The Daily Rundown

The Small Business Daily Rundown: SECURE Act, Patent Trolls, Office Space

Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.

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Today we’ll take a look at some of the finer points of the newly enacted SECURE Act before learning about how patent trolls target small businesses. Thinking about rearranging the office? Make sure to leave some open spaces!

SECURE Act sets up small businesses to help employees save

Signed into law by President Trump in December 2019, the SECURE Act went into effect on January 1, 2020. The law enables small businesses to band together to buy work-sponsored retirement plans for employees — and as well as adding annuity options to existing plans and allowing older workers to contribute longer to programs. Additionally, the law expands the benefits of tax-incentive 529 plans to save for higher education. 

The Number: $5,000. The new law offers up to $5,000 in tax credits to small businesses to cover the associated costs of implementing a 401(k) program. 

The Quote: “Congress has observed that employees are more likely to save for retirement when they are automatically enrolled to save instead of requiring the employee to elect participation.”

Protecting your business from patent trolls 

Heading into the new year, the last thing small business owners want is to get embroiled in a stressful and costly battle over patent infringement. Unfortunately, patent trolls often target companies who are ill-prepared and unable to fend off such attacks. You don’t even have to hold a patent to be sued by patent trolls, but fortunately, there are ways to protect your business from being targeted.  

The Number: 55%. Patent trolls target the little guys. Over half of the companies sued by patent trolls make $10 million per year or less. 

The Quote: “Knowing how common infringement lawsuits from patent trolls are, you may feel a little panicky about the outlook for your business. However, many small businesses and startups survive and even thrive when they fight back against infringement lawsuits.”

Open and closed workspaces offer optimum mix for many employees

When it comes to the office layout, a new survey found that workers favor a mix of open and private areas in the workspace. While it’s no surprise that 90% of workers with their own office are happy with their work environment, 77% of respondents said they are happy with their workplace layout. The study also found some interesting trends in the use of technology, with more than half of respondents reporting that they have more conversations via messaging platforms than face-to-face.   

The Number: 40%. Employee attitudes toward technology are evolving, too. These days, 40% or workers admitted wearing headphones at work between 25% and 50% of the time. 

The Quote: “While experts agree that a “typical office space” no longer exists, employers that want to redesign their office floor plans should take into account workers’ diverse needs and preferences for hybrid workspaces that include both private areas as well as collaborative open areas.”

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