2021 – To Look Forward Or To Look Backwards?

It seems that one of central pillars of the Human Psyche, is optimism, in that we hope that tomorrow will be a better day, or next year will be a better year. With this in mind many of us will look forward to 2021 and the promise of a new year and opportunities, with great excitement and confidence. Yet given the experiences of 2020  many of us will remember what happened to our feelings of optimism, we celebrated at the end of 2019 looking forward to the vision we had for the year 2020. The year 2020 truly was a game changer for us all in so many aspects of our lives as we know them, it is hard to list them all. Yet if we do not manage to lift our spirits and look forward to a better 2021, we might be seen as pessimists. Of course as the saying goes “the pessimist is really an optimist with experience…”, therefore maybe that is not such a bad description of many of us as we are the “new optimists”.

As we approach the New Year, would one be mistaken to assume that 2021 will be a return to “normalcy”, and that we will return to our offices and return to our professional and social gatherings and burn our surgical masks as a sign of the difficult times now relegated to history?

Or might we be better off as “new optimists”, preparing for the fact that the Future of Work will have the hybrid work model at its center, leaving us with the need to balance office and remote work realities, realizing that this means that we must seriously invest time, money and energy in upskilling ourselves and organizations to survive and prosper in the “new normal”. Learning how to keep the pace of progress we have set for ourselves, with new tools and understandings. While being trained on new fluid work models and forms of communication that are based on technologies like Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC).  We need to become ever better at using tools like Zoom, WebEx, Teams, and Google Meet, and others. This relearning of our basic skills at work as to how to best use and implement UCC services will be a fundamental for any personal and corporate success.

How many of us could have predicted with all our advances that Bill Gates would be right in saying in 2014 at his famous TED Talk, the following:

In 2014, the world avoided a global outbreak of Ebola, thanks to thousands of selfless health workers — plus, frankly, some very good luck. In hindsight, we know what we should have done better. So, now’s the time to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. “There’s no need to panic … but we need to get going.”

He suggested that the world might be turned on its head not so much from some huge Nuclear War but from a microscopic virus. Clearly, we were not ready to deal with COVID 19 and we did not learn from the past. Today as we all put our faith in the various vaccines we are watching the Virus mutate and we can only hope and pray for the best outcomes. Can any of us afford not to be prepared for the future if it will be truly different then what we were used to?

So how long should we plan for until we return to “business as usual”? What should we plan on for new year of 2021 and beyond? Should we be expecting this return to Normalcy at all? Will the future of work remain hybrid and dependent on the technologies that allow us to communicate remotely? 

I believe the answer truly depends on what kind of person you are to begin with. Are you a future focused person or are you more focused on the Present or the Past?

Consider if you will three cultural led approaches to one’s focus… the model in which these three perspectives were described is referred to as the Energy Model. The model helps understand how we approach our personal energy investments. The Memory Driven person is someone who as part of their romance with Nostalgia, they reminisce more on the past. The Dream Driven person is someone who is focused more on the Future and with the same degree of passion as the Memory Driven person, they romance with the vision of future opportunity. Lastly, the Realty Driven person finds the Present the place and time to be more passionate about.

As we approach 2021 and we want to plan correctly for our business success during this new Year and the years to come knowing if you are a Memory, Future or Realty Driven thinker is essential. It has been said that, “while you cannot change the past you can for sure ruin the present by worrying about the future.”

Thus, worrying about the future is not the correct path but rather preparing for the future with all of its changes, is the smart way forward.

It is with this in mind that we created Beyond Remotely, together with industry leaders, to enable the Future of Work. Our mission as a company is to supply education, support and certification for professionals and enterprises from small to large to upskill and learn how to better use, integrate and adapt to our basic human characteristics the technologies that will allow us to communicate at the pace of progress that we want to keep.

I propose that a safe way to go is to follow the famous motto of the Boy Scouts “always be prepared…”

Wishing us all a healthy happy better 2021…

Jeff Kahn

CEO, Beyond remotely

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