In 2021, I hope the first indication of a return to “normalcy” is the end of the closing “be safe,” or “stay safe.” 

There were many challenges to overcome over the last year, brought on by the shutdown and the loss of a significant amount of government services for an extended period.  It was also a worrying time as we worked to gain an understanding of the virus in order to assess what the personal health risks were. Not having been tested for COVID in 2020 is akin to having lived in a bubble all year. I recently realized that I had never seen the face of an employee that I’d hired in the mask era. The statement “we are living in unprecedented times,” has become cliché. 

I do appreciate the opportunity to explore the work from home model and the impetus to adopt new technology. Slow adoption rates by employees and partners discourages businesses from investing in technology, because the increases in productivity are not fully realized enough to justify the investment. COVID has forced us all to adopt technology and develop new ways of doing business and most are more open-minded and willing to consider change in what seems like a paradigm shift. As an example, Zoom meetings were the exception back in January and now are the rule. 

In the midst of an economic downturn, employers are discovering new talent, as employees in affected industries upskill and shift into new sectors. Entrepreneurs are springing up to fill the gaps in services brought about by the pandemic. Personal shopping; food delivery services; PPE manufacturing; and postal outlets are all businesses that have flourished during the public health emergency. Grocery, hardware stores, and some government services now offer convenient online options. Distance learning is commonplace. 

It is my hope that businesses and government continue to innovate and invest in technology over the coming year. Outsourcing can lead to new opportunities for our displaced workers and improve the quality of services for consumers. The ability to work from home can unlock new segments of the labor force and improve the quality of life for employees overall.  After recession there is recovery, growth, and, at times, a boom. I wholeheartedly believe that prosperity will return sooner, rather than later, if we heed the call and start thinking outside the box, taking more risks, and questioning the way we do things, rather than continuing to follow operational models that are no longer tenable. There is no future in being “safe” or returning to “normalcy.” We must come together, embrace the change, be bold, and forge a new path forward. mbj


— Ryan Mummert is the general manager of Title Guaranty of Guam. He can be reached at [email protected].