As we start 2021, it’s time to reflect on how much the world has changed during our last trip around the sun. Was 2019 really only a year ago?
We started 2020 working in our offices and our kids were learning in schools. Many of us now work from home and most students are eLearning at home. We started the year enjoying meals in restaurants, attending live entertainment, and sports events, but now for many of us restaurant meals are takeout or delivery only, and entertainment and sports are no longer in-person indulgences. Door Dash and Uber-Eats have given every restaurant a delivery option and provided a lifeline to ride out this situation without closing permanently.
We had worn masks on prior trips to Asia, and in the hospital when we visited friends or family, but now we don’t leave the house without one. When 2020 started, we rode the elevated train or rail system to our offices, and now ridership of public transportation is down 70% in Chicago since this pandemic started, as the formerly densely-packed trains were considered a safety risk. As we live in a densely populated city, many keep a box of masks in their cars to ensure we don’t arrive somewhere without this now required accessory. Doctors’ appointments were all face-to-face, but now telemedicine is widely used and accepted. Grocery shopping was an in-person event for most of us, but the rise of delivery services like Instacart has proven that many of us would rather offload that task and feel safer at home.
We used to meet customers and partners at trade shows and industry events, but we now engage through virtual events, webinars, and video conferencing.
Most of us likely spent the 2019 holiday season catching up with family and friends, and many traveled to visit relatives. During 2020 we stayed away from parents and grandparents to protect them.
What is Permanent and What is Temporary
Some of these changes will be temporary, but some things may never return to the way they were. With vaccination programs rolling out, we can expect kids will return to schools, sports stadiums and concert venues will re-open. Whether employees return to work in offices as they used to isn’t certain. Datalogics has found that some of our team members are more productive working in their own environments without the stress and hassles of commuting. We have begun recruiting talent where it is found instead of looking for talent where we are. Slack, Zoom, and Teams have replaced many business trips, but I still believe face-to-face meetings are the best way to truly understand our coworkers, customers, and partners. Grocery delivery is a big convenience for folks with busy schedules, but I really prefer picking my own avocados to ensure they are just right. During the holidays our kids checked in with their grandparents via Zoom, but I hope to see them face-to-face and continue family traditions in 2021.
2020 changed a number of things, but it didn’t change who we are. Datalogics changed its work environment in 2020, but our core team, partners, and customers remained the same. Our purpose is to make digital documents work for our customers in the new era of eLearning, eMedicine, and eGovernment is more important than ever. Processes that used to be driven by paper documents have shifted to digital, and electronic forms adoption has accelerated. Getting data in and out of digital documents and automating the process to do so is a major challenge for almost every industry.
As 2020 ends, I want to thank our team, our partners, and our customers for everything they did in an unprecedented year. For 2021, I look forward to a year where hopefully the challenges are digital document related instead of health-related. I look forward to helping our customers transform legacy paper processes to reliable digital document workflows. I look forward to a shot in the arm, I look forward to meeting customers face-to-face so we can embrace and understand their challenges, and I look forward to picking out that perfect avocado.