Since 2010, it has been an eventful decade for the citizens of Bangladesh. Witnessing the boom of wifi internet, e-commerce platforms, social media, and smartphones, the possibilities seemed endless as time went by.

Of course, that statement still stands true amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19. In an ongoing pandemic world, the people of Bangladesh have learned how to adapt to most of the adversities they face. Some better than the others.

With the current global crisis, the repercussions are manifold. Every decision we make, no matter how small, has to be conscious and intended for a greener, more hygienic future. So did we, the people, really faced the practical and grittier issues that come with the pandemic?

How can one stay sane if one’s newsfeed is bombarded with negative and fake news? How can one stay productive if one doesn’t know to balance the work and personal life? How can one stay calm if one is being subjected to domestic abuse?
Read on to empower yourself with the pearls of wisdom from a bunch of expert professionals from a diverse backgrounds.

Balance Work & Personal Life

MAHZABIN FERDOUS, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CONCITO PR SHEDS HER LIGHT ON HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME AND BEING PRODUCTIVE

The office is not just a place designed for work, it’s also an essential playground for the social creatures that we are. The physical dimension of our work relations is more important to our mental health than we know. But, the current pandemic has turned video-conferencing into a vital tool for both work and personal communication, rendering the space we usually allocate for trying to achieve peace of mind i.e. our homes, into a war zone. For this to work from home and attending official meetings while achieving work-life balance and gaining professional confidence as a remote employee requires a certain mindset. Focus and management are key; with all sorts of potential distractions from family members. And when you are done preparing mentally for official meetings make sure you communicate with family members; it helps! And last but not least, login into the allocated platform being used for official meetings ahead of time, to identify any potential discrepancies.
In a period of crisis, generally, almost everyone is exposed to stress and anxiety. Especially now; with Corona wreaking havoc across the whole world, and death and uncertainty circling us, each day.
Everyone is scared of this uncertainty, and it can grow heavy on you causing you to lose momentum. To keep my team on their best morales I always ensure that they know-the well-being of them and their families is what I prioritise. Apart from the professional discussion, I always inquire about them and their family’s well-being.
Since, my team is mostly comprised of Millenials – a demographic that has redefined interactive communication in the digital era; so even with ‘work-from-home’ becoming an actual thing, it was convenient to work with them and keep in touch.
We actually had an online Iftar Party during Ramadan, where we enjoyed each other’s company from the comfort of our homes, followed by an online ‘salami session’ during EID. These are the kind of things I indulge in, with my team; humanising them and replenishing their energy in the process.
Although the coronavirus has kept us physically apart, we are staying virtually connected. It can be hard not to have your entire day consumed by technology. While technology and screens are helping us to stay connected; excessive screen time can be detrimental to anyone’s’ health. Now that we are spending a lot of time online, it has become essential to take a break from those screens. To reduce my screen time I usually try to allocate a certain amount of time each day for digital detoxes. NO electronics for half an hour! Since I have been away from the city for quite a while now, and currently surrounded by nature; staying active has helped me to reduce my screen time. Tending to your hobbies, quality time with kids, household chores can reduce your screen time and optimise your mental health.
Usually, during my leisure time, I love reflecting back on my day spent. It is actually a way to learn more about oneself and make adjustments to grow. This practice or hobby of mine has allowed me to learn, realise, and fix a problem that usually happens again and again. I work with so many ventures, and reflecting back on things has helped me to develop those ventures efficiently. Especially during this lockdown, it has helped me to reshape my ideas in terms of execution with the ever-changing dynamics of the current world.
When you’re feeling unmotivated and low in energy it’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing something. Pessimism can drain both your motivation and energy. But the positive and constructive way of looking at things can, on the other hand, energise and recharge your motivation.
To keep me motivated I start pondering on the things I sometimes take for granted but is actually a privilege. For example- What are 3 things I sometimes take for granted but can be grateful for in my life? My answers would, for example, be a roof over my head, clean water and not having to go hungry. I start feeling grateful and my energy is replenished. All we need is perspective!
When you are down you should always remember! Nature never stops operating. The sun comes up, it goes down, regardless of the storms that brew within it. This feeling shall pass too! Change is inevitable.

Avoid  Negative  Thoughts

WITH THE MOMENTARY RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE, ESPECIALLY DURING THE CURRENT CORONA PANDEMIC, STUMBLING OVER TOXIC POSTS SEEMS TO BE A CONSTANT PHENOMENON. HOWEVER, NEEDLESS TO MENTION, THE IMPORTANCE OF AVOIDING THESE VILE POSTS ARE NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. THE TOXICITY OF THESE POSTS NOT ONLY RUINS THE MENTAL PEACE BUT ALSO IMPACTS PHYSICAL HEALTH. GHULAM SUMDANY DON, PROFESSIONAL CORPORATE TRAINER HERE ORATES FEW TIPS ON HOW TO AVOID SUCH A NEGATIVE ECOSYSTEM:

Zone out from aggressive people

Some people get too comfortable to humiliate others with the veil of the screen. Others are just passive-aggressive to even get caught in this very list. So the best action to take is to avoid them completely in social media, even if they belong to the close circle.

Unfollow, mute or hide the negative influence

If zoning out completely seems like a difficult task to do, unfollow them. That way one can keep the social relationships intact while also marching for their own mental peace.

Restrict the audience on their own page

Some social media friends are truly friends with benefits or stalkers in disguise. To avoid negative energy from them, we can simply restrict their actions on our own page and refuse to engage with them.

Limit the use

Every time we get a like or comment, the release of dopamine gets us caught. However, if we really want to keep our mental health intact, the temptation of over the usage needs to be controlled. We can substitute the urge of getting noticed by connecting with only well-wishers instead. We can also get involved in other hobbies that interest us.

Avoiding is the best solution

Even after doing all the above, you might get religious, political, or posts where people are finding faults and humiliating others. Just like mass media where you cannot control the outflow from the TV, but you can change the channel – sometimes social media is the same. Do not open an inbox video if the title or look and feel indicates something negative.

The purpose of social media is never served with these unpleasant posts and communication that develops with every single incident in our surroundings. Since the system can never ensure the positive flow of information, we must act for the sake of our own well-being.

Prevent Domestic Abuse

FARZANA MAHMOOD, BARRISTER-AT-LAW AND ONE OF THE CO-FOUNDERS AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BANGLADESH MANOBADHIKAR O PORIBESH ANDOLON FOUNDATION (BAMAPA) ORATES AGAINST THE RISE OF DOMESTIC ABUSE AMID COVID-19 AND STRESSES ON THE WAYS TO CURBING IT.

Women have been the subject of abuse regardless of their age, class and qualifications for years. Sadly under this term is not only limited to sexual abuse. The alarmingly increasing rate of domestic violence is so palpable that it renders women unsafe even within their own homes, a place where they should feel the safest.

Along with physical violence, abuse against women includes psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional traumas. Thus, a broader definition of violence against women would include controlling behaviour, subordination, exploitation, disempowerment, deprivation, sexual and physical violence, and the threat of physical violence, etc. To make matters worse, the rise of COVID-19 has increased the violence against women around the world and Bangladesh is no exception.

In Japan, the sexual and physical violence against women, including the volunteers working increased drastically in the aftermath of earthquakes in 1997 and 2010. United Nations (UN) states that violence against women has increased by more than 25% in several regions worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Spain, during the first two weeks of the lockdown, the helpline for domestic violence received 18 per cent more calls than usual. According to Manusher Jonno Foundation, apart from more than 300 incidents of domestic abuse and violence, 36 rape incidents occurred in March in three districts of Bangladesh.

In the case of domestic violence, the perpetrator is usually the closest family member or the husband of a woman sharing the same. Women who were already living in an abusive relationship or with abusive family members before the disaster may experience an increase in violence during the disaster and post-disaster period. It is not unlikely that women with symptoms of Coronavirus would be subjected to negligence and more abuse by the abusive partner.

When there is less contact with family or society, women are further cut off from the support that is available in normal time, this helps to exacerbate domestic violence. In our social set up if the perpetrators are financially vulnerable it is customary that they will demand dowry from their in-laws. Long term effects of the financial crisis may also lead to early marriage or forced marriage of underage girls children. In the context of complex and prolonged natural disasters apart from domestic violence, women and children are vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse. Widows, single or divorced women are more prone to vulnerability and exploitation during the time of natural calamity. If COVID-19 is prolonged it will make thousands of people, including women, jobless and they will face dire poverty.

Talking about violence against women in Corona is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Prevention and redress of violence against women should be a key part of all of our response plans for COVID-19.

Television channels and radios can help sensitise people about the harmful effects of domestic abuse. Our existing helplines can be made more visible by the electronic media to inform women how to contact the police and one-stop crisis centres. Healthcare professionals, police, and other frontline workers should be more vigilant about violence against women keeping in mind that the lockdown has made it twice difficult for women to report cases of violence. Last but not least, financial institutions and banks can lend the distressed women a helping hand by providing them with an emergency loan for a single time, amounting to 3,000-10,000 taka with low interest and extended time for repayment. Keeping the women economically independent can enhance their safety and reduce abuse during the time of natural calamity.

It’s easier said than done but the good news is that a change is taking place. It might be slow, but the amount of awareness that’s been going on will surely help make the world a better place for women very soon.

Ace Working from Home

PORNI MAZUMDER, MANAGER, HR & ADMIN (HEAD OF HR) AT MARKS & SPENCER BDSO SHARES HER TIPS ON HOW TO SCORE A GOOD VIRTUAL JOB INTERVIEW WHILE BEING STUCK AT HOME.

As the years have gone by, hunting for jobs has evolved into a form of competition and a game of wits and skills. In such circumstances, screening of applicant has become less personal and more cost-effective these days. Likewise, the technology continues to evolve making companies adopt new innovations that save time and increase efficiency. In toady’s world, you won’t find many who haven’t use Skype, Zoom or Google hangouts either for personal or professional reason. In fact, these apps helped many recruiters to reach a more diverse, global group of candidates within a cost-effective way to screen prospective hires.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many professionals are now working from home thus bringing new importance on virtual interviews. In current times, it is now a necessity since traditional interview can’t take place face-to-face.
On the other hand, the virtual interview isn’t a new trend, it has been in the industry for quite some time because they require much less preparation for both the interviewee and the interviewer. Holding virtual interviews can help candidates feel more comfortable, allowing them to offer more natural answers.

However, whether you are a fresher or an aspiring job holder who’s looking for a better opportunity, you should always keep in mind the following points to crack a virtual job interview.

Be on time and test your equipment beforehand. As we know, a virtual interview requires tools like a computer with a webcam, microphone, software programs like zoom, skype or google hangout and most importantly a reliable internet connection. Check all of your technology to ensure it works effectively and can be used to communicate efficiently at least a day before your interview.

Make sure you wear professional attire. Look your best! You should dress the same as you would in a face-to-face interview. Doing so not only makes you appear professional but also excited and confident about the opportunity.
Look directly into the camera and not at the screen or monitor to make good eye contact. Just like a face-to-face interview having good eye contact will always make a difference. It is so important to utilize body language in a clear, professional way. For example, if you get a question that is unexpected, make sure to stay controlled and take a moment to collect your thoughts.

If you haven’t heard or understood any questions, don’t be afraid to ask for a question to be repeated. It’s always better to clarify. Also, pause before answering a question to be sure the interviewer has finished speaking. Moreover, unlike face-to-face interview, you could be easily distracting in a virtual interview thus turn off your TV, cell phone or other gadgets.

It’s impossible to predict what a hiring manager will ask you but just like a face-to-face interview, you should brace yourself with some common interview questions like what’s your strength, weaknesses, your domain knowledge, the reason for leaving your previous job or you could be even asked to sing a song. Remember, it’s not always answering correctly rather sometimes how smartly you react to a certain question matters most.
Finally, today or tomorrow this coronavirus pandemic will be over but we’re more than certain working from home is the future. Because due to land shortages and uplifting real estate pricing, it’s turning out to be impossible for large corporations to open up offices at multiple locations. On the other hand, workers can easily eliminate long commutes and stay more productive by working at home. As well as, permitting employees to work from home has shown excellent results in talent retention and lower staff attrition. Therefore, even though a certain group of professionals will be continuing in the filed or offices but a major part of the workforce will be joining this new change with time.

Ensure Mental Wellbeing

TAWHIDA SHIROPA, FOUNDER AND CEO OF MONER BONDHU POINTS OUT THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING FIT AND CALM MENTALLY AND HOW CAN ONE BRING A POSITIVE CHANGE THROUGH SELF-COUNSELLING.

Staying calm and confident is probably the most urged demand to fight back the COVID-19. But how can we do both at any time of the day where the numbers of coronavirus positive cases flash in front of our eyes and especially when our loved ones are suffering through the deadly virus? The best way to hold your patience is to practise mindfulness, which is paying attention to the present moment and accepting what you are sensing and feeling without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other techniques to relax the body and mind and reduce your stress.
The COVID-19 outbreak has spread fear and frustration worldwide at the starting of the year 2020. On January 30th, the WHO classified the novel coronavirus as a Pandemic, a global public health emergency. Coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Bangladesh in March 2020 and the number of cases is gradually increasing day by day.
Fear and panic are deteriorating people’s well-being to fight Coronavirus. Globally, the need for mental health and psychosocial support services are well-recognised like never before. How can you practice mindfulness? How can we reduce our fear and panic? How can we spend each of our days with good practices? Well, it’s simple and doable. First practice comes with breathing exercises; observe your breathing, watch and follow with your inhales and exhales. Appreciate your every breath that keeps you alive. The second practice is doing mediation and yoga exercises. Love your body and accept the way you are.

Sometimes, just do imagery exercises and maybe progressive muscle relaxation. Do not forget to follow mindful eating. Then, ask yourself are we spending quality time with our loved ones? Focus on gratitude. Express gratitude to anyone who has shown an act of kindness. Revive all your hobbies, and continue them with care. Staying home doesn’t stop us being adventurous. Be creative and find ways to be adventurous. List all the favourite books and movies that you couldn’t read or watch earlier. Why not utilize some time to fulfil that bucket-list?

Finally, we need to process our mind to contain accurate information and definitely not bombard it with too much information. Know that your mind has a certain level of capacity to utilise the information you hear and read. Lower down your screen time and the time you spend on watching and reading the news regarding the COVID-19. Make sure to list some authentic sources you think that offer the verified information. Let’s not accept anything and everything we find in social media. Let’s do reasoning and fact-checking before we share with the next person.

In case of any serious mental health issues such as severe depression, overwhelming stress, acute fear, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts do not consider yourself to be alone. Sometimes, you might feel the need to share your thoughts and feelings to someone who is nonjudgmental, who will follow an ethical code of conduct and maintain high confidentiality. Do not hesitate to ask for professional help or expert advice. Write to us, reach out to Moner Bondhu which is working dedicatedly since 2016 to provide affordable and accessible mental health counselling.

Inbox our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AskMonerBondhu/or simply call us at +8801776632344.

Become a Better E-Shopper

IN THE ERA OF THE “NEW NORMAL” CONSUMERS ARE PREFERRING TO STAY HOME THAN GOING OUT TO BUY EVERY UTILITY AND GROCERY HAVE EASILY TRANSITIONED THEMSELVES INTO THE CITIZENS OF THE E-COMMERCE WORLD. THE BOOM OF E-COMMERCE GOT EVEN MORE PROMINENT AMID THE SPREAD OF COVID-19. THE APPEAL OF EASE, CONVENIENCE, HASSLE-FREE AND NOT TO MENTION SAFE TRANSACTIONS HAVE HOOKED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS IN BANGLADESH. HOWEVER, THERE ALWAYS COMES A POINT WHERE WE HAVE FACED AN ONLINE DELIVERY WHICH DIDN’T GO AS PLANNED IN YOUR MIND. YOU EITHER RECEIVED YOUR GOODS IN A DAMAGED PACKAGE OR SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T ORDER TO BEGIN WITH. KEEPING THAT IN MIND, TASMIA MUSTAFA ZUMANA THE EXECUTIVE COPYWRITER OF DARAZ BANGLADESH LTD SHARES SOME TIPS ON HOW TO BE A RESPONSIBLE E-SHOPPER.

To shop smarter and make the wisest purchase decisions in Daraz here we provide you with 5 golden rules:

The Right Keyword

To find the right product, one must type the correct keyword or the exact product name on the Daraz App search bar. It will take the customers to their desired products, in case of any confusion, one can follow the keyword suggestions as well.
How to Find the Authentic Seller? When you search for your desired product, you get to see the same product at different prices. It is because different sellers are selling at different prices, hence creating real tension. To get rid of your confusion, you should select the product from Daraz mall official store, where you will be privileged by 100% authentic product with 14 days easy return facility, because Daraz mall keeps the finest collection from the most trustworthy and certified seller across the country.

The Right Product

There are several ways to ensure that you are buying authentic products:
Browse products through Daraz Mall- The first and probably the easiest way to ensure you come across the genuine product on Daraz is to shop from Daraz mall on the app.
Look out the Daraz mall logo while browsing the website- whenever you search for a product, you will see certain product results display a thin blue bar above their name. These are the certified genuine products from Daraz mall.
In addition to the Daraz mall banner/badge, you also have the option of filtering your search result by checking the D’mall logo just below the product picture.

The Right Review & Rating

To select a good quality product, you also have to keep an eye on the product rating. Once you are ensured with 5-star marks it’s time to check some necessary data regarding the product authenticity as well as return and warranty policy. After that, you should look into product reviews to ensure the expected positive experience from the satisfied customers. Also, you can find a question-answer section between the seller and the customers and a live chat section where it will be easier to locate any disadvantage or advantage related to the product.

The Right Voucher

Daraz offers countless exciting vouchers during every campaign. Using a Daraz voucher you can avail the discount and lower the actual product price. Customers can also avail bank discounts and cashback facilities through the payment partners from particular campaigns.