While not an expert on Harry Potter, I have taken the opportunity to borrow a Harry Potter phrase when describing this past year. From here forward, I will only refer to it as “the year that shall not be named.”

Holy cow, is it even possible to begin to describe the craziness, the amount of change, the fear, the pain, the loss?! I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Personally and professionally, we have all been part of something that just might go down as one of the most challenging years ever. And while there’s hope on the horizon, we still face a steady stream of challenges ahead as we end “the year that shall not be named.”

Normally, I challenge folks to take time at the end of a year to run a personal inventory that includes thinking about your family, your career and your business. What are your priorities and goals for the coming year and beyond?

Make sure you’re still on track for what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. No one else will do this for you. You have to own it. So take the time and put in the energy.

This year is no different. While it’s more challenging and maybe you’re more exhausted than ever, find the time. In addition, I ask you to think about your team at the office (virtual or otherwise) and what they may need heading into 2021.

One thing we know for certain is that people are stressed beyond belief. With the virtual world and workspace mixing with our physical world and workspace in ways we’ve never seen before, folks need help and support in ways we never could have imagined.

Parents and family members are now teachers and medical caregivers. Things like healthcare, politics, social unrest and the needs of the workplace have become intertwined in ways unseen since the 1960s. Advocacy and awareness have found a new fervor and energy that has created workspaces and workplaces like never before.

Our teams need help navigating this different environment and dealing with the new normal. “The year that shall not be named” has forced us to think, plan and act differently in 2021 and beyond.

I know there are many things to consider while running your business, and the financial burdens are heavy now. But don’t forget about your most important asset—your people. If you haven’t already, consider asking your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) partner to help. They can put a plan in place to make sure your team is getting the support they need.

EAPs help strengthen mental health and support the ever-growing work-life challenges, such as childcare. They can also help you develop a workplace wellness plan or provide guidance on financial and legal challenges. They can even be a key training partner for you, expanding the ways you interact, teach and facilitate learning for your teams, whether online, virtual or in person.

In addition, EAPs can help facilitate discussions on some of today’s most pressing topics, such as diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), implicit bias, civility in the workplace or legalizing marijuana.

Facilitating conversations, coaching your managers, building relationships and supporting your team—your EAP is there to help.

Enjoy your holidays and try to smile as we put “the year that shall not be named” behind us and get ready for the adventures ahead in 2021.

I wish you and your family peace, joy and health this holiday season. Happy New Year!