2020 is just about over and for the most part there is a collective sigh of relief. COVID-19 left no-one untouched – education to professional sport, healthcare and the economy. Despite this there are some reasons to be positive about 2020. Before we step forward into 2021 let’s reflect on what we have accomplished, with some ingenuity and teamwork, in 2020.
The move to remote working was probably the biggest change in 2020 for most businesses, and the speed at which this change was accomplished was staggering. In truth, the technology necessary to support remote working has been available for some time. So now that we’ve done it, is remote working here to stay? Remote working or flexible working has many benefits – better work life balance for employees, cost benefits for businesses in terms of real estate and services, and increases in productivity due to less time spent commuting. Perhaps another positive of remote working is that the need to remain socially connected, even at work, is suddenly greater than ever and once employees return to the office, they really appreciate it.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and COVID-19 has certainly changed the way we do business, perhaps forever. Since the pandemic, robotics and digital technology have become more commonplace and companies that adapted quickly to the challenges were the winners.
In New Zealand, there was also a huge movement towards buying local products and supporting local businesses, rather than buying imported products or purchasing from the big conglomerates. Chooice.co.nz, a great example of this, started life in lockdown as a Facebook group for Kiwis to share New Zealand made products, and is now a fully online shop, allowing local producers to sell their wares nationwide.
In Australia, the Small Business Development Corporation has a great blog about how small businesses have innovated and adapted to the changing times.
It is widely acknowledged around the world that New Zealand’s team of 5 million have led the way in managing the pandemic. If you look deeper there are more amazing examples of collaboration. Supermarkets employed out of work travel staff, including cabin crew, gin distilleries around the world started producing hand sanitiser, and closer to home neighbours helped each other out – not just to beat the virus or make a few dollars, but because it was the right thing to do. When was the last time we saw this level of country-wide and even global collaboration?
Tourism was one of the first casualties of the global pandemic. In New Zealand, there has been a huge movement amongst Kiwis to travel New Zealand and appreciate what it has to offer. Travel bans prompted many campervan suppliers to offer once in a lifetime deals and many of the ski resorts in the South Island reported record visitor numbers in the July holidays. During lockdown there was a worldwide group set up on Facebook – ‘view from my window’. Originally starting as a small idea it grew to have over 2.2m followers and there is now a book available of photos from around the world. As a traveller it’s easy to forget that we don’t always need to travel– some of the best holidays can be had just around the corner or even in your back garden, and COVID-19 has definitely reminded us of this!
Around the world lockdowns are reducing emissions and it’s hard to believe how incredibly quiet it is without cars and planes. There is hope that the movement to buy and support local businesses will also continue to support the environment. The other good news for the climate is the speed at which we adapted to change for COVID-19. When the pandemic is over let’s hope that we can make some real changes for climate change too, backed by science.
Working collaboratively, thinking creatively, solving problems and adapting rapidly to change have been some of the key reasons to be positive about 2020. When faced with adversity, with some ingenuity and perseverance we can make the changes necessary to be successful.
Looking forward to 2021
In the spirit of collaboration, flexible working and incorporating technology, if you would like to discuss more about how The Back Room can help your business in 2021, contact us.