3 Positive Outcomes From 2021 (and why we need to stay awake!)
You can ask a room full of people whether 2021 was positive or negative and you’ll find as many answers as there are individuals.
I think most people would agree that the world is now a very different place due to Covid-19, but whether we view it in a positive or negative light is entirely dependent on our own personal factory settings (our belief systems).
We have seen significant change over the past 18 months (good or bad? Your choice).
The deep-seated office 9-5 work culture dramatically shifted to work from home when the pandemic first began which shows the potential for change when the need is urgent. Companies in the UK were, unfortunately, also told that they didn’t need to report their gender pay gap data in 2020 which sent out the message that chronic inequality was an unimportant issue.
However, Elevate Talent firmly believes that with the right commitment and action we can continue to make progress to redress gender inequality worldwide (we operate in 56 countries).
Whether we adopt an optimistic or pessimistic attitude is down to our predisposition (and whether we actively seek to change it).
If we automatically see obstacles, challenges and problems we are primed to react negatively. If we are more inclined to see the positive we see opportunity and scope for change.
Here are three situations that Elevate Talent believes we can view positively, and although they are not all gender focused, the last year has demonstrated that there is more room for change in the corporate culture than many of us predicted.
Three positive outcomes
1) Hybrid working is no longer taboo
Businesses the world over have realised that there is room for flexibility in how they operate. Instead of rigidly adhering to eight-hour days (as though we all work on a conveyor belt in a factory) we’ve created a new working model that supports businesses, individual team members, and by extension, their families.
Although this is a positive outcome, we also recognise that there is a question mark over whether the office workers have an advantage in terms of promotion while the home workers are out of sight and out of mind. Either way, this is a human issue and one that we can all influence over time.
It’s been acknowledged that we need to allow people to create the right working environment so they can excel; this might mean working out of hours or creating a tag-team with their spouse or partner to accommodate childcare. This shift demonstrated awareness of the need to address inequity.
2) Mental health is in the spotlight
Women tend to feel more supported when talking about their mental health. The stereotype, which has been reinforced over the years, now seems to be losing strength as employers recognise the need to ensure all their employees are cared for. As a mum of a teenage son and a daughter in her early twenties, I want to know that (if they choose to go into employment) they will both be nurtured in an appropriate way.
As a culture, we no longer tolerate a young woman being told to ‘just get on with it’ or a young man being told to ‘man up and stop being so emotional’, this is another positive step forward.
3) Climate wake-up call
It’s become clear over the last 18 months that both the pandemic and climate change mean different things to different people. We are all facing the same crisis but our starting point is different. People who live in a landlocked country don’t face the same risk as people who inhabit the Maldives.
Change for all will only happen when we work collaboratively to support the needs of each other.
What does the future hold?
Knowing that some of us view the world through a positive lens and some a negative lens, how best can we address the chronic human problems (they affect us all) that we face in 2022?
While the pandemic has demonstrated that we’ve developed greater understanding, empathy and are more inclined to care for each other (I’m positively inclined so at least that’s what I see!), we know that there is still a pressing need to keep a strong focus on redressing the inequality that women face in the world.
We’ve come a long way; let’s stay awake to what’s possible, celebrate the little wins along the way and focus on the big picture.
Elevate Talent is passionate about inspiring everybody to achieve their full potential, and that means empowering women to create fulfilling careers, and supporting businesses to develop and nurture their female talent pipeline. Email us for more information.