In 2020, change was forced upon us with incredibly little warning as the very way we worked was disrupted by Covid-19. Companies had to adapt overnight to keep things running smoothly. There were some bumps in the road along the way, but overall work still happened, progress was made, and we’ve learned to adapt to new ways of working and living all at once.
A few trends stand out as being the very definition of work in 2020, and they’ll also continue as we head into 2021.
The biggest disruption of all was the instant shift to remote work. Temporary shutdowns turned from from weeks into months, with some corporations abandoning their offices altogether and others extending remote work policies well into 2021.
Employees have been asking their employers for flexibility for years, but companies were hesitant to make remote work an option as they worried that it would affect productivity and bring about other unknown challenges. This was a worldwide experiment that proved those theories wrong. There’s still valuable in working together in an office, but it doesn’t have to be 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday.
What was once a tool that was used sporadically became the lifeline of teams and organizations. Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet quickly became the default way for teams to work together. Zoom managed to carve out the largest piece of the pie, being used not only for work but for education as well. Beyond the workplace, it became the place to socialize and stay in touch with friends and family.
We learned to embrace disruptions from our kids, family, and roommates. We found welcome distractions when a pet popped onto the screen to say hello. We got glimpses of what other people’s houses looked like and spent too much time trying to decipher the titles on a bookshelf. All of these things served as reminders that we’re all human and we’re all going through the challenges together.
A newly coined term in 2020, zoom fatigue is a new form of burnout. It turns out that there are only so many hours in a day that we can stare at people’s faces in tiny boxes on a screen before we just can’t do it anymore. Another big part of Zoom fatigue is that suddenly you spent hours every day staring at yourself, which is anything but natural. A quick tip to make that a thing that stays in 2020 – you can choose to hide self-view on Zoom, so that others can see you but you don’t see yourself.
Location became less important.
With remote work, you’re able to live anywhere as long as you have power and an internet connection. Some people relocated to cheaper locales for more space and less financial burden, while others headed off to their dreams of working from a beach in Mexico. Global teams have been working this way for years, it just became far more mainstream in 2020.