The year 2020 has been a problematic year, to say the least. From giving us one of the worst pandemics in history, to impacting economies and putting millions around the world out of a job, this year has been one of the worst in recent history.
We as individuals were forced to make new realizations in a world that was falling apart at the seams thanks to the insurmountable pressure of COVID-19. We learned that bad personal hygiene could bring entire countries to heel, ignorance cost could cost lives, and obeying simple social distancing and mask-wearing laws was apparently a big demand for many.
Businesses, just like individuals, were also forced to come to some new conclusions. Here are 5 things businesses had to come to terms with in 2020.
1. Remote working is no longer a luxury
Often a major point of contention between employers and employees, where it was often seen that remote working was a luxury that only a select few workers should be able to enjoy due to the top-down trustworthiness supposedly required, many businesses soon realized that with official lockdown orders going into effect worldwide, they would have no chance but to take their operations online and off-site.
For some, this was an easy move to make, depending on the sector. Companies like Facebook and Google allowed their employees to work from home full-time until mid 2021, while companies like Twitter allowed their staff to work from home “forever.”
While not all businesses, whether big or small, could make such a transition, it did finally prove however that remote working was a serious option for employees and not something management could easily brush aside like many usually would.
2. Video conferencing is here to stay
Every white collar company has likely used video conferencing tools in the past, opting for tools like Cisco or Skype. Enter 2020, and video conferencing has now become a necessity for many firms, so much so that companies like Zoom found new life during a year of economic slowdown and financial stagnation.
Today, video conferencing has become so ubiquitous in everyday life that it is even being used for weddings, late night family gatherings, and much more. Businesses stand to learn from these creative uses of video conferencing tech, and even simple uses of these tools stand to go a long way for both employers and employees.
3. E-commerce is no longer an option
Many brick and mortar stores were faced with a grim realization this year: if they didn’t put their wares online, they would very likely go bankrupt. Unfortunately, that was the case for many smaller businesses that understandably could not adapt to an e-commerce model (for financial reasons or otherwise). For those that could make the change, however, most of which were larger, more well-known retailers, they tapped an entirely new market that was waiting to be serviced.
Today, entire malls are offering their stores’ wares online in an effort to stay afloat. If you look at Amazon, which has had an unquestionably stellar year so far, you can understand why this is the right move to be making. With most consumers stuck at home with disposable income at hand, their spending will naturally turn online. Businesses quickly realized that it was time to adapt or fade into obsolescence.
4. Contactless mobile payments are more important than ever
Today, customers are averse to cash like never before. Even with a mask on and a hand sanitizer at the ready, why risk touching an item that has always been a hotbed for bacteria and viruses? Enter mobile payment solutions. Not exactly a new innovation by any means, laggard companies and countries that were slow to adopt this payment option had to briskly roll this out nationwide. After all, it’s faster, more convenient, and most importantly, much safer, so why not just offer customers a contactless mobile payment option when possible? Your customers will certainly appreciate it.
5. Mental health should be a priority of employers
During a year when millions of employees were forced to work from home en-masse, these workers reveling in their newfound freedom soon were faced by a new reality: burnout, loneliness and anxiety. Many bosses think that with employees working from home, every waking hour of the day is an hour their workers could and should be working, which is leading to increasing cases of burnout. Additionally, no amount of video conferencing can replace the value of face-to-face, social interactions between colleagues, team members and bosses. As a result of all these changes to the workplace social dynamic, employees are being faced with new mental health challenges more than ever.
Therefore, 2020 has taught companies and managers the importance of maintaining the mental health of their employees through counseling sessions, one-on-one informal conversations, consultations with management, and through frequent assessments to keep employers on top of these issues at all times.