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Updated: Apr 13, 2023

By: Doris Hager, Principal of Hager Design International Inc.

There seems to be an iceberg that is showing signs of melting. Having changed the date to a new year it seems there is more optimism that is felt throughout our industry and with our colleagues.

As I reflect back on this last year and think about our clients, friends and colleagues it seems we have all been cheerleaders, administrators, mentors, psychologist, and friends to our staff and families. These were our mechanisms to ensure there is proper support to them to make it sanely over the iceberg in one piece. We became insular, introverted and totally task oriented. Because we, the company, contracted to protect the core team and company we doubled our internal workload as we had to multitask and handle not only our own jobs but also take on several people’s previous job duties as well as new cheer leading and moral support roles.

Our workloads doubled as staff members left or were let go. Our core team had to take on new roles administrative and sales related. Everyone was engaged to find new work to keep the core team together. We became sounding boards and supporters to our clients. If they remained positive and engaged and supported by us this would mean they would remember us when the projects would reactivate.

Before March we didn’t really consider working from home as we are a close-knit group that collaborates closely on projects. Something we thought would take weeks to implement if we ever decided to do it, took less than 24 hours once the pandemic hit. Whereas before, working from home was considered a luxury, this became a necessity. We originally thought that if people worked from home they would goof off, on the contrary. We learned that everyone works harder from home as there are less distractions and no one pointing out its time to go home. As well the set up at home is not as comfortable or ergonomic as the office and too close to the fridge!

However, with the turn of the new year to 2021 came a sliver of hope. Optimism is in the air not just with the vaccine but with new energy and vigor to start new projects. One of our clients has taken the opportunity with full gusto. They are adding to their usual growth of 30 units per year an additional 30% this year since more and better locations are now available and they are well funded for the growth. Well planned growth plans are in place to take advantage of getting better and more available sites in markets they have wanted to grow into.

Projects are being dusted off, plans are being made, private capital is well poised for expansion and opportunistic buying. Inch by inch there are visible signs of activity to emerge from the storm and come out into the sun.Humanity survives again and rises above the challenge.Yes we’ve had lots of casualties but we are true survivors with new inventions, techniques and vaccines.We embrace this new year with positivity and new vigor. We wish you the best for 2021 and we will continue with our blog on a regular basis.

If there is something you’d like to know about, or subjects you’d like us to cover, please write us at and I look forward to seeing your suggestions.


Doris Hager is the founder of Hager Design International Inc. an international interior design firm with hospitality projects throughout North America. Doris can be reached at



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