Challenges businesses are facing in 2021
Last year, 2020 was a year that businesses want to forget. The year started off with the COVID-19 pandemic been seen as an inconvenience. One that was occurring thousands of miles away in China. One month later we started to take it more seriously as it started to spread across the globe, and by March we were wondering when we would be in lockdown. Another major issue raising its ugly head was Brexit. Could a deal between the EU and the UK happen? The COVID-19 pandemic had forced Brexit at times to be seen as an afterthought.
Once the first lockdown kicked in various businesses closed because of one of the following:
- Facilitating remote working was impossible to do.
- Complying with various government recommendations that allowed them to stay open was impossible.
- They found it impossible to maintain their supply chain.
- They had to comply with government recommendations that said they had to close.
Various other lockdowns
We then faced various other lockdowns throughout the year which was costly for various businesses. Namely, restaurants and gastropubs because they had to remain closed after doing one of the following:
- Spending money upgrading their premises to comply with government regulations,
- Stock purchased had a use-by date and became useless.
- Spending money training staff on how to work safely and securely in the COVID-19 world.
Businesses also faced having to close and reopen at various times throughout 2020 forced them to implement remote working at warp speed. This caused various security issues to raise their ugly heads and still remain prevalent in 2021.
We are now in a new year and with no sign of COVID-19 letting up just yet. The current lockdown may continue for another two or three months, and we may be in and out of other lockdowns throughout the year. This raises an important question. What challenges are businesses facing in 2021?
Challenges businesses will face this year
Different business sectors will face different challenges over the next twelve months as they try their best to cope and stay afloat. This will result in some sectors having to reassess how they will be able to operate safely, and other sectors wondering if they can reopen at all. So what are the challenges that businesses will face this year? As already mentioned the challenges businesses will face will depend on the sectors they are in.
Businesses remote working
Do office-based businesses go to a hybrid working model where employees will spend part of the week working remote working at home and part of the week working in the office? If they go to a hybrid working model. What happens to the excess office space?
Any employee working from home will have to ensure that their home office has security that closely or nearly mirrors what they would have in the office they used to work in. Any employee working from home has to have comfortable ergonomic chairs. This will ensure that issues such as back pain won’t occur.
When employees worked in an office, they all used computers with the exact same specs. So when working from home they must be supplied with the exact same laptops, as this lessens the chances of a security breach.
All bricks and mortar businesses will have to open an online store if they have not already done this. This has to happen as soon as possible. This will enable them to sell products when their store can’t open or when they are only allowed to have a limited amount of customers in their store.
Pubs or bars that do not serve food will have to think carefully about buying in stock that they may not be able to sell.
Any hotel, pub, bar, coffee shop, or restaurant that serves food and can’t open for sit-in customers, will have to decide if they will offer to take away meals if they don’t already offer this. If they decide to do this will they offer delivery or click and collect. They will also have to make sure that COVID is not spread by any food they sell.
How do businesses rehire staff they had to let go? And if they had plans to expand can they go through with it? When will their employees get the vaccine?
The Tanaiste, Leo Varadkar has said that businesses currently closed to the general public. Must remain closed until at least the end of March. So as already mentioned they might have to move to sell online if they are to survive.
Remaining focused on the final outcome of Brexit is a top priority for businesses. This is because a trade deal has been achieved.
What do they have to do to comply with the trade deal? What extra paperwork do they need,? How do they keep any delays to a minimum?
Of course, when dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and Brexit. Your first port of call has to be LEO your Local Enterprise Office. They can answer any queries and or issues Brexit-related or COVID-19 related.
After you have contacted Leo, the Irish Government and Enterprise Ireland will also be of help to you. They have various financial and advisory supports available to help Irish businesses deal with Brexit.