WATERLOO – The defining characteristic of 2020 has changed. This has been particularly true for small businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a spate of new regulations about social distancing and personal protective equipment, among other things. It’s taken a lot of effort and investment for small businesses to adapt and keep on moving. For 2021, it’s expected that many of the trends created in 2020 will continue.
Due to COVID-19, more people are working from home than ever before. This has been an adjustment for businesses, especially small ones. Overall, the trend has been a positive one. Telecommuting has helped many small businesses reduce their overhead. By saving on rent, office equipment, and parking space rental, small businesses can maximize their profitability. What’s more, remote work has been incredibly successful for companies and employees alike during the pandemic. It’s expected that the work from home trend will persist well into 2021.
Another trend that already existed in 2020 was the move towards gig work. Gig work is essentially freelancing. Working with platforms like Uber, Rover, and other service providers allow freelancers to set their maximum flexibility schedules. Sometimes, they can also set their rates.
Gig work can offer significant benefits for small businesses, too. By contracting with freelancers for short periods, entrepreneurs can keep their overhead low while they continue to grow. It’s important to be aware of state law regarding freelancers, particularly in states like California and New York. These states have very stringent rules about what separates freelancers and gig workers from W-2 employees.
Finally, some traditional industries have had a successful 2020. Although COVID-19 significantly impacted many retail and office jobs, some industries have been expanding. 2020 has been a wonderful year for construction and related trades. Many people now working from home have remodeled. Zoom rooms are becoming a very desirable feature in new construction, too.
Security and medical careers have been stable, too. Medicine has had an up and down year. Elective procedures have been postponed due to COVID-19 in many places. But facilities have been hiring more people. For example, many assisted living, and nursing homes have been hiring additional help due to social distancing regulations.