Three Trends 2021 Won't Leave Behind
There are a lot of articles and blogs written about 2021 predictions by people forecasting changes due to the lessons learned from COVID. At our company, we’ve done the same with articles ranging topics from Navigating through Ethics and Compliance Solutions in the Time of COVID and Reopening Your Office, to HR and Compliance predictions for 2021.
When given the opportunity to write an article on top business and technology predictions for 2021, I decided to focus on three of the current trends I predict won’t change as we leave 2020 behind.
1. Realizing that companies are made of people with real lives, real issues, and real fears. This was a welcome departure from years prior when people were considered “resources” or “assets.” Like many companies, I saw employees lose loved ones to COVID and grieve, face anxiety and depression, and struggle to balance work commitments and being an elementary school teacher at their kitchen table. Our company, and many others, paused and realized these are people with real needs, real pain, and real worries. We need to make decisions that put our people first.
2. Accepting our responsibility towards each other and our community as a whole. Most people realized that masks are as much for our own protection as they are for the protection of others, so we wore them for the greater good. We turned as much of our support as possible to local businesses that were struggling. Maybe that meant the food wasn’t as hot by the time we got it home, or we had to stand in line (6’ feet apart) because the grocery store limited the number of customers allowed in, but we understood why we were doing it. We realized that we needed a healthy community – physically and economically – to be there when we finally turn the corner on this pandemic.
3. Remembering what telephones and postage stamps are for. My mother, who is 92, lives in an adult community that was shut down completely in March. She was alone and scared. We couldn’t visit her – she couldn’t even socially interact with other residents. So, I called her. I called her almost every day even if just to say, “Hi mom, I was thinking about you and wanted to call and check in and see how you are doing.” Not an email, a phone call. So she could hear my voice. I soon realized that it was equally so I could hear hers. We have spoken more in the past year than maybe in the past 10.
Stuck on the east coast when the shutdown hit, my wife of 35 years was stuck at home in California - apart for the longest amount of time since our marriage began. It wasn’t any special occasion that motivated me to buy cards (Hallmark has more cards online than they do in the stores!) and write notes of encouragement to her, put a stamp on them, and send them. She keeps those cards in the same box that she keeps the ones from decades ago when we were dating. I regret that there are not many in between. There won’t be a gap like that again.
Call it a hope if you like, but I predict we will look back in 2022 and realize we stuck to these changes. We will have continued to see our employees as people and caring for them will be our highest priority as leaders. We will have continued to come together to help heal our communities in every way we can. We remember to hold close those who should matter the most and who have been too often sidelined as a lower priority.