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2022 will be yet another year of changes. Are you ready?

Baoxuan Tan
Baoxuan Tan

January 4, 2022

Tay Kae Fong

In the blink of an eye, we have reached the first week of 2022. It felt like yesterday when the world went into lockdown, and everyone was scrambling around trying to make sense of the situation. As we start the new year, we will be bracing ourselves for yet another year of volatility with the pandemic’s end nowhere in sight. 

Nevertheless, we are confident that businesses can continue to grow, adapt and thrive in the new environment. So what can we expect in 2022?

Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash

#1 Dealing with Covid will become part of business as usual

Since the pandemic started in 2020, there have been many predictions on how soon it will be over. Yet, here we are still in the midst of fighting the Omicron surge. The latest forecast we have heard from contacts in the aviation industry is that regular travel will resume only in late 2025.

Most countries in the world have decided to coexist with the virus (as opposed to closing borders and taking a zeo-Covid policy) and this decision has implications on how business leaders need to run their businesses. 

For starters, taking a proactive approach is critical. While we hope the worst is behind us, we all need to be prepared for potentially changing restriction measures in terms of gatherings (both social and business) as well as border access. 

The only way forward is to keep an open mind and be nimble. We are no longer as unfamiliar with the pandemic and required measures as we were a year ago, so business leaders need to (as much as possible) anticipate the changes, prepare for them before they come, and stay ahead when they finally hit. This ensures we build the needed resilience towards the unexpected changes. 

Photo by Anders J on Unsplash

#2 Sustainability will continue gaining traction

Sustainability is a rising concern around the world. Human activity is causing the planet to become warmer. If the situation persists, sea levels will rise, heat waves will become more frequent, risks of flooding will increase, and wildlife will risk losing habitats.

Governments are working together to tackle climate change by pushing out regulations. At COP26, they have pledged further cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 was also unveiled in 2021 to advance the national agenda on sustainable development, charting green targets for the next decade.

While the emphasis has been on governments and big corporations, all of us - companies of any size - can be part of the solution. 

In fact, interest in ESG has skyrocketed over the past year, with nearly $2 trillion global ESG investing by the end of Q1 in 2021 according to Morningstar. A business cannot succeed in a society that fails; consumers and investors are challenging companies to take more action on climate change. Businesses have to adapt to a new environment that favours cleaner and healthier products and services. Sustainability will remain a hot topic that will further accelerate market transformation in 2022.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

#3 Digital technology continues to change the way we work and interact

It is no secret that we are living in an era where digital technology is growing at explosive rates, enabled by widespread availability of internet access and smart devices. The pandemic also played a part in accelerating digital transformation, particularly observed in the way we work and interact these days.

When the pandemic started, businesses had to adapt almost overnight to virtual meetings, be it on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We had imagined this to  be a temporary fix till the situation stabilises, but have witnessed it grow to become the norm today. Even in a post-pandemic world, we expect hybrid work to be the new default. Employees will get to choose to go into the office a couple days a week and stay home on other days. This hybrid mode can increase personal productivity since staff can choose the workplace that suits them most, but will need to be managed to ensure team and company productivity and effectiveness are maintained. 

To sum up 2022 in one word, it would be resilience. Despite the difficult 2021, we celebrated small wins and emerged stronger together. This year, we have no doubt that it can become a year of growth, though it requires the right mindset and proactive actions to address the challenges hurled our way. 

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