Historically, “shots fired” usually signals the start of a conflict. However, in 2020, shots are being delivered, in the form of vaccines, and are offering a tense, hesitant sense of relief in America.
What a year it’s been. No doubt, “unprecedented”, “tumultuous”, “anomaly” are some words that evolved into the lede of your emails this year. While the vaccine appears to be promising, Americans can still expect to remain in various stages of lockdown for the better part of 2021. While things may not change drastically in 2021, we can enter this new year better prepared with the lessons we've learned in 2020.
For starters, we can begin the new year with an expanded vocabulary. Dictionary.com has offered a few other words that can aptly be used for current events.
Now, with almost a year of pandemic life changes under our belt, let’s see what we can expect in 2021.
Perhaps the biggest upheaval in “normal”, pre-Covid life was the move from office life to working from home. On Friday, March 13, most office employees left for home, expecting to be gone for a few weeks to a month. Now, December 2020, some offices have partially opened, but most employees still remain at home.
The trend has been moving towards remote work culture, however, with Covid restrictions forcing the majority of companies to switch to remote working, employees working remote has become the forced norm.
This means 2021 can expect to see a big investment in digital business solutions and infrastructure. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2023, Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) positions will have a 90% work from home rate.
Another change to remote working is that it opens the candidate pool up beyond local borders. With mandatory, in-office presence going the way of the dodo, I&O organizations expect to shift focus on critical skills rather than critical roles within the organization. (Gartner) With a flexible range of skills present, organizations can retain flexibility and increase resilience. This shift also lends itself to the evolution of a more collaborative workplace as opposed to a territorial workplace.
Another effect of working from home is more personal time. Research shows employees that commute to work can spend up to a year of their lives doing so. Imagine what can be done with that time that has been given back. You can spend more time making fresh meals at home, thus saving money on eating out, as well as nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods. You have more time to spend with family before and after work, or more time to serve your community. Make a few small personal goals this year and use your reclaimed time to work on necessary self care.
Greater Attention to Social Change
In a year rife with tumult, consumers have been hit with brand messaging more than ever. This unusual period in American history has given businesses the opportunity to connect with consumers on a level that demonstrates their understanding of a greater social responsibility.
It may seem odd to encourage businesses to take a stand and get involved in the socio-political landscape. However, “brands have an inherent ability to reshape people’s views and habits. They have decades of experience convincing consumers to do just that” writes Myriam Sidibe for Entrepreneur.com. A consumer survey conducted by Deloitte found that 55% of respondents believe that businesses have a responsibility to take a stand, or create a purpose, and take action.
With 2020 winding down and 2021 upon us, now is a great time to take stock of your business and where it stands in terms of its brand story and its mission. More and more, younger consumers are looking to engage with brands that also consider their impact on the greater good. For example, Procter and Gamble became a “force for good and a force for growth.” As the umbrella for SEVERAL brands, this is a general enough phrase for specific brands to encompass a niche area of socio-political good.
Data and analytics can provide useful information in communicating with consumers as well. Expect more personalized communication and greater attention to user behavior on digital platforms. This data can be used to adjust communications or user experiences.
Companies can also focus on improving their ESG to enhance sustainability efforts, promote long-term growth and create a stronger brand for the future. Verb’s spent a lot of time and effort in 2020 working on improving its ESG, and we can’t wait to do more in 2021.
What are your company’s goals for the new year? We’d love to hear about them! Drop us a comment below, on social, or email us.