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Will 2021 Be A Continuation of 2020?

Will 2021 Be A Continuation of 2020?
By Simon Williams
February 16, 2021

Decades from now when Anthropologie professors study our society, they will marvel at the growth made in such a small period of time, and at the stark difference between 2019 and 2020. Let’s cast our minds back to 2001 when Bridget Jones Diary was released, and we followed the life of someone who smoked indoors, looked for a job in the newspapers classifieds, listened to music through a cassette, movies on VCR and discarded wine bottles in the general waste bin... 

This was only 20 years ago, and it might as well have been the Dark Ages in terms of the leaps made in such a short amount of time! 

Fast forward to 2019. We worked in an office, caught public to get there, flew interstate for work and pleasure, attended large events, and enjoyed dining out in crowded restaurants. Only one year later, these activities disappeared overnight and were replaced with Zoom meetings, virtual exhibitions, no crowds, eating at home, and travel reduced if not entirely banned.

The difference between 2019 and 2020 feels like 20 years, but it couldn’t feel more normal to us at this time and as we head into 2021. Let’s discuss what we can expect from this new normal as we wait for the vaccine and whether 2021 will be 2020 v.2.

Working from home will continue through 2021

For medium to large businesses, particularly those working in a commercial building, working from home will continue through 2021. Some organisations are trialling partial returns with employees staggering their days to be two to three in the office, and then work the remaining days from home. This is going to be flexed throughout the year as outbreaks occur and social distancing cannot be achieved in densely populated office environments. Commercial leasing has certainly slowed as big business’ consider whether a physical office is needed for every employee and if they can switch to 100% remote or reduce their office capacity. While a fiscally motivated consideration, it is compounded by the fear of being ‘that business’ who sparks the next outbreak in the community.

Events and conferences will be attended remotely

The underlying technology has always existed for remote events and conferences, but 2020 was truly a global case study in seeing whether this was a sustainable model to conduct business and procure engagement. Zoom, Miro and the many intricate platforms geared toward remote access and collaboration have meant that business does not have to come to a standstill and can even achieve new goals without certain barriers imposed by physical attendance. Suddenly capacities are not a factor without a physical event address, and domestic and international attendance can attract bigger audiences to these conferences.

Technology geared toward home and personal use

Home offices were erected all over Australia in 2020, with personal printers, operating systems and supporting technology needed to make these spaces functional. The average consumer has had to understand the difference between laser and inkjet and educate themselves in the many resources that were readily available in the previous office environment. The side effect of this change will be that individuals are now responsible for the ethical discarding of used printer cartridges and other E-waste, as households have long been the culprit responsible for most of the E-waste found in landfills.

Limited travel

In the early days of travel bans, NASA reported clean skies and healthy air, but now 12 months on and travel remains off the table. For professionals who had domestic and international travel at the heart of their role, this has been a challenging time to operate, especially if that role is in sales and businesses are cautious to commit in such uncertain times. Companies that rely on international exports have also suffered, giving credence to supporting local businesses who managed to remain business as usual in their sector. With a question mark around China’s appetite for exporting to Australia and Brexit in the pipeline, Australians using Australian manufacturers and brands might soon become the new normal.


Regardless of what 2021 throws at us, CartridgesDirect is committed to servicing our growing customer base with the printing technology and best practice recycling steps required in this New Normal. Contact our team of print professionals today to complete your home office setup.