Expecting Change I: The Commute
The term “New Normal” might be novel, but what it implies might hit closer to home than we’d expect. Changes are slowly taking place, replacing aspects of life that’s previously familiar to us with things that are entirely… new (as the name suggests).
If you’re planning to take your first bold step outside, there’s wisdom in preparing for what might be awaiting. For us at GoWork, mental preparedness is especially important, since we want you to get through your daily routine as easily as you did before the crisis.
In that spirit, we’ve predicted several changes that might take place in our daily work life. Our team has researched and brainstormed, and these are the few changes that we believe are most likely to take place.
It’s no stranger to us all that the culture of mask-wearing can easily be affixed to many Asian countries. If you’ve been to Japan, then you must be familiar with not being able to see the lower half of people’s faces most of the time, especially in Spring, when pollen’s filling the air.
The reason why Japanese people wear masks is also why Japanese toilets are so clean: they don’t want to increase the risk of contagion. Besides fashion-related reasons, the Japanese people put on their masks as soon as they feel symptoms coming up.
Wearing masks in public is not just common courtesy – it’s a survival strategy for a group of people packed into a relatively small metropolitan area. It’s embedded in their social norms and culture – and in a country where respect is the most prevalent currency, you don’t want to forget covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze.
We can only hope that this change organically gestates in Indonesia. Jakarta’s density is roughly similar to that of the Greater Metropolitan area of Tokyo. If Jakartans don’t pick this up quickly enough, we’re going to be living in a Petri dish that’s perfect for microbial culture.
The ubiquity of designer masks
The insidious nature of the coronavirus means that masks have to serve as a two-pronged line of defense as opposed to its traditional role. Startups are redesigning masks to become more efficient and effective, as hospitals are now using and throwing away single-use masks more frequently than ever.
Ministry of Supply, for example, is 3D-printing masks using viscose, a material that fits snugly onto the face (to the point that it’s hugging it), but also highly breathable at the same time. In this sense, masks have reached the point of importance that there’s the need to develop high-performance variants of it, and it’s only getting started.
3D-printed masks are going to be the next common designer fashion articles most people have and will covet. Probably to the point that it’s just as desirable as designer sneakers. It covers the lower half of your face, so might as well, right?
Changes in Public transportation
Despite the warnings issued by the government concerning viral transmissions in enclosed, public spaces, Jakarta’s public transport system seems to still be overcrowded. In fact, the new government regulation and protocols is actively obstructing the ease of access for people that should have prioritized their safety above all else.
How did this happen? Jakarta’s day population is much higher than its nightly counterpart. In fact, there are 1.38 people that commute into the city every day. Workers commute from the peripheral cities: Bekasi, Bogor, Depok, and Tangerang. When these people are faced with limitations on their only transport option, there’d be blockages in the procedure.
If you’re one of the commuters, then you better plan your trip around the changes that’s instituted on methods of transportation.
Limiting the number of passengers on a trip is expected, you should also be aware of transit schedules. To reduce the number of people moving in and out of the city, the government’s limiting the number of trips per day. KRL, Jakarta’s only commuter train service, is reducing its daily trips, from 991 to 761. However, the number of people riding it only decreases by a marginal amount. People are still crowding trains, as it is the cheapest way to commute from peripheral cities.
The system might change, but not the needs and demands. Until the governments can prepare a legitimately safe alternative for commuters, it’s better to adjust your work hours to avoid the morning commuter crowds.
Those are some of our predictions for the New Normal of commuting. Thinking about finding a safe, clean workspace to work in that’s also convenient?
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