The 10 Covid phrases that need keeping beyond the pandemic
A view from Nadine Young

The 10 Covid phrases that need keeping beyond the pandemic

It's a year we're all ready to leave behind - but there are positives that have arisen from 2020 that we should strive to hold on to.

I chuckled last week as I ran through Michael Sugden’s amusing Covid-lexicon rant.

Total agreement from me: doomscrolling – ugh, please let’s have none of that in 2021. Blursdays – no more! (Although based on two calls I had this morning, I think "you’re on mute" will be with us for a while.)

Campaign’s "lessons to take with us" piece this morning put me in a more positive frame of mind, and made me realise there are just as many everyday phrases that have evolved this year to have more positive and emotive overtones. So, while I am fully in favour of binning Michael’s list forever, here are some I want to hang on to – just to balance the legacy of the year a bit:

Approval to hire. After almost a year of hiring and pay freezes across the industry, when I hear these words now, I conjure up a mental image of light at the end of a long, long tunnel.

Sorry about the cat / baby / doorbell. Don’t apologise. I’ve loved getting a peek into people’s homes and lives, saying hi to pets and pausing meetings because an Amazon package turned up. 

Awards. All of us want to see our work recognised and rewarded. But the awards that have most warmed my heart this year are those that have shone a light on people’s inspiring behaviours. The Kindness in Leadership awards stood out for me as a brilliant way to set a benchmark for empathetic and warm leadership. Another was an internal Publicis Media award  for those who have driven change within the industry, awarded to one of Starcom’s senior executives for his work with a young suicide charity.   

We’re meeting in the office. A fabulous phrase overheard mainly in September and October, always too much excitement and anticipation. Are you??? Omg I’m totally coming in that day. 

Agency meeting. I know most of us are Zoomed nearly beyond tears but I have to admit that seeing hundreds of smiling faces on our monthly meetings makes me smile each time. And more tune in online than could ever manage to make it in person.

D&I. Real commitment. Real change. 

Vaccine. A word now synonymous with "hope".

Thank you. Not a throwaway phrase but one said often this year, and with real feeling. Thank you because I know how extra hard that’s been. Thank you because I know what it took out of you to do that. 

How are you? People asked the question a lot. And listened to the answer. 

Happy New Year. Never has such a common phrase been infused with so much hope and prayer by so many throughout the world.

It’s been the toughest of years in lots of ways but if we can hold on to the best of what we’ve learned, the kindness and humanity we’ve witnessed, and the positive changes we’ve driven together, we might even be able to look back on 2020 with a sense of peace and achievement we otherwise would not have experienced.

Nadine Young is chief executive of Starcom

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