Navigating Regulation Hurdles In The Work-From-Home Era

During the pandemic, more people were working from home than ever, and were still navigating what the future of work will look like. But not everyone working at home is working for some huge company some people are working for themselves, as the last couple years have also seen an increase in entrepreneurship. In this work-from-home era, that can mean navigating all sorts of hurdles with regulations that havent changed with the times.In 2020, nearly 4.4 million new business applications were filed. Data from the Census Bureau shows thats almost 1 million more than 2019, and the most we’ve seen in years. Those numbers continued to rise in 2021.So, lets say someone’s business is based out of their home, which is pretty common nowadays. They may run into some issues, since there are actually laws in place that make home-based businesses illegal in some areas.There have been headlines popping up of home-based businesses facing backlash over zoning violations.Nolan Gray is a city planner and housing researcher. He studies the intersection of home-based businesses and the zoning codes that limit them. “These rules vary by city, but in many cases, home-based business operators might be forced to secure a special permit, which entails a public hearing and a sales review,” Gray said. “Maybe some of your neighbors yelling at you, or it might come with really onerous rules. So total bans on maybe having a customer or a client come to your home if you’re maybe doing nails from your home, or if you’re tutoring from your home or anything like that, that might be illegal or operating out of a garage.The concept of home-based businesses isnt new. Small Business Administration research says that in 1992, home-based businesses accounted for half of U.S. companies, and in 2014, they accounted for one-in-six businesses.These zoning codes date back decades and are typically only enforced after a neighbor complains. While some of these codes are aimed at protecting peoples health and safety, prohibiting businesses from operating inside the home at all is an entirely different issue. And the process of going before a planning commission to secure a permit is risky and can be expensive.Gray says some people may not even be aware of these rules or know how to navigate them, leading them to knowingly or accidentally operate illegally underground. Zoning codes can also hinder potential growth for small businesses. “So many of the firms that have transformed the U.S. economy started …

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