks.

  1. Hard workers

People who are persistent with their efforts and don’t feel overworked too quickly. When you look at them, you see an energetic and self-driven individual who could even be working restlessly to complete the task at hand. Just watching them makes you introspect and question what you are doing with life and makes you want to be like them.

  1. Listeners

People who are capable of listening to stories and rants and even empathise with the one who tells them. Not everyone is a good listener because most people listen to respond. A good listener listens to understand the other person and they do it with interest and not by forcing themselves to hear the other person out. 

  1. Optimists

Positivity radiates from this type of people and they make the people around them look at the positive side of every situation. They create a feeling of hopefulness even in situations that have the potential to break a person down. Going to an optimistic friend in difficult times will definitely help in raising your spirit.

  1. Problem solvers

Some people are born to solve problems and overcome obstacles that come in their way. Their thinking power is higher and when they hear about the problem, their mind generates ways in which the problem can be solved. Being a problem solver is very advantageous as you always have your way around and nothing can stop you.

FEMINISM

feminism Archives | Green European Foundation

With the aim to have an equal world for both males and females, in 1870, a revolution for change by the name ‘feminism’ emerged from France. It firmly believed in equal space for females at par with males. Feminism is a counter to patriarchy – a society in which the males dominate; which is a prevalent form of societal arrangement around the globe. As a movement, it focuses on pointing out the adverse and disastrous effect that patriarchy can bring to a woman to face, not only in the home but also in workplaces.

A constant refraining of females’ equality that they should have been subjected to, make them sceptical of their own self. They accept it as inevitable and devalue themselves. Even biology is widely used as a defence for male’s dominance over females, by limiting the abilities of women, categorizing what they can do and what they can’t. Thus satisfying the deep-rooted gender stratification which hierarchically ranks people in society based on gender. It’s just a very simplified way to stratify society into males and females. But feminist think sex and gender as two different things, sex on the hand is predominantly based on physical things and attributes, gender on the other hand concerns psychological and cultural differences between males and females. In such circumstances around the globe, feminism appears to be that driving force that drives women to stand and ask questions to these patriarchal norms, not themselves. The whole objective is making a change in behaviour and action of society towards females. It’s a journey from A (status quo) to B (female equality). 

Feminism, though being a common and well-heard concept to many, is often wrongly interpreted to mean ‘treating women over and above men’. In the pursuance of this misunderstood concept of feminism the aim sometimes becomes ‘destroying men’ instead of destroying the ‘patriarchal ideas’ that are deep-rooted into society. It needs to be realised that this movement is not about making men lesser than women but to make the women equivalent to the men. By meaning or calling men in any way inferior to women, goes completely against the whole idea and concept of feminism.

The very aim of Feminism is not to override men’s’ race and thrash it all together but to rather question and root out patriarchal thoughts from society. Based on these two interpretations, we have two classes of feminists, equality feminists and difference feminist. While the former focus on sameness, latter focuses on putting females somewhat on privileges over males. Formerly made highlights in 19th and 20th century, latter was prevalent near the 1980s and 1990s and afterwards. 

To conclude, until women subordination is “common” to both females and males, establishing a society of equality among them is a far cry. All Feminism can do is, it can reach to females and tell them their worth and encourage them for the demand for equality. But the interpretation and foot-steps of feminism must be carefully watched otherwise people will have to start a future movement to root out matriarchy.

All you need to know about ‘Workplace Romance’

Office Romances: How employers should deal with them - Peninsula

Falling for someone at work is not something you can stop or control. The people you work with spend almost 8 hours or more with you, 5-days-a-week and they are your companions through the thick and thin of work life. Before you even know, that particular person who seems to care about you the most or you find genuinely attractive, has occupied the vacancy in your heart. The feelings grow until you have built up some courage to ask them out and if the feelings are mutual, they say yes. That’s workplace romance for you! As simple as it sounds, there are a lot of consequences, both positive and negative, and considerations that can’t be ignored when you start dating someone at work.

Loving anyone and getting loved back is a heavenly feeling, no matter where you two might have met. If your significant other works with you at the same office, you don’t have to wait throughout the day to see them after work. You can see them all day! You can share your grievances at the end of the day and they will know exactly what you are talking about. The time we spend on explaining the background of people and the dynamics when we tell stories from our day at work is saved. Every day, you are happy to go for work because that is where you are going to see him or her so your relationship becomes a source of motivation. 

All the things that are good about indulging in an office romance should not make you overlook the bads. You might decide to keep your relationship secret but it is impossible to hide it from everyone. It takes only one person before the whole office finds out, all thanks to gossips that spread out like wildfire, especially when it is about an affair. Not all people like witnessing all the public display of affection because they find it cute. They might even report it to HR and some companies have rules that prohibit employees from dating other employees and anyone who is associated with the company. 

People might even try to interfere with your relationship by criticising your significant other and making you think of things. It is important to remain focused as your relationship might distract you from the work that needs to be done. What about when you two split apart? The thing that made you wake up every day and go to work happily becomes a reason for you to not show up at times when you find it difficult to face him or her. You might even feel like quitting altogether and put your career in jeopardy. It is also very essential to keep in mind that dating someone who is your direct superior or works directly under you is a big no-no. When you date your boss, your promotion is frowned upon and people might think negatively even when your relationship is genuine. Your boss might actually become biased while writing your performance appraisal and the scope for improvement is compromised.

Communication 101: How to convince someone?

How to be More Persuasive on the Phone: 7 Powerful Persuasion ...

Human beings are social animals. Not a day passes by without interacting with people in both personal and professional life. We do everything in our hands to make people like us, accept us and agree with us. Our communication skills play a major role in making the image that we want of ourselves in the eyes of the people we are trying to impress. It is not even only the effective conviction of the messages we are trying to send but the how we structure the message so that it appeals to people. To persuade someone is to make them believe in your ideas.

Persuasion is not that simple. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to sell a good or a service or just sending your idea across, you must know how psychology works and what makes people agree. Yes! Human psyche also plays a major role in making a person reject or accept another person’s offer, keeping aside a person’s perspective about the thing that has been offered. What I am saying is it is not always the attractiveness and the benefits that could be derived from the thing that is presented but also the way in which it is presented.

Dr Robert B Cialdini, a renowned psychologist and an academician, has defined six principles of persuasion in his book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ and each one of them are briefly explained in the following section:

  1. Reciprocity

When you do something nice for someone, they might do something nice for you in return as well or simply, a positive action leads to a positive action. Humans have a tendency to return favors so as to not feel indebted. This is the universal principle of reciprocity. It is demonstrated when you are offered something for free, maybe in a restaurant or a store, and it makes you wanna go back and/or make another purchase. Reciprocity is also at play when a colleague offers to do some of your work when your workload is high and you do the same for them in their time of need.

  1. Scarcity

Like the literal meaning of the word ‘scarcity’, when a particular thing is available in limited amounts, it makes you wanna lay your hand on it. We want to have things that are limited edition because of the uniqueness compared to things that are in abundance and it makes us feel special. Very general examples can be seen on online shopping sites when a particular article is about to get sold out and they inform it to you by displaying ‘only 3 left in stock’. In personal life, a person might value you more if you give to them, something that is scarce – your time.

  1. Authority

When you associate, whatever you are trying to convey, with a person who is an expert in the field or has relevant knowledge, the chances of your audience believing you become significantly higher. In everyday life, we see advertisements in which a dentist recommends a particular toothpaste brand or a doctor recommends a soap. The principle of authority is at play here. Even when you are making a point in a conversation with your friends or colleagues, people might get immediately convinced the moment you quote a credible source to support your argument. 

  1. Consistency

If someone was to get interviewed on news about their views on education of underprivileged children, there’s a good chance that they might agree to make a donation to an NGO who is working towards the very cause. People like to be consistent with their words and actions. Why would anyone want to be called a hypocrite and even if no one points it out, at least their perspective of themselves will change but it’s still inacceptable and leads to discontent. 

  1. Liking

This principle doesn’t need as much explanation. People who are likable find persuading people much easier than people who are not. It is important to make your intended audience like you for them to hear what you are offering or you would like to tell. Companies appoint celebrities for brand endorsements because they are influential and people like and follow them. With a complete stranger, you might wanna start with a personal conversation and see what you and them have in common to make you like them before you get down to business.

  1. Social Proof

Not only do people follow celebrities, they also follow what is being done on a large scale. If something has become a trend and almost everyone in every section of the society is doing it, you will do it too. It doesn’t even have to be every section. If most of your colleagues are carpooling to commute to the office, you will want to carpool too. Even when you read reviews about a product or a movie, they influence your decision of whether you will buy it or watch it or not.

What you can learn from ‘The Go-Giver’

The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success | Elite Marketing Pro

‘The Go-Giver’ is a self-help, story book written by Bob Burg and John David Mann and the book tries to make a reader look at both his personal and professional life from a different perspective. Almost all of us are go-getters. A go-getter is an ambitious person who would do anything to achieve his goals and become successful. You might argue that there is nothing wrong with being a go-getter but being a go-getter will only get you so far in life. All the founders of great companies have one thing in common – they gave their idea to improve lives without any anticipation of rewards or fame. You might get that job or promotion but you can’t get to that level of success.

The main characters of the story are Joe and Pindar. Joe is a go-getter employee and Pindar is someone Joe approaches in order to land a great contract. Pindar makes a deal with Joe that he will tell him his trade secret, ‘the five laws of stratospheric success’ on one condition. Joe must apply that law in his life in some way or the other, on the very same day. Joe really wanted to have Pindar in for the contract so he obliged and they started meeting for lunch everyday for five days the next week. Every lunch, Pindar would take Joe to meet people who have had stratospheric success and they would demonstrate the law through their life stories. 

The following are ‘the five laws of stratospheric success’ that we can all inculcate in our lives as we walk the path towards success –

  1. The Law of Value

The first law was explained by Ernesto who owned several restaurants, cafes and a lot of real estate. He had started off from a hot dog stall and reached where he was mainly because of his social skills and the taste of food he served. The value that he gave to his customers was much more than he asked for and the first law states, ‘your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.’

  1. The Law of Compensation

The second law states, ‘your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them’ and it was explained by Nicole, a school teacher who had a unique and fun way of teaching her students through games and she started her own company to reach out and teach children globally through her learning software. She was passionate about teaching and started her company solely because of her passion.

  1. Law of Influence

Sam Rosen was an awful insurance salesman before his financial services company leapt to stratospheric success and he became the state’s number one philanthropist. According to him, what led to his success was the great network of people he had. These people are like your brand ambassadors and help in increasing your goodwill. To have such a network, you must keep the people’s interest before your own. The third law states, ‘your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first’.

  1. Law of Authenticity

Debra Davenport had become the most successful real estate dealer in the town but before that she was a housewife and a mother. She wasn’t always so good at selling properties but it was Pindar who showed her the right way. Pindar told Debra to add value to whatever she was selling and it took her some time to understand that she wasn’t selling properties but herself. She tried to put her social skills of being a friend to her ex husband and children and tried to connect with her clients at a very personal level and the fourth law states, ‘the most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself’.

  1. Law of Receptivity

The fifth and last law was demonstrated by Joe himself by being receptive to whatever Pindar had to give to him, that is accepting all the five laws of stratospheric success with an open heart. The law states, ‘the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving’.

Impact of Covid-19 on Manufacturing & E-commerce

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacts Security Service Firms

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has led to complete shut down of many parts of the world in order to limit the spread of the contagion and ensure safety of lives from the pandemic. The nation-wide lockdowns have had a very adverse effect on the production and supply chain and it has many economic implications which will be further discussed in this article.

Manufacturing sector was severely affected due to two main supply problems. Firstly, a ripple of disruption in production originated from the East-Asian manufacturing giant and quickly reached the other industrial hubs like the USA and Germany, because of globalization of trade. Secondly, even the regions that are not as affected by the pandemic cannot produce smoothly because of disturbance in the supply of raw materials and inputs from hard-hit regions. The service sector isn’t untouched either as restaurants and movie theatres go out of business due to lockdown as well.

One of the key elements of the supply chain that is most affected by the pandemic is the human resource. Humans are involved in everything, from logistics to doing actual work in manufacturing units. The social distancing norms limits the gathering of people and even the fear of catching the disease is making the industries lose labourers and workers. The currently operational industries that produce essential goods and e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart are facing difficulty and/or not running as smoothly because they have to take stringent measures to ensure social distancing during their daily activities.

The lockdown may have pushed people towards online shopping but the things that they are buying are mainly the necessities so the other industries have been negatively impacted. Electronics industry has been affected the most as the main supplier of electronic parts and appliances is China. There has been a rise in sales of subscription services, whatsoever, and it is one of the positively impacted industries in the times of pandemic.

Indian economy is severely affected not just because of the lockdown but also because of its dependency on the epicentre of the pandemic itself – China. Many industries, especially the SMEs, heavily depend on China for supply of raw material so even if the lockdown was to be lifted at some time, these units will fail to operate. For India, one way to overcome this hurdle could be becoming more self-reliant.

Logistics can be made more efficient by eliminating the distributors between the supplier and the retailers and from suppliers to manufacturers. Not only does this ensure that less human resources are involved in the procurement and distribution process, but it also reduces the time duration, making the supply of goods and raw materials timelier. The human resource that is still involved needs to be taken care of and necessary precautions should be taken for their safety. 

The e-commerce deliveries can be made more efficient and effective by grouping up the deliveries of one locality together and doing them at once, even if it causes some delay. Inventory could be reduced and goods could be directly supplied to regions that are deficient.

Biotechnology is underrated!

33 Best Masters Biotechnology Programs for Commercialization and ...

Everyday, we see advances in almost everything around us. Not just technological advancements but even in living organisms as they continue to evolve with time. From the smallest microorganisms to more complex human beings, every living thing is upgrading just to survive as the living conditions become harsher. After the Covid-19 outbreak, it can be certainly said that new infectious organisms are also on the rise somewhere, waiting for their turn to enter the human world. Species are becoming extinct at a much faster rate due to human interference, lack of benevolence, and greed. With these developments, the role of biotechnology has become more significant than ever.

Biotechnology is the modification and usage of living organisms for various purposes like agricultural, industrial, and healthcare. We know that microorganisms like yeast help us in making bread and Lactobacillus leads to curdling of milk and they have been there for a long time now but now we know that there are several other such living organisms that have the potential to make lives better. These organisms are capable of doing work that are more important than making a loaf of bread or a bowl of milk but the fact that they can save lives! Biotechnology isn’t even about only these organisms but also human beings in which genetic manipulation is definitely complicated but not impossible.

In the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, biotechnology has made it possible for farms to raise both disease resistant plants and animals that are also more resilient to changing environmental conditions. The population is growing rapidly and food shortage is a major concern. With the aid of biotechnology, it is possible to ensure that no man, woman or child goes to bed hungry through enhanced productivity of crops and animals that take up less space and resources. The new farming methods also need to be environmentally sustainable so as they are not burdensome on mother earth and nature. The practices and manipulation must not take the dignity of species that can’t even speak out their concerns, for granted and humanity and empathy must persist. 

The healthcare has also been benefited by introduction of more effective medications and drugs that are biotechnologically synthesised and pose lesser risks of contamination and side effects. Gene testing and manipulation has made it possible to diagnose, prevent and even cure diseases that are inheritable. Various substances like insulin that are synthesised by the body can also be synthesised using genetically modified organisms and can aid the people that are unable to synthesise them due to underlying medical conditions. Biotechnology can also be applied to industrial processes to manufacture products that are important for human beings. Not just that, renewable sources of energy can be generated using biotechnology and can replace fossil fuels in industries. The industrial waste can be treated using genetically modified organisms until the waste is not hazardous when it is released into the environment.

Biotechnology has innumerable applications and the fact that it is a comparatively new field, a lot of research still needs to be done and new techniques are yet to be discovered so a career in biotechnology is definitely a promising one.

The 8 Types of Intelligence

What is artificial general intelligence (general AI/AGI)? – TechTalks

There is a boy who is good at math and science. He can play with numbers and understand  technical concepts with ease so he scores well and is the topper of the class. He is not good at sports whatsoever and spends most of his time studying. There is another boy who is the sports captain and he plays a variety of sports. He takes pride in the trophies and medals that he has won in several sports fests. Now there is a third boy who plays piano so well his concerts are attended by famous people. Out of all three boys, you might say that the first boy is the intelligent one but Mr. Gardner will disagree with you.

Howard Gardner authored a book called ‘Frames of the Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ in 1983 in which he has pointed out that the intellect and cognitive abilities are not the only qualities that should make a person get called intelligent and that there are 8 different types of smarts a person can exhibit. This theory is useful as people can now work on their intelligences and understand their capabilities better now. Educators can segregate children according to their smarts and direct them towards complementary careers.

Following are the eight types of intelligences defined by Howard Gardner are explained briefly-

  1. Visual-Spatial Intelligence “Picture Smart”

The individuals that have an exceptional vision and their capabilities include memorising what they have seen and making a visual in their head when something is described to them. This type of intelligence can be seen in graphic designers, architects, artists and map readers.

  1. Musical Intelligence “Music Smart”

Like the name, the music smart are sensitive to tunes and rhythm in nature and oftentimes these people learn how to play an instrument with ease. Music attracts them and they learn it by heart just from hearing it once. People who play an instrument or make music show this type of intelligence.

  1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence “Body Smart”

These people have a very strong control on the movements of their body and they can easily use their body to communicate like when a dancer’s moves express the message that he tries to convey or simply the gestures that serve as non verbal cues. Dancers, athletes, mimicry artists and doctors are body smart.

  1. Interpersonal Intelligence “People Smart”

The individuals that are people smart always have their way around with people and this intelligence is also called social intelligence. They are efficient in conveying their message and understanding the other person and their message so they are excellent communicators with empathising capabilities. People like politicians, managers and psychologists have this intelligence.

Read about Emotional Intelligence here.

  1. Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence “Word Smart”

The word smarts are good at playing with words and they have a deep understanding of whatever is read by them. The can even read between the lines. They make a great use of words to convey their thoughts and are good at writing composition and oral communication. Writers, poets and anyone who is good with words have good verbal intelligence.

  1. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence “Number Smart”

Finally, the people who are good at math and logical reasoning are number smart. These people also exhibit analytical thinking, deduction skills, making strategies and reasoning capability. This intelligence can be seen in anyone who effectively deals with numbers on a regular basis.

  1. Naturalistic Intelligence “Nature Smart”

Nature attracts the people who are eager to understand all the living organisms present in their environment, be it a plant or an animal, and their interpretation is accurate. Being out there, in the greens, energises them and they enjoy learning the workings of mother nature. Botanists and people who are passionate about gardening show this intelligence.

  1. Intrapersonal Intelligence “Self Smart”

The individuals that know their own self inside out exhibit intrapersonal intelligence. They know their strengths and weaknesses and can predict the results of whatever happens to them. Whatever they want to do, they know if they can do it or not deep inside so they take calculated steps and achieve success.

Most Sought-after Skills at this very second

Article: Is Skill Development the Right Choice? — People Matters

There was a time when the only choice the Indian teenagers had when it came down to an engineer or a doctor. Anything else was looked down on. The parents picked one of two options right when a child was born and made sure that he or she got into the field of their choice at any cost. It was a difficult time, no doubts but the good news is that time is over now. Most teenagers pick their own fields and profession and what they want to learn is their choice. 

There is a huge variety of fields that can be picked by an individual and having a government job isn’t the basic necessity anymore. People join corporates, do freelancing and start their own businesses everyday. Everything starts on a small scale and everything has the potential to shoot up and become a global success. The stories of self made people become an inspiration to many who are yet to enter the field of their choice.

New technologies are introduced that make our lives better and these technologies also bring with them an array of new skills that need to be learnt to support the new technology. Learning these skills can fetch you a good job and you can also make your place as a popular freelancer. These skills could also become your USP and make you stand out from the crowd.

Read about Personal USP here.

Given below is a list of skills that have high demand in the market as of now.

  • Project Management

It is time to hone your leadership skills. Courses in project management can last from a year to six months and once you become certified, you can lead a team of people through a project. The main challenge of a project manager is to achieve the goals in specific time.

Read about Virtual Teams here.

  • Coding

New and more efficient computers are getting developed everyday and the demand of people who can speak the language of computers is ever so high. The job of a coder is to tell a computer what task it needs to perform. Coders also play an important role in the development of beautiful websites and interesting apps that we come across in daily life.

  • Copywriting

All the advertising and the marketing efforts that makes you buy a product or service has been done by a copywriter. He is the creative mastermind and can make or break a brand. As long as there will be selling, there will also be a requirement of a copywriter.

  • Public Speaking

You have to have the skill of public speaking, regardless of your profession, in order to rise to heights. This skill is tested when you are a speaker in a conference, you have to present your work in front of your bosses or when you want to convince a group of investors into funding your startup. 

  • SEO and Google Analytics

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is important because what is the point of having a beautiful website if it doesn’t get viewed by potential customers. SEO makes your site more visible when a person looks up keywords that are relevant to your sites, on search engines like Google. With the knowledge of Google Analytics, one can use the data about the audience of the site and make important decisions accordingly.

Read about IoT and Big Data here.

  • Digital Marketing

Social media has become the new playground for businesses to aggressively advertise their offerings at. Most people use Facebook and Instagram, instant messaging apps like Whatsapp, email and browse through internet pages for both work and fun. Using these mediums for selling has become very important.

  • Excel Knowledge

Excel is something that almost all of us have already come across in school when we learnt its basic functions. With exceptional Excel skills one can get hired as financial analyst, sales manager, accountant and information clerk. Even things like data entry in spreadsheets require people with knowledge of Excel.

  • Web Development

Almost all organisations, from government to private, have a web page that has been developed by a professional web developer but that’s not his only job. A web developer makes all kinds of sites like social networking and e-commerce sites for both the internet or the intranet.

What is your USP?

Sameness or Uniqueness? Designing effective brand experiences ...

The competition is getting fiercer with every passing day as new things are introduced and the world population is on a rise. Living a good life isn’t as easy as it used to be years ago when unemployment wasn’t as high as it is now. Every man fights several men everyday to make his place in this highly competitive world and fights even more to safeguard his place from the new entrants and improved competitors. There’s no end to this struggle. 

Unique Selling Proposition or USP in short, is a business term for a quality that sets your business apart in a market full of competitors that are more or less similar to you but they too cannot copy that quality of yours. It is what differentiates your business and makes the consumers want to try and buy what you are selling and choose your brand over competitor brands. 

Tata Group is one of top Indian Companies and the USP of Tata Motors is that they are fuel efficient and easy to drive. An environmentally conscious customer might buy a Tata vehicle because oil is a nonrenewable resource and an economical person might buy it because of fluctuating prices of oil. Ease of driving will please any and everyone. This is what sets Tata motors apart from the other automobile companies of the country.

The business term ‘USP’ is not specific to just businesses anymore because every single person is competing against the world full of people for a seat, a job, a promotion, for power and a variety of other things. The fact is that there will never come a time when the competition will lower or become steady and ‘survival of the fittest’ is actually ‘survival of the best’ now. Every person who is fighting out there needs to have an eccentric weapon of some sort – a quality that is impossible or extremely difficult for other fighters to imitate – to have any chance at winning the everyday battle that the world is. 

Read: Most Sought-after Skills at this very second

When you are trying to get into anything, be it an interview for a job or starting a new venture, ask yourself what sets you apart? It is possible to not find a unique skill or quality in yourself when you start looking but it is also not impossible to develop a few. Hard work can do wonders. Start with making a list of all the skills and qualities that you have and be honest to yourself. You can’t just say that something like overcoming challenges is one of your qualities without actually embodying that passion and zeal. There could be some skills in that list that you could work on further and master to make them your USP. You can also pick a skill randomly that you think you can master and others cannot but it should be consistent with the place you want to enter for it to differentiate you from other entrants. 

I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.

Elon Musk

New Normal: Virtual Teams

Keys to Overcoming Virtual Team Communication Challenges - Chanty

The current pandemic situation has driven everyone to their homes in order to protect themselves from the novel Coronavirus. Countries are in the phase of ‘unlocking’ now as they can’t afford the lockdown anymore but the virus is still prevalent. Social distancing measures must be taken up even when all activities resume and other necessary precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining hygiene must be taken as well. The work-from-home culture has been adopted worldwide and both a person who is working individually and people who are working in teams need to be managed. 

A virtual team is a group of individuals in remote locations that are working together towards a common goal and the mode of communication through which they coordinate their activities is electronic. Before the pandemic, virtual teams were formed when people from different countries were on board for a project. Such a team was advantageous because the organisation could save up on real estate costs and it was also favourable for the employees because their time wasn’t spent on commuting, leading to more productivity. There are also disadvantages like technological issues and lack of that level of bonding associated with workplace teams. Managing a virtual team is obviously more difficult than workplace teams, especially when the communication between the team members isn’t as effective.

Due to the prevailing circumstances, formation of virtual teams is inevitable but there are a few differences. The members of the team aren’t necessarily in different locations and the was formed to ensure social distancing and prevent the transmission of virus, in turn. There is a chance that the members of the team know each other personally beforehand. Formation of a virtual team is also more complex because the people with qualities like effective communication and sense of individualism have to be handpicked and assigned role after due thought process for smooth working of the team.

The leader of a virtual team isn’t very different from the workplace team and needs to have qualities like emotional intelligence and effective communication so that the members of the team are clearly aware of  division of work and goals of the team and shortcomings of face-to-face interaction can be prevented. There is a possibility that the members might hesitate to speak up their concerns in such a setting but the leader must encourage them to speak their hearts out whenever needed. 

Read about Emotional Intelligence here.

Now that there is a team with a leader, the members have to get to know each other personally in case they don’t and the targets have to be made and communicated. Short term milestones should also be set in order to keep the members motivated for them to keep up with their efforts continually in order to reach them. The means of electronic communication should also be decided and they should be favorable with whatever project the team is taking up. There are an array of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams available that facilitate the work-from-home culture. Video conferencing should be done regularly for both work and non-work related conversations to increase cohesiveness.

Remedies for Emotional Exhaustion

▷ Emotional health and wellbeing - Everything you need to know | Adia

Detection is important and once you know what is wrong with you, you can seek ways to treat and help yourself. First and foremost, it is important to accept that you are not in your best condition to work and go on with your life. Physical ailments are easier to detect but that’s not the case with mental ailments like emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion is the state of complete hopelessness and emotional detachment. It is not something that can be overlooked and needs to be treated for an individual to continue to be efficient in whatever he does. 

Read: 9 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

A person can get emotionally exhausted due to an array of reasons, some of which are relationship troubles, demise of a loved one, job related and financial problems. In the current pandemic situation, everyone – from front-line healthcare workers to people who are working from home – must have felt a wave of exhaustion due to the uncertainty and new working conditions at some point. Some people must have rebounded without any efforts and the good news for those who didn’t is, the condition can be reversed with some efforts.

Here is a list of things that you can do for mental and emotional replenishment

  1. Exercise and eat healthy

A healthy being can overcome anything. Exercising not only distracts you but the physical stress leads to release of happy hormones that elevate your mood. The pandemic might not allow you to hit the gym but you can still workout at home.

Read: 5 Ways to Stay Fit During Quarantine

Indigestion is a sign of emotional exhaustion and even if you feel like eating a lot or eating nothing at all, try and stick to a healthy, nutritious diet as it will not only energise you and make your gut happy but also help with your sleeping schedule and workout routine. Staying hydrated is also a must for a healthy body.

  1. Indulge in calming activities

Meditation and Yoga are a few activities that lead to peace of mind. They are also effective in helping with the blood pressure and heart rate which are associated with stress. There are a lot of breathing exercises in Yoga Asanas that can help the erratic breathing associated with panic attacks and just hyperventilation, 

A diary can become an outlet for everything that you are feeling and going through and you won’t have to worry about what it would think about you. 

  1. Distract yourself

Everything and everyone comes after your own well being. Take a break and do what makes you happy. If you think, nothing makes you happy, think again! Do something different, learn something new. Hang out with your friends and talk to them about their life. Knowing that other people have it rough too and what they do to fix their situation can not only make you feel that you are not the only one but also give you ideas. Maybe, what you need is a solo trip. Try out everything that can help openly.

  1. Actively seek help

Talk to someone – be it a therapist or a close friend. Sometimes you just want to feel validated and empathised with. The person may not advise you anything but having someone to talk to about and someone who would listen to your pain and agony will definitely help you feel better.

9 Signs of Emotional Exhaustion

Emotional Exhaustion: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and More

Have you ever felt like nothing is ever going to get better? Emotional and mental exhaustion happens when the stressors from professional life or personal life or both manage to wear you out and drain you until nothing feels right. 

We are all familiar with the state of physical exhaustion, when our body gets so tired that it cannot bear any more physical activity unless it gets re-energised. Physical exhaustion can be easily recognized and reversed by resting and eating energising food. The same is not the case with mental exhaustion as most people don’t realise it is happening and continue with their lives without doing anything about it. Their efficiency reduces gradually until they can’t keep going on anymore.

Here 9 warning signs to check if you are mentally and emotionally exhausted:

  1. Irritability

You get worked up from really small things like spilled coffee or a person’s comment even if it doesn’t pertain to you. Frustration can be accompanied by sweating, hyperventilating, racing heart, anger and confusion.

  1. Lack of motivation

You don’t feel like doing anything. Even when you do something like studying or just doing the work that is assigned to you, you are forcing yourself to do it and you would not do it if you could help it. You are not even motivated to do things that used to make you happy.

  1. Anxiety

Everything, be it leaving your house or asking for help, makes you fearful and nervous. In severe cases, one might even experience panic attacks in seemingly harmless situations in which the fear takes over completely and you feel like you are having a heart attack.

  1. Sleeping troubles

Your sleeping schedule is utterly ruined. Every night, it is difficult for you to fall asleep and when you do, it is so light that you wake up from even slight disturbance. You become sleep deprived eventually and physical exhaustion follows.

  1. Impatience

When you are impatient, you are unable to wait for something or someone and you openly show your discomfort caused by a delay. Depending on the temper, you can either get angry or simply upset. Impatience can make you take impulsive and irrational decisions that can hurt your well being.

  1. Indigestion

Mental discomfort can also lead to tummy troubles. Loss of appetite is very commonly associated with stress. You are never hungry and you don’t even feel like eating your favorite foods. Brain controls all the bodily functions and so mental exhaustion can lead to digestion system dysfunction, the symptoms of the same are bloating, inflammation and cramps.

  1. Sudden breakdowns

You unexpectedly burst into tears for no apparent reason. Crying is just an outlet of the emotions that have built up inside you and you haven’t paid any attention to them or you didn’t realise they were there in the first place. These emotions can be of loneliness, insecurity, dejection and what-not, depending on the person.

  1. Disconnection from reality

You start doubting everything and everyone because it all seems fake to you. It’s like you are not even connected to your own body and you are a complete outsider. Nothing makes you emotionally connect with your surroundings and you keep going on with your days without any feeling of connection.

  1. Emptiness

The feeling of having no purpose in life and it makes you want to give up everything. You are void of emotions and nothing seems to affect you, be it success or failure. You feel bored and you feel like you are all alone. Life seems meaningless.

Big Data and IoT Explained

How Big Data Influences Your IoT Solution

Technology has been advancing and lives are getting improved everyday now. Businesses are doing everything to exceed the expectations of their customers and IoT is the next promising step towards the same. Internet of Things, IoT in short, is a platform that collects and analyses data from our regular use appliances with the aid of the internet and gives out information to both the manufacturer and user. This information could be about the servicing that is required or a part that has become dysfunctional and needs to be replaced. The huge amount of data that is generated by these sensor equipped machines is called the Big Data (no surprise there, hopefully).

Big Data has always been present but in earlier times, it was simple and could be easily recorded on Excel spreadsheets and analysed as such. The type of data wasn’t as complex back then and it could be easily filled into the cells of spreadsheets. Now, however, the format of data that is being transmitted is not very fixed and it could be in forms like audio, video and pictures. This data cannot be collected and analysed by traditional programs. New softwares (Cloud) are getting developed that can help separate the valuable information and recognise the trends or patterns if there are any. Examples of the same can be seen in apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime when they give you recommendations on the basis of your previous watch.

The big data is characterised by 4 Vs: volume, velocity, variety and veracity. The volume of data could be trillions of gigabytes and has to be stored at multiple locations. The velocity of transmission and collection of data currently, is unprecedented. ‘Variety’ refers to the format of data that can be both structured and unstructured but equally important. Veracity or the accuracy of the set of data that has been generated by a source and needs to be verified in case of redundancy or just to check if the data is suitable for analysis by a particular software. The role of data analyst becomes important with this discussion and it will be the most sought after profession eventually.

IoT and Big Data are very similar but yet very distinct at the same time. IoT seeks to analyse the data when it is transmitted and the data then contributes to the Big Data. A company can use both the technologies at the same time. For example, a sensor in a car could emit a signal that the car is in need of servicing and the owner might get a notification reminder for the same. The data of the times all the cars of the same company required servicing can be stored and used for predictive analysis for newly manufactured cars. 

The integration of the two technologies can help the both consumer and seller in the long run. The businesses will make more profits as they will become more efficient in catering to the needs of their customer and the overall costs will get reduced as well. The customer might be hesitant at first, for the idea of their appliances tracking their usage behavior seems like invasion of privacy, but it will save their time and money in maintenance and replacement.

Decision Making 101: Opportunity Cost

How we make choices | TED Talks

Wherever we are and whatever we are doing currently, is the result of the decisions we have made in the past. You have chosen to read this article and not scroll past it or do something else like watching TV or taking a nap. You have consciously made a choice from an array of options that were in front of you. Opportunity cost is the loss of benefits that could be derived from the next best alternative once a choice has been made. By reading this article, you have forgone the pleasure that could have been derived from watching TV or energy that you’d have got from taking a nap.

Opportunity cost is a term in economics but it can be applied to almost every aspect of life and not just the things that can be measured in monetary terms. When an investor chooses to invest his money in a particular stock, the opportunity cost is the return on investment that he could have enjoyed if invested in a different stock. If that investor had an excess amount of funds, he could have invested in both the stocks but that sets things like money, time and even opportunities apart – they are limited. This elucidates the importance of making well thought out decisions.

People who are doing 9 to 5, 5-days a week jobs face difficulty in realising their opportunity costs because they have a fixed schedule and only do what they are told to. They barely make any decisions on their own and just do what their boss tells them to on a regular basis so when they finally see an opportunity to relax on weekend, they don’t look for alternatives and just go with the flow. In case of freelancers or businessmen, however, these people are much more conscious of what they lose when they decide to spend their limited resources in a particular activity. A tailor can easily sacrifice the amount of business he is sacrificing when he decides to go on a week long vacation.

Opportunity cost is everywhere and in everything we do. When a person with a job decides to party on saturday night and sleep in because it’s sunday, he gives up on the time that he could have spent with his family. When you decide to get an MBA from a named university and pay a hefty tuition fee for the same, you sacrifice not just the money but the time, 2 years in this case, that could have been spent in doing a job or learning a different skill. You still chose to go for an MBA and the reason could be because you can get a much better job that pays better than the one without an MBA. Basically, It is all about weighing your alternatives correctly and carefully.

Decision making process isn’t complicated but two of the most crucial steps are identification of alternatives, followed by thorough examination of each alternative. All the benefits that are derived from all the alternatives need to be compared and the one that seems the most satisfactory should be chosen. One can also weigh his options on the basis of what he would regret sacrificing the most.

Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

When a person is described with the word ‘intelligent’, what usually comes to our mind is high IQ, ‘he must do well in his subjects’ or ‘he must be good at math. What if I told you that having just a high IQ isn’t enough to become successful? Most people think that people who are good at studies or those who get good grades will do well in life but not every topper has an exceptional career – shining stars of a workplace could be average scoring students. The concept of emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is relatively new but very effective for one’s career if he or she is able to master it. 

Daniel Goleman popularized the term ‘emotional intelligence’ by authoring a book with the same name in 1996, defined it as ‘the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.’ The five components of emotional intelligence that an individual should familiarise himself with are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.

The ability to identify your emotions towards a particular person or a situation is called self-awareness and it forms the basis for the other higher level components. If one can accurately assess what he is feeling, it can be said that he knows himself from inside-out. Such an individual would also know his strengths and weaknesses and his emotional sensitivity towards different topics. Just knowing what you are feeling can help you control your expressions and actions to some extent. For an instance, if you don’t get a promotion you have been waiting for, as an emotionally unaware individual, you could be angry and make an impulsive decision of quitting the job. However, you could have a more positive outlook and try to improve yourself and work on what you are lacking. The latter would certainly be more beneficial for you.

Motivation is the drive that keeps one going and makes efforts to achieve his goals. To remain self-motivated, one must have a burning urge to reach the level of excellence and it should not be driven by mere external rewards like pay rise or promotion but own satisfaction. The goals that one is working towards should not intersect with organisational goals to avoid conflict of interest and inefficiency in turn. To cease every opportunity that one comes across and overcome any obstacle or setback with an optimistic approach are also qualities of self-motivated individuals.

Empathising with someone is the awareness of someone else’s feelings. To understand people and what makes them do what they do, recognizing their emotions is one of the most important and basic things and it even helps a person in regulating his behaviour towards the people that he is trying to understand. It is not easy and it cannot surely be accurate but it is something worth trying. A person can only fulfill the needs of customers and exceed the expectations of people if he is empathetic enough to recognise them.

Social skills, like the name suggests, are the ways in which a person interacts with the people that are surrounding him in both his work and personal life. The kind of relationships that he has with people is only a result of his social skills. Social skills make a person influential and good at communicating his ideas such that an individual can both lead and work as a member of a team effectively. The person is not only able to initiate and drive change if he wants to but also resolve conflict or disagreement that arises due to the change.