Inside Disruption Blog

Workplace Lessons Learned in 2020 to Apply to 2021

Tyler Arvig, PsyD, LP
January 6, 2021




There are elements of life that stay the same and ones that are in a constant state of flux. Workplaces over the years have changed, clearly. However, what we have seen in 2020 is not only change, but transformative change. Not to the extent of the industrial revolution, or the introduction of computing technology, but significant change nonetheless. Out of necessity, we changed what a workplace looks like, how we do business, and how we ensure employee health and safety. The question as we approach 2021 becomes: what will remain of those changes, and what will revert back to pre-pandemic ways? We can only hope (and work to ensure) that the good changes remain, while other things can become again as they were.


With that in mind, here are some changes that should probably stay:


  • A sense of teamwork– Facing the pandemic has meant pulling together in ways we have not done before, caring for and supporting one another.
  • Flexibility– Workplaces have had to become less rigid, yet this has, in many cases, lead to a discovery that flexibility can not only improve the lives of employees, but contribute to greater productivity.
  • Focus on mental health– Employee mental health has become a serious topic of discussion, as it should continue to be going forward.
  • Focus on life balance– As people juggled health, home schooling, and family care with work, there has been a renewed acknowledgement of a need to balance work and life.
  • Emphasis on good management– Managers throughout the pandemic have needed to step up their abilities, and many have met the challenge. The skills gained during this difficult year will undoubtedly serve organizations well in the long-term.


Undeniably, there are things we would like to be rid of in the next year; namely, COVID-19. As the virus is eliminated with the widespread availability of vaccines, some things will begin to look as they were before. Many of the hardships will fade away, but slowly. As with any widespread event, there will be after-effects in people’s personal lives, mental and even physical health. Being realistic about these things is important…but not at the expense of optimism.


And there is much to be optimistic about in 2021!


View our webinar on-demand: How Workplace can Effectively Navigate the New Normal in 2021


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Tyler Arvig, PsyD, LP

Associate Medical Director

About the Author: Tyler has over thirteen years of domestic and international experience in behavioral health workplace absence—including disability and worker’s compensation assessment, consultation with employers and insurers on complex claims, effective return to work strategies, program development and improvement, and supervision and training of industry professionals. He is a sought-after speaker, writer and contributor in the field of workplace behavioral health and workplace trauma recovery.