We thought we had it bad in 2020, when the world changed beyond all recognition or expectation. But many hopeful businesses clung on desperately to the notion that 2021 would see a vast improvement; a new post vaccine world where people could go out to work, to eat and to spend money again. A return to the way things were before all this began.
But as we emerge blinkingly and somewhat pudgy from the festive season (after trying to get through the glut of food created by catering for a load of people who weren’t allowed to come in the end), it is with a dawning realisation that we likely “ain’t seen nothing yet”.
We have barely taken our Christmas decorations down, but 2021 has announced its presence with a bang of terrifying statistics and new restrictions.
It’s not all bad of course, the vaccine is slowly making its way through the most vulnerable people in society which will hopefully take some pressure off. But it seems with each new day, a new variant is discovered which adds a whole load of new confusion to the mix. How bad is it? Is it more transmissible? Is it more dangerous? Can the vaccine knock it out?
Meanwhile, England has now been placed in its third lockdown. But far from the astonishment, terror and confusion that was the national mood back in March, this one feels different.
The first lockdown came as a shock. We saw it happening in other places around the world but we thought it would never happen to us.
We were at the very start of our lockdown career and couldn’t even imagine an England with so many restrictions on our daily life. This meant that employers, workers and schools were caught on the hop and unprepared for lockdown.
Many of them took a few days or even weeks to mobilise home working, home learning or a covid-safe work environment. We were like newly appointed employees just finding our feet; inexperienced, not really understanding a lot of what was going on and desperate to learn where the toilets are.
This time, we’re ready. And we’ve been promoted. We are now lockdown professionals. We know what to do and are able to get moving much more quickly.
So, as soon as lockdown number three, and the new tier 5, was announced, workers went back to their home office or desk and slid effortlessly back into the work from home routine.
And for those who can’t work from home, its business as usual; strap on a mask, douse yourself in antibac gel and face the covid commute.
Schools have been able to instantly switch to online learning seemingly without missing a beat. Many businesses have changed their model to work in a different way, many coming up with ingenious solutions to delivering their product or service safely.
The difference between the shocked into silence mood of lockdown one, through the apathy of lockdown 2.0, to now is entirely different.
The term “the new normal” which we had got so conversant with in 2020 is slowly morphing into simply “normal”, with the period in between lockdowns feeling strange and alien.
We have graduated to become the highly experienced office manager who knows how to steer the ship through the storm while remembering what it was like back in the “old days”.
We are capable and experienced, rolling our sleeves up and getting on with things.
Masks are rarely forgotten, there’s plenty of supplies in the shops and things like having your temperature taken, which previously might have felt like an invasion of privacy, is now ordinary.
Offering up your forehead to all and sundry just seems like a contemporary form of greeting.
The panache with which we have learned to adapt to all of the restrictions demonstrates just how far we’ve come, proving that as a nation of hard workers we are nothing if not resilient.
Resilience is the key to success during difficult times, and it looks like we will again be sorely tested as we go through 2021.
What will the world of work look like in a year from now? Likely completely different and as yet unimaginable again.
But as businesses and employers, and as individuals, we can take confidence from our proven resilience. We may not know what to expect from 2021, but we will roll our sleeves up and get the job done.
Just as we did in 2020.
We at JMK understand that uncertainty is difficult both as an employer and for your staff. We offer a range of services to help keep our clients moving during the pandemic. Talk to one of our team today about future proofing your payroll with forecasting, and picking the right model for you, to help you thrive, not just survive, in 2021.
Happy new year to all our clients!
Since 2002, JMK have been compliantly consolidating back-office, accountancy and payroll functions.
We have evolved to provide a range of expert services; such as Professional Employer Organisation (PEO), or Back Office Support (BOS) or Funding, becoming a leading provider to the contracting industry.
We know every agency is different in some shape or form, even if only by a little, but important bit. Combining our knowledge and experience of multiple sectors enables JMK to support you all from recruiters and payroll, through to finance, compliance and management.
With JMK as your trusted partner, even the smallest team can process the largest payroll, regardless of payroll type.