Business trends and challenges for 2020

Learn about what Brexit, employee wellbeing, automation and the environment might mean for you and your organisation from Michelle Shepherd, Business Adviser at Business Gateway Tayside.

6th March 2020


“The use of plastic packaging will continue to be a top consideration for businesses this year, as they look to reduce carbon footprints and meet the demands of younger consumers.”

“Increasing public concern about the environment will be an important driver for businesses in 2020. There is potential for sales to take a hit if businesses are not seen to be doing their bit.”


“I suspect automation will be another key trend for 2020 as more businesses start to consider cost-effective ways of automating their operations. The impact of this is most likely to be felt in the healthcare or technology industries, particularly to help with repair or maintenance issues.”

Employee wellbeing

“Another growing trend we can expect to see in 2020 is an increased focus on employee wellbeing and flexible working. More businesses will start looking at alternative operating models, such as a four-day working week.”

“Employee trends show that individuals are looking for more flexibility and an improved work/life balance to control stress levels and prevent potential mental health issues. Therefore, I expect that mental health training and employee wellbeing schemes will play significant roles in business this year.”

Impact of Brexit on innovation

“Achieving growth is a common challenge to businesses as day-to-day activities tend to take priority over innovation. In 2020, this could be exacerbated by Brexit, as managing this process will be the main focus for many businesses this year.”

“Businesses need to acknowledge that they do need to prepare for Brexit. There are various useful tools available, such as the Prepare for Brexit website and the availability for Brexit Support Grants. The key is to seek guidance and advice; businesses don’t have to do it alone.”

“As a result of Brexit, innovative activities may be delayed or postponed to free up funds for usual operations. Having a designated project lead and setting achievable milestones will be fundamental to ensure innovative activities continue in 2020.”

“Regardless of the Brexit situation, businesses should always be considering new export markets as a logical step in achieving growth. Potential new markets depend on the nature of the business, but India, China and America are likely to remain popular overseas targets in 2020.”

Get the support you need right now

You can connect with us through the contact form, call us or contact your local Business Gateway office.