2020 has been the most unpredictable, unprecedented, and chaotic year many of us have ever known, But amid all the chaos that COVID and lockdowns have brought to everyday life, we have noticed a fair few welcome benefits in both our work and personal lives.
Here are a few of the work-related benefits we have noticed…
Remote user testing is flourishing, including with children and people who have accessibility needs (which we wouldn’t usually do remotely). There is also a larger pool of potential research participants, as people have more spare time with fewer social opportunities or time away from home. Also, participants are now more familiar with and less apprehensive about using video conferencing tools, saving everyone time when starting remote sessions.
So many changes throughout the year has led to lots of new product research openings and opportunities to assist companies in reviewing previously well-established customer journeys, personas and user profiles.
Many businesses and employees have embraced working from home, with work being less about presenteeism and more about getting the job done. This has frequently led to more efficient ways of working.
However, home working and lockdowns have been isolating and lonely for those living alone, versus stressful and distracting for those living and working in a shared space with young or large families. This has led to many businesses focusing internally on employee experience and wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic, our Ergonomics team have been in high demand and have completed thousands of home workstation assessments. We love helping people with their workstation set-ups, making them more comfortable and reducing the risk of musculoskeletal discomfort. It’s really rewarding knowing that our practical ergonomics tips are put into practice and that people understand the benefits of why having an ergonomic set-up is important for their health and wellbeing. Without lockdown and working at home being the new norm for many of us, we would not have had the opportunity to make such a positive difference!
And on a more personal note, there are even more benefits…
Working from home has unlocked many benefits; with less time spent commuting we have had more ‘me time’ to explore hidden talents (baking, music, crocheting, art), more quality time with our children (actually being home for bath and bedtime), more time to exercise. From morning yoga and gym sessions to walks in our local areas discovering hidden gems and the local countryside; embracing nature and seeing the seasons change.
Those of us with children have found they are spending more valuable time with them. And when both parents are working from home, the childcare is shared a lot more evenly.
The simple act of ‘clap for carers’ during the first wave had the surprising effect of helping a lot of us to meet (socially distanced of course!) our neighbours. People who we have lived close to for years, but who we never knew as we were rarely home at the same time due to work and life commitments. This, for many, has helped to integrate and build community spirit within our communities.
We have embraced some aspects of our online lives. For example, realising how easy and convenient online grocery shopping can be. And video calls encouraging us to reach out to friends who live further away or overseas, many of whom we may have neglected to speak to for a long time. Similarly, virtual medical appointments has saved us valuable time (and stress) not having to travel to or wait in crowded waiting rooms with the potential of contact with people who are unwell.
In some cases our physical (face to face) support networks have been significantly reduced, which has of course been challenging. But the silver lining is realising how capable we are in dealing with things ourselves! For example, one of our team managed a solo 14-hour flight with a 10-month-old and 4-year-old during the height of the pandemic. Something she would not have attempted alone pre-pandemic.
With all these positives in mind, we look to the future with the hope that we continue to embrace these positive changes and the benefits continue into 2021 and beyond. And as we wave (enthusiastically) goodbye to 2020, we hope for a better 2021.
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