Maintaining a balance of positivity and realism in 2021.

Returning to work in 2021

Ahead of many people returning to work tomorrow, I’d like to take the opportunity to highlight a somewhat different outlook for the year ahead, whilst also reflecting on the year just gone by.

Before we look ahead to 2021, it’s important that we look back on 2020. For many, it has been the most challenging year of their entire lives. For others, they may have experienced positivity in the midst of adversity… as well as everything in-between.

Learnings

It’s very easy to look back at the year with negativity and for good reason, but if there’s one reason to try to be positive, it is because of the learnings that we have acquired.

Equality, diversity, mental health, empathy, physical health, and the environment have all been widely discussed during this past year, and whilst it seems that we still have a long way to go in all aspects, we have also made significant strides toward a better world.

It is often difficult to retain a high degree of positivity when the news and social media channels continue to tell of how awful everything continues to be. Not to mention the fake news littering the airwaves and concern over our data being used to manipulate our behaviours.

With this said, we need to be careful to not set our expectations artificially high either.

What can we expect in 2021?

At the current rate of approximately 300,000 vaccinations per week, it will take approximately 4.26 years (222 weeks) to vaccinate the entirety of the UK population (66.6 million people), this isn’t factoring in mutations and anyone not accepting the vaccine.

With the government stating that all over 50s (approx. 19.3 million) need to be vaccinated before a degree of normality can be reached, this would take just over 64 weeks, which puts us to March 2022. Being optimistic, yet realistic and anticipating a 2x increase of vaccinations, this would still be 32 weeks, which puts us to mid-August 2021. These aren’t exact stats but merely estimates.

Working to realistic timescales is imperative, both in terms of mental well-being, as this provides an ability to have a vision for the future, but also economically, as it allows for businesses to budget and forecast effectively.

Admittedly, it is difficult for the government to state for certain, however, in times like these, ambiguities aren’t always beneficial, but neither is unrealistic expectation setting.

With this said, the government isn’t solely responsible. They could set more stringent restrictions, but there would inevitably be a view from some that this is too controlling. There is also a negative impact on an increased number of businesses. Fewer restrictions would also have a negative impact. Either way, being on the receiving end of ad-hoc and everchanging decision-making is rarely a good experience for anyone.

Balancing the NHS capacity, providing government-funded support without increasing taxes, and keeping businesses afloat to ensure people are in jobs, whilst also attempting to maintain all normal day-to-day government activities is a challenge that I’m in no way envious of. If increased empathy is a learning of this past year, then this should be extended to not only those in the NHS but also those in government, who continue to make many unseen sacrifices and balance more responsibility than many will ever experience.

Often, in times like these, especially during the pandemic, it is seen as the government who are to blame, when in fact, it is everyone in society, that has a shared and equal responsibility to keep this virus under control.

It is not only empathy that should be applied here, but an ambition to continue to improve the world in which we live. So let’s instead focus on what individuals can do to improve the outlook as we move in 2021.

During 2020, Novi has provided additional support to help accommodate with the affects of COVID-19, including increased business support, enhanced payment terms, more flexible contracts, free training sessions and much more. For our employees, we have given bonuses, provided increased levels of support and involved everyone in the direction of the company, even further than ever before.

What does the future hold for businesses?

We are likely to see more entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, which we will continue to support in any way we can. With businesses focused on equality, diversity, environment, safety supplies, or mental health, we will offer a number of options from 50% off fees, as well as a free 1-hour consultancy/training session, or a free SEO or PPC audit. For employees, we will have put in place further performance bonus options, further training in areas such as crisis, risk, resilience, and more.

For me personally, I’m looking forward to seeing all of the innovation that will continue to arise as a result of these more challenging times. Out of adversity comes opportunity and I look forward to continuing to expand upon such opportunities throughout the coming year.

Let’s all take our learnings from this past year and carry them forward into 2021, let’s be inclusive, let’s be kind, let’s look after our environment, and let’s continue to invent, innovate and learn from our mistakes.