Reflecting on 2020, in All of its Weird and Unpredictable Glory

Reflecting on 2020, by Ryan Hansen

2020. What a year it has been. They called it "challenging," "uncertain," and "unprecedented." No matter your preferred descriptors, 2020 has been a year unlike any other.

2020 certainly changed Alloy in many ways. COVID-19 was a significant challenge for our business, as it was for millions of others. Looking back on it now, with the benefit of hindsight (insert joke about 20/20 vision here), it's refreshing to recall the lessons and successes amidst the obstacles and surprises.

The Things We Figured Out in 2020

Virtual Options are Here to Stay
Looking back, it's kind of funny to remember how many times Jamie and I went back and forth on taking our training to the digital space. In March, we decided to start sharing daily live videos on our Facebook page, to share some tips and insights for our online community - and we actually got pretty comfortable with it by around the time summer rolled around! We followed that up with a virtual leader forum, to provide a space for connection and collaboration in the age of COVID. It's been really fun to explore new training formats, and our customers have told us that they like the accessibility and convenience, so I don't see them going away anytime soon.

Online Courses
This was a controversial subject in our office back in 2019. Coincidentally, Jamie and I were on our way back from a networking event in Denver to learn about hosting online courses when COVID precautions shut everything down in March. We were hesitant to jump into a new space where we felt like we didn't know anything (the lessons I could share with 2019 Ryan about how to set up a webcam and an LED lighting setup...) but we forged ahead and launched our first course, Sustaining Excellence with Resilience, in the summer and hope to have even more on the way in 2021!

The Things That Got Us Through 2020

Zoom Meetings, Microsoft Teams, GoToWebinar, and more
2020 will obviously go down as the year of the pandemic, but I think many professionals will also remember it as the year of virtual meetings - for better and for worse. I'll use this space to express my gratitude for the technologies that enabled millions of connections around the globe and allowed Alloy to continue some of our core operations in the face of overwhelming circumstances.

Communication Skills
2020 put us in a number of situations we had never experienced. I found myself working extra hard to express myself clearly and deliberately. Even Zoom calls don't capture everything, and working remotely brings a host of new logistical challenges. My tip: re-read that email before you send it, and spend a couple of extra minutes to get your thoughts in order before a meeting. 2020 has been hectic, and an extra second to think goes a long way!

Books and Podcasts
If you know our team, you know we love to take in new perspectives on leadership and the modern workplace. We broaden our horizons so that we can bring more to the table for our customers. Without travel this year, we leaned heavily on books and podcasts to fill the void. In fact, we put together some lists of our favorites for you:

The Things We Hope to Keep in 2021 (Yes, Seriously!)

Newfound Flexibility
This year, millions of professionals experienced the challenges joys of working from home for the first time. It wasn't just the millennials, either. Anyone and everyone was eligible for this newfangled perk. Our team had the unique opportunity to watch several organizations explore this new landscape at the same time. Some employees loved the options that opened up before them, while others balked at the lack of structure and routine. In general, I think most of the response was positive, even if it took some time to get there. I heard dozens of team members tell us how much they enjoyed the flexibility when they needed it, even if it meant some extra logistical work to keep things moving.

Intentional Connections
When 2020 took away our routines, it interrupted relationships at the same time. My family and I had to make an extra effort to stay connected, and I know many coworkers had the same experience. I found some encouragement in forming new habits to maintain connections that would have otherwise struggled this year.

An Emphasis on Mental Health
Prior to March, it was rare for one of my conversations to include "Hey, are you doing okay? Are you staying sane?" And yet, midway through 2020, it seemed like half or more of my interactions included something along those lines. Personally, I think we could all benefit from being more intentional about monitoring and supporting our mental health, and from asking others how we can help them do the same.

From our team to yours, Alloy Solutions wishes you health, happiness, and success in 2021!

If we can do anything to help you or your team members, drop us a line at [email protected] or give us a call at 402-779-5846.


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