2020 has been an unexpected challenge, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that has swept around the world. Amidst the hardships, however, there have been some amazing success stories.
If the pandemic has revealed anything, perhaps most of all it has been the importance of all those little everyday human contacts that we usually take for granted.
While we haven’t been able to meet up in person, we’ve all become experts in the new digital tools to help us sustain those important connections – from kids birthday parties on zoom to quizzes and cocktail parties on Microsoft Teams it seems there is no limits to the topics a virtual meeting can cover – although some have reported more success than others.
Frontline health workers have met with much gratitude for the unerring professionalism and dedication they have displayed throughout the crisis. But we’ve also become more aware of some of the unsung heroes whose work is so vital for the smooth running of our society: the bank clerks, the checkout workers, the delivery drivers and the IT workers to name but a few.
How will the people who have stepped up during this time of crisis be recompensated more fairly in the future?
Around the world, the countries that have been most successful in response to COVID-19 have followed the early WHO advice in February and March to “test, test, test”. Amongst them, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has become the poster girl of how to successfully handle the pandemic response, having locked the country down hard and early and conducted a rigorous testing regime for suspected cases and new arrivals to the country. As a result, the island nation has largely escaped the pandemic that has swept around so much of the rest of the world. Commentators haven’t been shy about noting how well other female leaders have also responded.
The businesses that have not just survived but thrived are those that have adapted to support remote working as far and as securely as possible. Inevitably, this was easier for organizations that had already begun the transition to cloud architectures and collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365 and Teams.
Seeing this success, other organizations are following suit. MIT Insights has found that in 2021, nine out of 10 business executives agree that corporate technology adoption will increase in speed because of covid-19. In fact, 44% of respondents strongly agreed with this notion. The report authors said, “To survive, businesses must adapt, and to accomplish that, they are leaning heavily on technology”.
Although many cultural venues have been closed for extended periods throughout this year and are now struggling financially as a result, our human need for creative endeavour has not floundered.
Creatives who suddenly found themselves out of work have responded in innovative ways – from making feature films to bringing new lockdown comedies to our TV screens. And we have explored new creative activities for ourselves – from making sourdough bread to knitting or sewing facemasks.
Let’s hope that these activities prove to be more than coping strategies and that we emerge from the pandemic with new and lasting creative outlets.