Well that was … something.

Personally, I now understand why take-your-child-to-work day only happens once a year instead of Every. Single. Day. I also don’t think I ever want to work in an office where you can bring your pets — and I’m only having to deal with my own. I can’t even imagine navigating an office where multiple people have their pets. Boy, has my perspective changed because of this past year.

And, yeah, I know I’ve talked a lot about the trials of working from home, but know that despite all of my griping, I do truly consider myself lucky. I don’t know what it’s like to be deemed an essential worker and have to continue to work in a facility where it’s necessary for everyone to be in close proximity now — let alone before we got a better grasp as to how COVID-19 was spread. I’m also truly grateful for being able to actually work from home. There are many roles in the packaging industry where that’s not possible, let alone in other industries.

What I’m pretty amazed by, though, is the industry optimism. The IoPP reports in its 2020 Salary Survey that 72% of respondents received a pay increase in 2019. That’s pretty good, but surely that had to take a hit after this year, right? It still might, but that’s not what respondents expect. According to that same report, a whopping 71% of people surveyed expect to earn more in 2020 than in 2019. That’s particularly impressive given that some 48% of respondents to a survey conducted by Clear Seas Research at the start of the pandemic expected some employees to be laid off or that some employees would be suspended either with or without pay.

We could use that optimism now. As I write this, we’re experiencing a surge in cases, but two companies have recently announced that their vaccine trials have gone well. The government says it’s coming up with a plan as to how a vaccine will be distributed.

After what’s been a pretty rough year for many people, seeing these few positive signs is potentially a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe the packaging industry’s successes so far are in no small part to the efforts of everyone in the industry to try and keep one another safe as much as it’s been about the economics from growth in areas like e-commerce. Let’s share that momentum.

On behalf of everyone here at BNP Media’s Packaging Group, we wish you all a healthy, happy and prosperous 2021.