COVID-19 variants continue to appear one after another. After the Delta variant comes Omicron. Many companies are, therefore, further postponing their employees’ full return to their offices. According to CNN Business, Ford Motors Corporation announced on December 6 that it is moving its scheduled return to the office from January to March 2022.
The previous week, Google also revoked its January plan with no definite scheduled return to the office. It only promised its workers a 30-day advance notice and said that those who wish to return earlier are free to do so. Uber has indefinitely postponed its schedule of returning to the office. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is giving its employees up to June 2022 to return to their offices. Lyft, on the other hand, is giving its employees up to 2023.
Many employees do not want to return to the office at all. A new survey by Frontier Communications shows that because of the new COVID-19 variants, particularly the emergence of Omicron, 64 percent of workers prefer to work remotely. If required to work on-site, 49 percent stated that they would rather quit.
Millions have already quit in the past months of 2021 in what has been called the Great Resignation. Workers seek jobs that allow remote work arrangements or find freelance jobs instead. According to Marketplace, the freelancers’ platform Upwork reported that some 36 percent of the workforce or 59 million Americans worked freelance full-time or part-time this year.
Be the Boss
For 2022, you can ensure that you will be working from home permanently if you establish your own business. Whatever field you are in, you can offer your services from home. You can set yourself up as a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC).
You can be a one-person company without any employees. With so many freelancers from various fields out there, you can easily hire anyone on limited contracts as you need their services. This keeps your costs low and keeps you nimble.
Building Your Home Office
It is important to have a dedicated home office separate from the household. This will enable you to focus completely on work without distractions. Video meetings must be professional without any household noises in the background. You will not want clients to see household members walking behind you.
Having a distinctly allocated space used only for business also enables you to claim a home office tax deduction. The area of the home office must be compared to the area of the entire house and the same percentage can be claimed as rent or home mortgage, mortgage insurance, utility bills, garbage collection bills, and any homeowners’ association fees. All expenses for the home office are deductible, as well. This includes building the home office, repair, maintenance, furnishings, and office supplies.
You can convert one room in the house into a home office if you have a spare room. A basement or an attic will also do. Another option is to build a home office above the garage or on extra space in the yard. For this, you will need to hire skilled labor. If you have the resources to spare, you can hire a contractor for the entire job.
To save on costs, however, you can hire the skilled workers yourself and help them, as well. Since they will most likely not have invested in expensive large equipment such as scissor lifts, you can rent these as needed. It is crucial to protect rental equipment during construction to avoid penalties.
Tools for the Business
Since the pandemic began, business activities have been done online. In all fields, companies are found by consumers through online search. It is, therefore, important to build a strong online presence with a user-friendly interactive website with search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing. If you are an IT professional, you can do all of these yourself. If not, you can pay for these services.
To protect yourself and your clients, you need to have a strong cybersecurity system. Choose one that provides ongoing cloud backup of your data so that you will not lose anything in case of a breach.
As a business, you will need accounting software to keep track of your financial books. If you are not familiar with this, you can get the services of an accountant to walk you through what you need to do regularly. Afterward, you will only need to hire an accountant whenever you are doing your taxes.
Make sure to invest in business insurance, as well. Get insurance for your business assets as well as for business interruption. This will cover you in case you need to shut down due to theft or damage from a fire or extreme weather events. Cyber liability insurance will cover you if you need to pay clients in case of a data breach. You can also get errors and omission insurance if this applies to your business.
The new year promises new beginnings and opportunities for everyone. As the pandemic continues to change the business landscape, now is the time to go out on your own and establish your turf.