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2021 Trends: Editorial by Dillan Whisenant

2021 was a continuation of pandemic woes we started experiencing in mid-2020, but a few things stuck out that were quite different.

Working from home.

The greatest and most obvious trend in the 2021 business world is working from home. The continuation of remote work is a reality that many of us continue to face. Workers realized that being able to work from anywhere around the world is a want we didn’t even know we wanted. Rolling out of our bed over to our laptop to start work is how a lot of our mornings started. A recent poll showed that 40% of workers would consider quitting their jobs if remote work opportunities were taken away. New applicants are wanting remote work options when searching for job applications. Is remote work here to stay?

In 2021 we learned how to automate our work.

While working remotely there are a lot of meetings. I mean A LOT of meetings.

Throughout the year I averaged 12 hours a week of meetings. After a while, I started to miss working in an office where my coworkers were feet away from me if I had to ask any questions. While working remotely, chatting with our peers requires finding a time that works with everyone’s schedule. A chat that might have taken a few minutes in person often turns into lasting half an hour. We realized that we missed talking to one another, so a lot of times these online chats stray far away from any goals we had going into the call. All this to say that our work week stayed just as long, but often less work was being done.

We had to learn to automate what we were working on. During my search for an automation process, I came across many. One of my favorites was Asana. This tool allowed my team and I to seamlessly coordinate on projects while we were working remotely. We never had struggles with who was doing what, and the entire Google Suite integrates very well. Slack and Marco Polo added an extra layer of communication, with Marco Polo giving us a face-to-face feeling that we all missed.

Businesses realized the importance of local B2B over global.

In 2021 we found a lot of issues with our supply chain with compounded labor shortages in both national and international supply chain networks. We realized that if we wanted to get products soon, we couldn’t rely on ordering anything online.

Even though the prices are higher at times to buy from smaller businesses, we had to learn to adapt and get the products we needed right away from local sources. Brand loyalty began to be tested as consumers switched to competing brands depending on whose items were available. The alternative milk brand Oatly experienced a decline of $7 million in sales and a 20% decrease in share prices due to a lack of ability to keep shelves stocked with their products.

We started to understand Web 3.0.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, changed the way we invest. NFTs provides the ability to digitally own anything from a .jpeg to your favorite NFL highlight. In 2021 we saw brands entering this space with NFT token drops that often sold out in minutes. Artists were able to make a small fortune with the release of a limited NFT project. We saw entire communities built on platforms like Twitter and Discord that have enormous cult-like followings. Tweets are even sold to the highest bidder. CEO of a Malaysian blockchain company purchased the first-ever tweet for $2.9M. Who knew that the tweet “just setting up my twittr” would sell for so much? NFTs are making their way into pop culture like in a segment of the Tonight Show when Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton compare their “Bored Apes” from the NFT project Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). This is the start of the new metaverse that is Web 3.0.

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