Lessons from pandemic: How it will impact employers and consumers in the new year

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - As the new economic year gets underway and businesses feel the pain and learn lessons from last year’s coronavirus pandemic, small business and consumers are planning for 2021. That’s according to results of the annual JPMorgan Chase Business Leaders Outlook survey.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses and Americans overall shows that half believe their personal values have changed due to the pandemic, with increased focus on health and expectations that the increased amount of quality time they’ve now become used to spending with family and friends, will become permanent.

The pandemic has also had a profound impact on shifts to how and where people work. On average, 78% of small businesses have had all or some of their employees working remotely since the start of the pandemic. When it comes to midsize businesses, 71% have shifted some or all their workforce to work from home, with many not planning to change their employees’ arrangements over the next six months.

Top of mind considerations for small and midsize businesses include saving for a cash buffer and creating contingency plans in an ever-evolving landscape. According to the results of the survey, 20% of small businesses expect to offer more contactless payment options, while 12% of companies expect to pivot their businesses to nearly a 100% e-commerce presence in the year ahead.

Similarly, midsize business also reported significant changes to their operating models and strategies due to the pandemic, with 65% having built up their cash reserves, 56% increasing the use of online banking and treasury tools and 53% preparing their businesses for similar events in the future.

Small and midsize business leaders continue to take actions to prepare for potential cyber-related threats, such as malware/ransomware. The three most common actions taken were:

·       Prioritizing employee education and training

·       Developing proactive counter measures

·       Purchasing cyber insurance

On Thursday, Jim Glassman, Head Economist for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking, joined NewsChannel 7 at 4′s Deep Bench to discuss the 2021 Business Leaders Outlook report, outline expectations for small and midsize businesses in the new year and explain how economic trends will impact businesses, employees and communities.

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