2020 started like any other year, with exciting plans for holidays, businesses, weddings, and events.
Then came the pandemic and lives were stopped firmly in their tracks.
The majority of planned events didn’t happen. And if they did, they were under very different circumstances, with limited numbers, social distancing and facemasks worn. Of course, it wasn’t just our plans that were impacted as businesses were forced to close their doors and the way of life we’re accustomed to was no longer possible.
It’s been tough, incredibly tough for some, with suffering, heartache and tragedy experienced in varying degrees. But we’ve made it this far. Individuals, families and communities have adapted and changed. We can be slow and often unwilling to change, however, 2020 has shown that, when we need to, we can quickly decide, respond and change. Decisions haven’t always been easy, palatable or positive but they’ve been made quickly and things have moved forward.
Businesses, in particular, had to make fast decisions. Many sent employees to work from home for the first time, while others took their first steps into the digital world. In fast-changing and unknown environments, need drove them to find new ways to deliver products and services, engage with customers, and support employees. Many succeeded, even though this meant having to adopt and implement approaches and models that would never previously have been considered.
But, if 2020 was the year of the unexpected, it was also the year of taking stock.
Over recent years, life has continually become more digital as we’ve gradually moved away from physical environments and face-to-face interactions to remote online engagement. The impact on physical entities such as high street retail has been increasing for a while and was widely expected to continue. But it took the pandemic to trigger a sizable, urgent shift from physical to digital.
This has caused some sectors to suffer terribly. It will probably take several years for the travel and airline industries to recover, and even then will it be as it was before?
For others, 2020 has accelerated growth. For example, streaming and gaming platforms saw massive increases in user engagement. Those that have taken stock, were in good health, could see where they needed to be, and reacted accordingly have come through, maybe a little different but still intact.
2020 wasn’t the year we expected, nor the year we wanted but, as we take time to reflect, it’s clear it’s also been a year that drove innovation, agility, and perseverance. All faced challenges, on both a personal and business levels, but many have endured, adapted, and emerged stronger than before.
Now, as we look towards 2021, we do so with hope that whatever the new year brings, we’ll enter it understanding what we need to do and with the experience, tools, agility, and resilience developed from this unexpected year.