NEW YORK—This is the time of the year when people make plenty of predictions about 2012. Steven Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship, is one of them.

Strauss made his top 10 small business trend picks in
USA Today—and they are insightful. I’ve picked out the ones I thought were most telling for folks like you and me—folks that work from a virtual office. Here they are:

Rise of the self-employed. Coming in at number nine on Strauss’ list, he notes that a new army of the self-employed is rapidly changing the face of work. I agree. I see it all around me. As companies are less willing to hire full-time employees for all their staffing needs in a recovering economy, freelancers and self-employed workers are rising. And they need virtual offices.

Strauss also points to things like daily coupon sites, cloud computing, eco-friendly efforts, Internet video and social media. He even suggests that there are signs that the worst of the economic doldrums are behind us. But one of the more interesting predictions he made from a virtual office user’s standpoint came in at number three: the death of 9 to 5.

“Does anyone really work at a desk five days a week from 9 to 5 anymore? Of course I am being facetious . . . or am I? A myriad of things have combined to make it so that we can work anywhere, anytime (whether we want to or not): The Internet, laptops, tablets, smartphones, apps and software are the main culprits,” he writes. “I say culprits because some of this work anywhere, anytime stuff is great (checking emails while waiting at the airport) and some of it stinks (checking emails while on the beach in Hawaii.)”

Strauss’ top trend for 2012 is mobile mania. From mobile devices to mobile ads to mobile apps, he predicts mobile is the wave of the future. I agree with this as well. Even workers are going mobile. Everyone is on the run. So get ready to enter the race. A virtual office can help you hit the ground running in 2012.