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In-depth

Year in review: How have businesses fared in 2020?

We look at the shape of the business world as we part ways with this annus horribilis...

Business people in front of computers

Where do we even begin? The majority of 2020 has  COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted us individually as much as it did collectively: changing the ways we work, interact, and perform even the most basic tasks.

At this point in 2019, not many could have predicted that commuting from the bedroom to the dining table while wearing sweatpants would be the new normal in a matter of months.

We also endured the seemingly endless saga of Brexit negotiations, as well as the mass shift to the cloud and heightened cyber security risks.

So, as this whirlwind year comes to an end, we asked business leaders and analysts about what firms might have learned from the experience.

A new working model

No other global event in living memory managed to affect all industries as drastically as the COVID-19 pandemic, according to James Fisher, chief product officer at business intelligence company Qlik.

With offices shut due to lockdown restrictions, those who weren’t among the millions furloughed had to reinvent the way they perform their job from one day to the next. It was a change requiring copious amounts of patience and flexibility, as well as a pinch of innovation in setting up a home office.

“Success – and, indeed, survival – in this period has been characterised by agility: both of entire workforces overhauling working practices, as well as the creativity shown by companies as they react and adapt to the changing situation,” Fisher says.

Andrew Duncan, UK Partner and CEO at management consulting firm Infosys, says that one of the major challenges for business leaders brought on by 2020 was “building trust with employees whilst embracing more agile structures and virtual processes.”

To read the rest of this feature, which was originally published by sister title The Business Briefing, please download the original in its PDF form.  

And, to sign up to receive future issues of The Business Briefing (delivered to your inbox every Monday), please fill in the form below.

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