2020 has definitely been a challenging year for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their homes and resulted in worldwide economic instability. Millions of people lost their lives, businesses had to close down and a number of people lost their jobs whereas many others have been working or studying from home since early 2020. In addition, there have also been many other world events which have effected millions of people around the globe.
I am sure that we have all learnt a lot of lessons from such a tumultuous year after having had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ of social distancing, remote working and online studies. Taking all of that into account, below is a list of lessons that I think we should all take away from the crazy year that was 2020:
Things don’t always go according to plan
I am sure we all had grand plans for 2020 which had to change or got put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, none of us intended to spend most of 2020 in our homes away from friends and family. So probably the most important thing we can take away from this year is that sometimes things just don’t go according our plans and that’s ok!
Life does not need to be a ‘rat race’ all the time
The next important lesson that we should take into 2021 is that sometimes its ok to slow down, be patient and appreciate the finer things in life. We can achieve a balance between work and life if we just prioritize the right things and not try to run towards life’s next milestone as soon as the previous one is done.
Employees can be trusted to get their work done from anywhere
Probably the most important thing that employers and managers have learnt this year is that people can be trusted to get their work done irrespective of where they are physically. Remote working is here to stay and organizations will have to adapt accordingly.
People can be flexible with their time when working from home
Connected to the previous point is the fact that people can be more flexible with their time when they are able to work from home. While they may still be working the 8 hour day, however, it doesn’t necessarily need to be 9 to 5.
Everyone should prioritize their mental health over everything else
2020 has been challenging and difficult for a lot of people due to personal and professional losses. Therefore, this year has emphasized the importance of managing our mental health specially when working remotely as the lines between work and life can often become blurred. It is important that we keep our stress levels in check and don’t let the pressure of work impact us in a negative manner.
Keeping in touch with family and friends is extremely important
Connected to the previous point is the importance of keeping in contact with family and friends specially elderly relatives or those that might be living alone. It is also important that we are kind to everyone during such unprecedented times because none of us know what others may be going through.
It is absolutely wonderful to spend time with your kids
This one is specific to parents of young children who have perhaps learned (or re-learned) that spending time with our children is absolutely priceless. The lockdowns provided parents with the opportunity to become their children’s teachers, friends, yoga instructors, doctors and therapists all at once. It was exhausting and enjoyable all at the same time!
Children are resilient and adults need to learn from them
If you think you’ve had a tough year then think about the kids whose world completely changed as schools were closed, meeting friends was not allowed and parents had to work from home. But if there is one thing that I have seen this year is that kids are resilient and can adapt much quicker than adults. After a few difficult weeks at the start of the pandemic, kids were more than happy to study from home and have video playdates with their friends. They were also the first people back to normal life when schools reopened in many countries during the latter half of the year.
It is never too late to learn or do something new
A lot of people used the time this year to learn a new skill or take on a new hobby that they had been meaning to do for years. It is never too late for anything so if you are still thinking about taking on a new challenge in 2021 then this might be your time to shine.
Video calls can be exhausting!
Lastly, this has been the year of social distancing and video calls but we all learned that “Zoom fatigue” is real and video calls can be exhausting. Let’s aim for more audio calls, emails and chats in 2021!
About the author:
Faraz Hasan is a Chartered Accountant with over 15 years of experience in accounting, finance, auditing and assurance. He is a father to 2 boys and is currently based in Dublin, Ireland. You can learn more about him through his LinkedIn profile.