You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who has not been affected by the pandemic in some way. In the United States, we are starting to turn a corner and we can see that light at the end of the tunnel, however, we are not emerging unchanged. If someone would have told me five years ago that one day soon we would be quarantined in our homes for a year, seeing limited friends and family, working from home, and not venturing into stores or restaurants…I would have thought they were crazy. And yet here we are, two years later having done just that. This time spent at home has caused many to get a taste of what life could be like. A lifeless complicated and less stressful. A life with more time for family and hobbies. A life where your days don’t revolve around ‘the office.’ Suddenly the idea of a career that fits into your lifestyle doesn’t seem so far-fetched. The idea of ‘work accommodating life’ is desirable and most importantly, it appears attainable.
This new way of thinking has resulted in what is being referred to as “The Great Resignation.” People are making major changes in their lives, and for many, that means finding new work. Almost 4.3 million workers left their jobs in the month of August alone and we are now living through the largest labor shortage in U.S. history. This explains why it might be taking an extra 10 minutes at the drive-through or why your local cleaners are closed on Wednesdays. People are quitting their jobs, but the interesting thing is that many have no intention of returning. There is a newfound sense of freedom and opportunity as people are reevaluating their career choices and how their job fits into their lifestyle. Pre-pandemic, the idea of quitting a job without having another one lined up would be risky for most, but nowadays workers are feeling emboldened in their quest to find work that fulfills them.
Employees are in the driver’s seat and they are demanding more. There is a reason the leisure and hospitality industries are leading the way with unprecedented employee shortages. People have realized that they were extremely undervalued in those positions and are unwilling to go back. However, those aren’t the only industries being affected by the labor shortage. Silicon Valley’s big tech companies are also taking a hit. People are leaving in pursuit of roles with startups and young public companies. Some are searching for positions with greater purpose. Others are leaving because they don’t want to return to campus and prefer to stay remote. Many are sick of the bureaucracy and slow rate of change within these powerhouses. Whatever the reason, workers are on the move and no industry is safe.
So now is the time to get creative, and if we have learned anything throughout the past two years, it is that we have to be flexible. It is a tricky time for employers but it also offers opportunities. Opportunity to create a work environment that is appealing to potential employees. Opportunity to become the place that people want to work and opportunity to be the team people are vying to be a part of. People want to feel valued and respected no matter what job they are clocking into each day. The pandemic has caused somewhat of a workers revolt — and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.