Today we know every member of the workforce is extremely valuable because when we went home in March, everything fell apart.
The stock market (and our retirement savings), our incomes, companies, and a good slice of our dreams, at least in the short term. Not to mention our friends and family who suffered from the virus that has been the top of our minds.
But now that we see the end of the virus insight, what do we do?
People have different ideas.
Harvard Business Review recommends:
1 – Test every worker — Open the parking lots and make sure every person is well.
2 – Certify patients as ready to work (and not shedding virus.)
3 – Employers, retailers, restaurants, even friends, and neighbors insist on verification that each person is virus-free. Everyone maintains social distancing.
4 – States would optimize the plan.
Meanwhile, the Imperial College of London says stringent controls will be required to keep people safe.
They suggest: Impose social distancing every time admissions to intensive care units spike. Relax when they fall.
Their advice is to do this until a vaccine is discovered, possibly 18 months. So schools would close and social distancing practiced in two-month blocks, with one month off.
Meanwhile, until a vaccine is available, everyone mostly stays in quarantine, minimizing social contact.
Under this model, we just accept that restaurants, cafés, sports, gyms, theaters, malls cruises, and airlines basically shut down.
A dour existence in which we live the pandemic daily?
Not everyone is so downbeat.
Most observers think that mass testing is really the main requirement for getting back to work and social life.
In China, traffic jams and smog are back and sales of housing and cars are ticking upward, according to Foreign Policy.
One problem in China that is slowing a return to growth: People are not spending money, especially on big-ticket items. Maybe everyone everywhere is saving an emergency fund.
How to get a job without work experience or a degree
Are you looking to land your first job or make a career change? Even if you lack experience in a prospective field, it still may be possible to find a position in it. Here are some tips to help you get the job you want.
• Diversify your training. Whether you sign up for online courses, participate in professional workshops or complete a certification program, any attempt to broaden your education will show employers that you’re dedicated and eager to learn.
• Rely on your network. Your friends and family members may have connections that prove invaluable to your job search. Let them know the type of position you’re looking for, and ask if they’d be willing to make a referral or arrange an introduction.
• Expand your knowledge. Spend some time researching the field that interests you. This will allow you to determine what roles you’d be best suited for and familiarize yourself with the industry terms and key players.
• Refine your résumé. Organize your CV to highlight the skills that would make you a good candidate for a particular position. Include relevant volunteer work, passion projects, and hobbies to demonstrate your interest in the field.
If you succeed in getting an interview, don’t let your lack of experience be seen as a flaw. Focus on discussing your strengths, and emphasize your willingness to learn on the job.
Are PPP loans taxable?
Last year’s Payment Protection loans were a big help to many businesses around the country, helping them stay afloat during the pandemic. But the loans came with a number of catches, including ever-changing and confusing rules about how they could be used, whether they would be forgiven in full, and any tax implications.
A PPP loan can be forgiven if at least 60 percent of it is used for employee payroll costs. The loan forgiveness application is submitted to the lender that granted the loan, which can be a confusing process all by itself.
However, if you made it through the forgiveness process, what next? Is the forgiven PPP loan considered taxable income?
No. When Congress passed the CRRSAA law in December 2020, it classified a forgiven PPP loan as tax-exempt.
Additionally, expenses paid with PPP loans can be claimed as deductions. In other words, the portion of the loan that was used for other, approved expenses under the terms of the loan — things like rent, utilities, mortgage interest, personal protective equipment, and the like — can be written off.
This is a reversal of the original instruction from the IRS and the Treasury Department, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The decision came after some businesses anticipated higher taxable revenue in 2020, due to not being able to write off as many expenses.
As with any other significant financial business matter, consult a tax professional when filing your taxes. Last year was a doozy with more moving parts than usual, and you will want a pro to decipher it.
No surprise: Pizza shops do well
Heavy regulations on dining have decimated the restaurant industry in the past year, but one player is growing.
Pizza, the cheesy comfort food, is not only budget-friendly, but its delivery systems were in place before the forced shutdown.
Pizza is the bright light in the restaurant sector, with revenues up at major pizza chains Domino’s and Papa John’s, according to the New York Times. Even frozen pizza is up more than a fifth, according to NielsenIQ.
According to the New York Times, Domino’s attributes much of its success to its investments in delivery service and its digital platform.
The news isn’t so good for the rest of the sector, especially for local restaurants. At least 110,000 restaurants have closed permanently, according to Forbes.
In California, the state prohibited indoor and outdoor dining until Jan. 25 of this year. New York City has restricted restaurant capacity to 25 percent, with dine-in service restricted to outdoor tables — even during winter.
According to Forbes, 90 percent of restaurant owners say state restrictions are the biggest threat to their business since they opened, and more than half say that permanent closure is a possibility.
The restaurant industry is a major American employer, with more than 13.5 million employees in 2019. According to Restaurant Dive, the restaurant industry ended in 2020 with 2.5 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels.
How to hire someone for a remote position
If you need to hire someone for a remote position, you should look for a candidate who can work effectively from home. Here’s how to find the right person for the job.
Seek out candidates with the right qualities
Telecommuting isn’t for everyone, and some people aren’t as productive when they work from home. To help narrow down your search for a remote employee, look for key qualities such as:
• Proactive communication skills. Since most exchanges with a remote employee happen over the phone and through email or instant messaging, you need someone who can clearly express their ideas. Consider having candidates take a writing test.
• Strong initiative. Remote employees must be able to complete their work without direct and constant supervision. You can reach out to former employers to learn more about a candidate’s ability to work autonomously.
• Focus and organization skills. Someone who works from home needs to be adept at managing their time, establishing priorities, and maintaining concentration despite distractions (especially if they have children at home).
Ask questions to assess an applicant’s suitability
Use the interview process to further evaluate whether a candidate is well-suited for a remote position. For example, you should ask:
• Do you have any experience working remotely?
• Are you comfortable using platforms such as Zoom and Skype?
• How do you remain focused when working from home?
• What strategies do you use to stay productive at home?
Finally, be sure to discuss your expectations about flexible work hours and confirm which time zone a prospective employee is based in.
Remote work has dramatic implications
Apple spent $5 billion on its spaceship campus in Cupertino, but it sat mostly empty in 2020 while work continued from employee homes.
Business forecasters say remote work is here to stay, and the consequences of this realignment will shake up cities, real estate prices, and life choices.
Although considered a slow-moving trend of the future, remote work accelerated during the 2020 pandemic. According to McKinsey Global Institute, about 20 percent of the global workforce could work remotely and still remain effective in their jobs.
According to a survey of 1,000 CEOs by FirstbaseHQ, companies are planning a 40 percent to 60 percent cut in office space, with about 30 percent going entirely remote.
The impact of this realignment from commercial office space to home-based work has wide-ranging consequences — not just for employees, but for the makeup of cities, companies, and neighborhoods across the country.
For companies, economics is easy. It costs companies about $20,000 per employee per year to have them work in office space, while remote work costs about $2,000 per employee.
Companies have yet to assess the impact of remote work on company culture, performance, and effectiveness, according to FirstbaseHQ. In addition, some employees may prefer to work in an office, especially after the isolated months in lockdown.
For cities, the trend is clear, for now at least. Commercial leases are down, empty office space is abundant and sales of city housing like condominiums are way down, while sales of suburban housing are up. What happens to the cities may depend on tax structures changing and amenities reopening, experts say. Meanwhile, remote workers are taking their families out of oppressively expensive city apartments to buy homes in middle American communities with lower taxes and simpler lifestyles.
For Apple, Microsoft, and Uber, who spent big on workspace with elaborate benefits from food to child care and game spaces, offices may remain a big draw, according to CNET.
How to describe your ideal boss in a job interview
As part of the interview process, you might be asked to describe your ideal boss. While it’s useful to know whether a prospective employer’s management style suits your preferences, this can be a delicate question to answer. Among other things, you don’t want to come across as being a needy employee or having problems with authority.
While it’s important to give an honest answer, playing it safe by listing vague, positive attributes such as “fair” and “respectful” don’t provide the recruiter with much information about who you are or what you expect from your employer. After all, who would want a disrespectful manager who doesn’t treat employees fairly?
Therefore, it’s best to provide a precise description that highlights both your ability to work independently and follow directions. Plus, by avoiding obvious answers, you’ll show that you’ve taken some time to reflect on the subject. For example, you could mention that you value managers who clearly communicate expectations but also encourage independent work.
Additionally, you can support your description with a few concrete examples from previous jobs to highlight your ability to adapt to various leadership styles. Just make sure to focus on what you look for in a boss rather than the qualities you dislike. Lastly, remember to never criticize a prior supervisor as this will likely reflect poorly on you.