By Adam Booth
One of the consequences of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns was the explosion of the population who worked remotely from home. Another was the strain on the individuals deemed “essential” to how we function as a society. From medical professionals to the service industry, since March of 2020, we have worn thin the people who keep our lives moving. However, as restrictions ease up in many parts of the nation, entire industries are feeling labor shortages from coast to coast. The biggest reason being, laborers have had enough.
The help wanted signs are hard to ignore. Restaurants and stores have been hit hard by a shortage of workers nationwide. With COVID shutting down so many industries, many people were forced to make tough choices about employment. For some, the money simply wasn’t good enough to motivate a return. For others, it was the idea of the hour-long commute made every day. People were spending more time at home, with their families, their pets and their peace of mind, and weren’t too excited to give that up. In April of 2021, almost 4 million Americans quit their jobs. What can be done?
Authentically, we may be at the beginning of another commercial and industrial revolution. The pandemic has been a once in a lifetime “reset” of society. With that may come one of the biggest chances to restructure how we do business on a ground level. Workers are fed up with many industries and are demanding better. With supply lines and manufacturing already suffering from the last year, now the public is starting to realize the power of the day-to-day worker. In the grand scheme, this can be a good thing. A society where the worker feels empowered yields better results for both the provider and the consumer. However, change won’t be easy.
The solutions to a lot of this are simple in thought but complicated in execution. Workers need not only better wages to be motivated to get back to their jobs, but also better hours, more vacation time, and more consideration for what their life is like outside of the office. So many people experienced aspects of their lives and relationships that weren’t there when they were commuting twice a day to a potentially 7+ hour job they may or may not love in the first place. It’s going to be hard to make those people go back to business as usual. Executives and business owners alike need to understand that this is better for society. Short term pains for long term goals, leads to a happy and productive workforce.
The great resignation, as it is known, has the potential to be as pivotal of a moment for the American worker, as much as the industrial revolution was. A time when the workforce finally has the leverage to change how we conduct business and use our labor. The time to change and adapt has arrived. The winners will be the ones who do it first.