Change is rarely an easy endeavor. It’s often complex and ever-evolving, with multiple facets that even the most robust plans can’t always account for. The past two years can certainly attest to that. As vaccines began to roll out, it was only a matter of time before everyone returned to work — or at least that’s what so many executives thought. New coronavirus variants squashed those hopes, and workers had to stay put. Then, employees began to quit their jobs en masse, leading to the “Great Resignation” and further exacerbating the battle for talent. If that wasn’t enough, inflation rates climbed to the highest numbers seen in a generation.

Like I said, change is complex, and becoming more so nearly every day. Uncertainty, however, has its advantages: It disrupts assumptions, forces what are often necessary reality checks, and does wonders for developing character. More importantly, it has a way of encouraging (if not forcing) a profound focus on next steps. If it weren’t for this uncertain environment, the hybrid work model would be nothing more than a novel idea left to a select few businesses. Sure, it was a means for keeping operations up and running; but it’s hard to deny its impact on productivity, satisfaction, overhead, and even technological advancements — not to mention widening the talent pool for businesses. Executives have taken notice.

Hybrid work aside, the pandemic has demanded that business leaders explore new ways to become more resilient, all while still developing strategies to act on opportunities for growth. There were definitely casualties, but many businesses were able to survive and even thrive amid ever-changing conditions. How they did so could fill pages upon pages of books to come. The following are just a few ways entrepreneurs stepped up during the pandemic — and continue to do so today:

1. Building engaging hybrid events.

Businesses had every reason to be optimistic about hosting events as we approached 2022. Then came the Omicron variant, and the desire to attend in-person business events dwindled among professionals. That meant one thing: Hybrid events would be here to stay — but it would still be difficult to predict the exact mix of virtual and in-person attendees. The same can be said for how to best structure these events to engage both types of audience members.

“Remember, your virtual audience members are likely distracted by things happening at their physical locations, which might detract from their event experiences,” explains Bob Marsh, chief revenue officer at Bluewater. “Keep engagement heightened by including an interactive component or several, such as breakout sessions with questions that encourage remote and in-person audiences to participate together. Polls, quizzes, and chats can jump-start important conversations while also helping audiences get more out of the presentation.”

Ultimately, the pandemic has taught us to build flexibility into any event. In fact, you might find that attendees will begin to change their minds on whether to participate virtually or in person as the date approaches. All experiences should have a similar impact, whether consumed from afar or on the premises.

2. Encouraging work-life balance.

Workplace expert Lindsey Pollak explains that mental health will be the main focus of human resources throughout 2022 — and for good reason. After all, many people report feeling more stressed, burnt out, and depressed as of late due to the ongoing pandemic. As a result, an increasing number of businesses have been making work-life balance a priority, and a Skynova survey found that 83% of people believe they currently have a positive work-life balance.

What that looks like will vary by organization, but the pandemic has shown that most work-life balance efforts should start by offering greater flexibility to employees. Other factors often fall in line with this perk, such as additional breaks during the workday, guilt-free vacation time, mental health days, limited overtime, and family-friendly policies. Establishing clear boundaries can also be beneficial, as you always want employees to step away from the computer without fear of repercussions.

3. Adapting to the expectations of the changing workplace.

For many people, the pandemic further highlighted preexisting societal issues surrounding race, climate change, healthcare distribution, and more. And employees have come to expect their bosses to talk about these issues, so much so that the discussion of topics such as equity, fairness, and inclusion have seen an incredible spike in the workplace by CEOs — 658% since 2018 on earnings calls alone, in fact. Much like work-life balance, these societal issues can take many forms. For some employees and business leaders, for instance, it comes down to expectations around compensation. Research suggests that salaries increase by roughly 3% per year, even though current inflation is more than double this number.

According to Perry Stuckey, senior vice president and CHRO of Eastman Chemical Company, meeting these changing expectations comes down to prioritizing people. “Long-term business success,” Stuckey notes, “is directly linked to long-term people success, and this requires having a value proposition that employees believe in and that encourages them to choose your company every day as the one at which they want to build a long-term career.”

The pandemic has shown business leaders that the only constant is change, and the only certainty is uncertainty. No matter the circumstances, we need to prepare to step up and be resilient, putting our focus keenly on to next steps.