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Here’s What To Look Forward To in 2021

November 18, 2020

Here’s what to look forward to in 2021. In 2020 the world changed drastically – the way we work – the way we live and the way we look at the future.

In 2020 we can all agree that we are all experiencing some level of stress.

To be human is to experience stress. The degree in which we react to stress is the degree to which we experience suffering.

We have surveyed a few thousand people since the beginning of the pandemic and we have found three different types of responses to the stresses of 2020.

  1. 30% of people surveyed said that they like working remotely and they like working alone. We have found a correlation between analytical personality types who thrive on working alone as also doing well in isolation. They see it as helping them to be more productive without face to face interruptions.
  2. 43% of people surveyed said that they are adapting to working remotely however they really miss the social aspect of being able to go for a coffee or have an in office chat with colleagues. We have found a correlation between social personality types who thrive in human to human interactions and gain energy from being around other people.
  3. 27% of people surveyed are struggling with working remotely due to feeling unproductive and anxious. We have found a correlation between driver personality types who feel best when they have some sense of ‘control’ of their environment and their reality.

Of the three survey responses above where would you put yourself?

For me I would say that I align with the second grouping of those who are adapting and yet miss the social interaction of ‘live’ groups.

Recently during a virtual keynote presentation that I was delivering I asked the group through an online poll what were the positives of the disruptions of 2020 – here is an excerpt of the responses:

  • Forced the company to adopt virtual/remote working
  • Less commuting which equates to more time in the day
  • More time with family
  • More quality time with family
  • Created space to focus on values and what really matters
  • More time to focus on overall well being
  • Leverage technology to interact virtually
  • Feel more connected to overall teams within company
  • Caused the team/me to be more adaptable, agile and innovative

The reality is that although 2020 will go down in history as a year of profound change.

Pre- Covid many of us were becoming roboticized we were tethered to our technology and we were all going one hundred miles an hour. Once Covid happened it was if the collective ‘brakes’ were pressed and we all had to take a big long breath and pause to reset into where we are heading in 2021.

So now we look to the future and here’s what to look forward to in 2021.

We have good news in that there are vaccines now proving to be 95% effective in preventing the Coronavirus. If the pandemic had happened ten years ago we would not have had such a quick solution.

Peter Diamandis famed author of “Abundance” and co founder of Singularity University says that with today’s technology innovation the speed of the vaccine is unprecedented.

Yes we are in the middle of the second wave and we still have to navigate the rest of 2020 however there is hope for a better future with the news of the vaccine.

In this time of chronic stress we must be looking forward to hopeful change.

Other things to look forward in 2021 is a greater focus on well being. Employers are recognizing and empathizing with the stress reality for their workers. In 2021 I believe we will all be very focused on how to be better humans and how to help others more than we have before.

Remote work is here to stay in 2021 and beyond. We at NextMapping predicted that 50% of the workforce would be working remotely by 2020 – we did not predict a pandemic! What has happened though is that companies discovered that they could pivot to remote and that they could make it work.

Workers who work remote work on average one hour longer than they did in office. Many workers surveyed say that they feel guilty working remotely and so they end up working longer and harder than they did before. In addition workers want to remain viable to their employers so they are working to stay visible and relevant.

Employers see remote work as a positive thing in that the myth that out of sight out of mind workers meant no work was being done has been busted.

A survey by Global Workplace Analytics found that 80% of workers believe they are MORE productive working from home. Moving forward 76% of workers want to work from home at least one day a week after the pandemic.

In 2021 we will see a hybrid workplace where every workplace will have a remote work policy where workers will get to choose how often they work in office versus at home.

Only 10% of workers surveyed said that they are eager to return to their office full time.

In 2021 we are going to see an increase in homes converting spaces into private offices. Already real estate activity during the pandemic has been a record high. We are seeing reverse migration where people are moving to rural and suburban locations. Why? Because if we can work remotely that means we can live and work anywhere.

2021 will see those who are able to navigate uncertainty and instability as the stand out winners.

The search words ‘panic attack’ increased to 340% in September 2020 from September 2019.

There is no question that 2020 has been a panic attack inducing year.

I am a realistic optimist and I feel that in 2021 things will simmer down a bit. We will feel a little more stable with knowing more about Covid and how to treat it. We will have a vaccine some time in 2021 which will help us gain a sense of control over its impact.

If there is one major learning that has come out of 2020 so far its that we have zero control over many things. At the same time we have been given an opportunity to focus on what we CAN control which is our thoughts, reactions, and behaviors.

A major thing to look forward to in 2021 is simply that we made it through 2020 and therefore if we can make it through that than I say to 2021 – BRING IT!

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