Through our collective experience of 2020, the world has gained new insights into how we approach life. Without a doubt, we can acknowledge that it was a very challenging year. 2020 has brought into perspective how we are capable of adapting our daily lives and the expectations we have around what we conceive as normal. It has challenged our assumptions of what we value and care about most.
To put it simply: 2020 has changed the world. It has changed the way we do business. It has shifted and blurred the boundaries between our personal and professional lives. Our team decided to pause and consider what the last 12 months has taught us. We asked a few Net Friends to share the lessons that 2020 has brought into their lives and this is what they said:
John Snyder, CEO
This pandemic reminded me how much we are all in this together, striving for the best outcomes possible for our families. As many of us predominantly worked from home, this actually brought us all more in touch with the personhood of everyone we work with, from getting glimpses of everyone's pets and family life to ironically getting closer to aspects of each other that we would have missed out on if our interactions were just in random office encounters in the kitchen or hallways. None of us would have willingly signed up for this massive social experiment we all were thrust into last March, and yet because of this forced change, we have found many adaptations we want to retain and uncovered changes we want to continue working towards.
Neelesh Patel, President
2020 taught me how to be more empathetic. It forced us to intertwine our personal life personas with work life personas resulting in our partners at home learning more about our partners at work and vice versa. I got a much better understanding of the types of conflicts my family goes through when I’m not around and, in turn, my family got to see much more into the joys and frustrations of my work life. As a result, everyone in my home and work families operate with much more grace and understanding because we can more easily share feelings and empathize with each other.
Joel Abney, COO
In the past year, we have learned a lot about how we treat work as a society, how we communicate, and what it means to be productive. Business leaders struggled to understand how to manage a workforce that they aren't able to see directly. The range of responses is wide and varied; but what I have been struck by is just how well people will adapt. And, when allowed to, will problem solve to overcome obstacles and not only keep things running, but continue to innovate and excel. We're all in this together. When we lean into that fact and allow human ingenuity to get to work, we will be successful.
Amy, Communications Expert/Dispatcher
2020 taught me how central our bodies are to the experience of being human. I learned that even as an introvert, being in the presence of other humans, even just chatting up my neighbor standing 15 feet away, is just about as nourishing as eating together. I learned about how the virus takes advantage of our human habits, and celebrate all the ways we adapted through technology and taking things outside. I learned about the best and the worst of humanity, which really underscores the importance of being kind. 2020 is also when I took on re-learning how to crochet, and have completed dozens of scarves and washcloths, 2 cat toys, 2 dog sweaters, a blanket, a purse, and a market bag.
Bryant, IT Support Specialist
2020 was no doubt a learning year for all of us. Personally for me, it was a test of character. I had to learn and adapt to working from home. I had to separate from my normal routines and outings. Most importantly,I had to have patience and understanding with not being able to see family and friends.
What 2020 taught me is that life is extremely precious! I quickly realized how important the connections in my life were and how fulfilling it is to have interactions with friends and co-workers. I never knew just how impactful those moments were until I couldn’t see anyone anymore. All in all, 2020 has shown me we need each other now more than ever but once we all are able to see each other again, we will never take it for granted again.
Carrie, IT Project Coordinator
The pandemic has taught me that I really miss the “going to the office” routine. I really miss the little things that go along with that like driving, listening to the radio, wearing shoes, and having coffee with friends. I miss visiting clients in-person, because you learn so many cool things about their business and the work they are doing. I find I’m so glad to run in to neighbors on a walk, to see how they are doing and connect a bit. I used to go to the grocery store almost daily – thinking I had to have certain ingredients for a recipe, but now I’m more resourceful. I now order online every couple of weeks and concoct something from what we have on hand. I started the pandemic thinking I’d become an expert at Mario Kart, but unfortunately, I still have that ahead of me.
Christine, HR Manager
Resilience is often defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events. Or if you like catchy phrases: Rebound Back Better! 2020 taught me not only the definition of resilience, but also these five core elements:
- Self-Reflection to gain a clearer perception of who I am and better communicate that in the new remote, masked, online way that we now interacted with each other.
- Mindfulness as a state of active, open attention on the present. As a habitual procrastinator in my personal life, I think to counter the expediency needed in my professional one, I had no choice, but to learn to find balance as my home environment also became my work.
- Emotional Well-Being and Self-Care is unique for each person. For me this meant I needed to keep some normal in my life, like painting my toenails and taking long walks on trails with my Maltipoo, Mimi.
- Positive Relationships with people who support and care for us and we care for them. My bubble was my daughter, her husband, and my 7-month-old grandson and newborn granddaughter. I learned that these were the relationships that mattered most.
- Purpose and Inner Drive to serve something bigger than ourselves. Net Friends’ continual commitment to promote mental health awareness and to sponsor and participate in the Foundation of Hope’s 32nd Walk for Hope allowed me to contribute to something bigger than myself.
I have always heard human beings are resilient. 2020 taught me that I AM RESILIENT and REBOUNDED BACK BETTER.
Luis, Technical Account Manager
For me, this past year taught me about the things I take for granted in my life. I learned that our Net Friends team is capable of amazing things, especially how we went from a face-to-face work style to shifting to remote work overnight. 2020 has taught me to be more grateful for the life I am privileged to live and the amazing people around me. I am thankful for a healthy family and to welcome a baby girl in the middle of the outbreak.
Holly, Financial Specialist
From a finance perspective, 2020 really enforced the importance of preparing for unexpected loss of income. Unfortunately, the reality is that a lot of people are unable to afford to save enough to cover expenses for an extended period. I also observed that a lot of people were seeking to adopt new pets for their families. It seems that perhaps the social isolation paired with the increased availability by working remotely, motivated people to add that companionship. I’ve seen headlines about the increase in dog adoptions in 2020 compared to the previous year, so that is a positive for both the adoptive families and the animal rescue community.