My husband recently found a way, after several rounds of meticulous reorganization, to fit both of our vehicles in our tight garage just before we were blasted with winter snow. We joke that this was the best thing that happened to us in 2020 and anyone who has ever had to shovel out a Volkswagen after the plow truck might agree.
Before COVID, I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase “silver linings” quite so much. Never before were we reminded in such a stark way the importance of being thankful for what we have, and making the best of our circumstances. I know it’s been a year, but who among us can forget the wave of triumph that came when we got our hands on a product in low supply during the early weeks of the pandemic. Lysol never had such appeal as it did in April of 2020, and getting back to the basics in such a way was a truly humbling experience for many of us.
From a business standpoint, there were silver linings as well and my own personal experience was not exempt. While our company had already established a culture where work-from-home was a viable and useful alternative when necessary, the requirements of the pandemic allowed us to sharpen our focus. We invested in IT equipment and A/V tools -- even an office renovation that would better support the way our business is growing.
From a content perspective, we’ve taken advantage of the growing general acceptance by business leaders to grant video interviews. This has provided yet another platform where our readers can learn from industry experts, and the business community has largely become relaxed and confident ‘Zooming’ from their home office. They’re also more willing to chat on the fly because the buttoned-up office setting is “so 2019.”
And while my personal experience is anecdotal, it dovetails with larger industry trends that suggest that the pandemic has accelerated business investment in - and comfort with - new technologies. According to KPMG, businesses spent an average of $15 billion “extra” per week on technology during the early onset of the pandemic. And while this surge in spending is unsustainable - as it should be - there are many experts that view the pandemic as an impetus for businesses to explore platforms that help them, and their workers, flourish in a more tech-capable world. Whether this is mobility, cloud, e-commerce or security, there are plenty of improvements that have been made as the importance of these technologies comes to the forefront.
My guess is the soft benefits of these technology investments will be harder to quantify but no less important: for the working parents of the world, the pandemic pushed many employers to acknowledge and accommodate the juggling act that has existed for so long. Some workers will find the post-pandemic work-life balance much more workable as many businesses suggest they’ll keep work-from-home policies in place. And the tech supporting this change will mean nobody will even need to skip a beat. A silver lining, you might say.