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New Year, New Business Paradigms

What lessons can we learn from 2020?

Happy new year! And good gosh darn riddance to 2020. Seriously.

But while 2020 was an absolute clogged toilet of a year, I think living through it has taught a lot of us a few lessons about the ways we conduct business. Not to wave shame fingers, but it says a lot about the way we conduct business as a whole that a lot of it wasn’t able to stand up to a viral pandemic. With any luck, once we’re all properly vaccinated and COVID-19 is just a page in a medical textbook, we won’t have to consider that again for a while. Even so, perhaps it’s time for a reexamination of the way most businesses manage themselves.

When the pandemic started in earnest, the immediate call was to have everyone begin working from home. While most sensible businesses complied with this, there were some stubborn holdouts that absolutely insisted all business must be conducted in person. Well, here we are nearly a year later, still working from home, and it seems like those absolute insistences weren’t so absolute. While some elements of an office are undoubtedly easier in person, many employees appreciate the ability the work from home when offered as an option. Even once it’s safe to work in person again, it may be wise to continue offering that option, both in the interest of employee morale and, in the event of another catastrophic event, there won’t need to be any major upheavals.

This past year has also highlighted the struggles of those who work in retail. These brave folks willingly put themselves in harm’s way to ensure the rest of us can still buy random junk in person when the interest strikes us. Obviously, I can’t force any major retail chain to change their policies, but if nothing else, this period in history should highlight how vital retail workers are, and why, perhaps, they should be entitled to more comprehensive pay and benefits.

If you’re in a managerial position, you need to take a hard look at yourself and your company. If you haven’t learned something about business from this past year, whether it be about safety, compensation, necessity, or whatever else, then you haven’t been paying attention.

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