The word ‘unprecedented’ has been flying around for the last year. As has the phrase ‘I can’t wait for 2020 to be over’. As unexpected and chaotic as this year has been, some things have (dare I say it) changed for the better. Some things we’re moving forward with, taking into 2021, and hopefully embracing more in the world to come without Covid, as vaccines start flying about and isolation slowly turns to a thing of the past.
- Zoom meetings, calls, quizzes, and everything else
We’re all sick of Zoom quizzes, we get it. But the investment in Skype-alternatives that have arisen this year has completely changed the game. It shows that all we really need is a semi-decent wifi connection. From online lectures via Microsoft Teams where you can quite literally just roll out of bed to teaching your grandparents how to work FaceTime, online communication is something that’s here to stay. Although we may miss the human contact and excuses to leave the house, for catching up with old friends, family members on different continents and even the daily gossip with your work-wives, the online alternatives we’ve encompassed have really been what’s made the world go round in the last year.
2. Absorbing the news more
I don’t know about you, but this year (especially towards the start of the pandemic) I was constantly refreshing the BBC app, just to see the little numbers of cases in my area slowly rise. Whilst at first this steeped me in panic and anxiety, absorbing the news more often became a part of my lockdown daily routine, with breaks to escape the pandemic leaning towards Positive.News. Once I was sick of just seeing numbers, stats and tiers, and once the morning and evening updates were more ingrained in my day than regular meals and tea breaks, I moved onto longer reads, investigative pieces, and features. Keeping on top of issues I never really cared about a few years ago, Brexit, the US election and even the end of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, were fed to me through online zines, news apps and regular update notifications – pop-ups that will definitely be staying on into the New Year.
3. Flexible working
For years in the modern-day working scene, several workers have been begging for flexible working. Whether that’s due to physical factors, parenting or caring, or mental health, it’s refreshing to see businesses being forced to adapt to what’s best for their staff. As much as essential workers were valued, those of us working from home finally got a look into how the future could be – being productive when you want to be, not need to be, and working in your own way around your own day. For some, this may have raised productivity, whereas for others working from home was more of a hassle, with noise, children and no space all around. Yet, what this year has shown is it can be done. Workers can make their own decisions on where and how to work, and bosses can actually allow for flexible arrangements, something that was simply laughed at not so long ago.
4. A little bit of gratitude and kindness goes a long way
Looking after ourselves during this pandemic has actually been looking after each other. Wearing masks, sanitizing your Tesco trolleys, and actually queuing two metres behind the person in front has made all the difference. Yes, there have been unforgivable stories of people spitting in faces but for every one of those there are probably hundreds of others of neighbours doing each other’s shopping, checking in on old friends you may not have spoken to in years but who you know may be having a particularly hard time, and especially supporting essential workers. Kindness online and offline has blossomed despite the hardships we’ve faced this year, and although the pandemic may not go away as we step into 2021, neither will the endless support that’s been shown this year.
Words by Meghna Amin
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