As we reflect on the year that has been 2020, we cannot do so without examining it through the lens of COVID-19. The global pandemic has disrupted community, business and economic life and has had a profound personal impact on so many of us. There is no doubt it has been hugely challenging for those who have been directly affected and that significant challenges lay ahead. However, as we look forward to a New Year, I think it is important to highlight some of the positives that have emerged from 2020:
– More time for family and friends: Our lives had become so busy that the reset caused by COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to do things differently. Time saved on things like the daily commute give us more time to spend with family and friends and to perhaps plan our work better.
– Positive Lifestyle Changes: We are all more aware of the need to look after ourselves and the importance of looking after others particularly the vulnerable. Our health has taken centre stage and many of us have introduced positive lifestyle changes, like regular exercise, to our daily routine.
– Innovation: The collaboration between global pharmaceutical companies to find effective vaccines which have been supported by Governments around the world has been unprecedented. The imminent rollout of several vaccines is testament to the power of human ingenuity and will hopefully signal the start of a period of innovation which will further enhance our quality of life.
– Work-Life balance: The widespread use of new technology to help people work smarter has been a standout feature of the last year. With so many working from home, technology like Zoom & Microsoft Teams has been instrumental in allowing businesses to function efficiently. This technology can continue to play a key role going forward and will afford many of us the opportunity to better structure our working day so that we can better enjoy life.
– Relocation: Many people have taken the opportunity to move to the country whilst their workplaces have been closed. Some will decide to relocate full time for what they see as a better lifestyle with obvious personal benefits for them. This would also ease the housing pressure on our large urban centres with obvious benefits for those currently struggling to find decent, affordable housing.
Let’s hope that another positive outcome of this extraordinary time is that we all realise how great normal everyday life is and that we rejoice in being able to do simple things like meeting our friends and families, going to a match and having a pint or two in a pub without having to have a meal! Normal is hopefully just around the corner, there is every reason to be optimistic that, with the rollout of widespread vaccination, life can return to normal in 2021 and beyond.