From Melissa’s Desk: What’s Up, 2021?

Hello, 2021. What’s up? It’s good to see you!

It’s safe to say that 2020 was quite a year, and you know what? We didn’t just survive, we THRIVED. We learned, we grew, and we rose to the challenge. We overcame so much to get here and we’re all smarter, wiser and ready to apply what we’ve learned in the past year. Now it’s time to use what we learned to focus on the future and realign our priorities.  

We’ve all heard the saying “time is money,” but it’s finally time to acknowledge that being overworked and exhausted shouldn’t be glorified or praised. In fact, it’s imperative that we prioritize and maintain work-life balance more than ever. We’ve seen professional and personal lives blending before our very eyes, and personally, I love it! It was no secret that we all had lives outside of work, but it’s been brought to light on camera and on calls with kids, dogs, partners and the mail carrier at the door. The backdrops are unfiltered and the yoga pants are on! It’s a refreshing reminder that we’re in business with real HUMANS. We’re all doing our best to run our companies and families and to push projects forward, all while building greater and more authentic business relationships.

The world has been forced to focus on our health and wellness like never before. There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to snap the world into “you better take care of yourself” mode! For years I’ve felt like my life was nonstop from the moment I woke up, but the pandemic has forced me to slow down and listen to my body. I’ve had to refocus on the essentials – eating well, exercising, and sleeping. (The sleeping I still struggle with!)

As everyone heads back to the office, I want to challenge companies to reconsider health benefits and ask ourselves if we’re providing the best we can to set our employees up for success. Consider wellness rewards, in-office health challenges, and encouraging employees to take the time to eat well, walk with a co-worker on their afternoon break, or exercise before or after work. In 2021, let’s take our health back!

As with many other industries, 2020 forced unforeseen changes on us in the design and architectural sector. Because of these changes, we learned more about our weaknesses and strengths as leaders and businesses, giving us clarity on our next steps. We saw resilient companies thrive, strong leadership became apparent, and solid partnerships endured. Now we know, without a doubt, who our ride or die partners are. While last year was difficult for many reasons, for Banko Design, this was a much-needed reset for our priorities, our verticals, and our industry.

In 2020, I learned the value of my opinion as a leader. I’m an individual first and foremost and I should never be silenced – and neither should you. All voices should be heard and respected, even if we don’t agree. Let’s hope that this is the year where we finally listen to each other and respect each other. Love thy neighbor. Period.  

2021 will bring political changes that will have a direct impact on our business. No matter your political leanings, I hope that everyone realizes the importance of empowering and incentivizing small business owners and their clients to grow and thrive so they can, in turn, protect their employees as best they can despite the setbacks brought forth by the pandemic.

The last year has reminded me, humbly, that I am a citizen of God and to no man here on earth. My faith has never been stronger. I’m one of those people who is much more comfortable in the uncomfortable. When we’re comfortable, we’re not growing. I never want to stop rising, learning or improving myself, my company, or my family. I thank God for that reminder.

My contribution to 2021 will be to honor every day with gratitude. This is a very exciting time! All verticals in our industry have much to recover from but all have unbounded potential. I challenge my fellow designers and industry partners to put 2020 behind you, make time for your family and your health, and be bold in taking advantage of the new opportunities before you.

I, for one, cannot wait to crush 2021. Who’s with me?

Melissa Banko, Principal | Banko Design

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Banko Design is a turnkey interior design firm for the active adult, boutique hospitality, multifamily, and senior living markets with in-house FF&E procurement. Our talented team of designers and purchasing agents work with developers and operators to program, design, document, procure and install stunning spaces at any price point.