How to learn from 2020 as a business

by Dec 29, 2020

We saw a lot of “unprecedented”-ness in 2020. Unprecedented job loss. Unprecedented unemployment applications. Unprecedented hits to our U.S. and global economies. It was just an — shall we say it? — unprecedented year. As the dust settles and businesses hit Q1 of 2021, what can be done to reassure anyone that what’s done is done? (In other words, how can morale, productivity, and goals be re-established after such a rocky year?)  Here’s not only what we recommend, but what we practice:

  • Prioritize your team members. Whether new, old, or returning from furlough, those people keeping the ship moving need to be reassured that their jobs are okay. They need to hear that you are focused on their well-being and the office morale, as much as the bottom line.
  • Revisit quarterly goals. 2020 sure skewed predictions and benchmarks for most of us. But rather than gloss over last year as something that never happened, or rather than lower your expectations for this year, take a holistic look at 2020. What weak spots did the pandemic expose to you? Were there any goals you did hit? A year-over-year approach may not be the best approach in 2021.
  • Put more in the bank. Many businesses that suffered the most did not have money aside to keep them afloat for more than a couple of months. While we know this isn’t plausible for everyone, and the effects of the pandemic were largely out of everyone’s control, take this as an opportunity to check your financials … because we aren’t out of the woods yet, and it could pay (literally) to squirrel away more funds than usual.
  • Don’t skimp on corporate wellness programs. If you’re cutting costs for the year, slashing in the area of employee wellness is not the solution. Rather, prioritize it (Sonic Boom can help in this area.) Where else can you reallocate money?
  • Poll the company. To be honest, we were burnt out on Zoom happy hours last year, too. There has to be a better way to engage virtually, right? Ask your employees for the answer. We’ve all had to make due for months around pets, kids, messy kitchens, zero boundaries, etc., so they probably have some creative less-overdone suggestions for bringing everyone to one computer screen.
  • Practice transparency. Companies are not out of the woods financially, and maybe they never will be. It’s better to be forthcoming than half-heartedly sugar coating the state of the union. Especially after a tumultuous year, people deserve the right to know that’s really going on at work, even if it results in some lay-offs or voluntary exits.
  • Keep company perks alive. If you need to tweak them, do it! Bike-to-Work Day is a good wellness-forward activity that can easily transform into a virtual event. Block off time on everyone’s calendar for a mandatory one-hour ride. No work allowed!
  • Stay realistic about needs vs. desires. Does every employee need a headset or just the customer service team? Do you still need an office space for three colleagues, or can they be fully at home, too? Is it more important to provide factory workers with PPE supplies or purchase the newest warehouse equipment on the market?
  • Take baby steps. It’s okay to tread lightly in Q1 … and Q2 … and even the entire year. Between the uncertainty of the pandemic and an election cycle, the economy could shift any moment. It’s important to be cautiously optimistic.
  • Reevaluate your PTO and sick time policies. Do they truly reflect the needs of the average person living in a pandemic? If you do not offer these benefits, how can you change that? If 2020 taught us one thing, it’s that work and life need to coexist more seamlessly.

Are you looking to improve your employees’ wellbeing at work? Click below to find out how Sonic Boom’s comprehensive, fully customizable wellness programs can help!