The COVID-19 pandemic was crushing to thousands of businesses across the U.S., devastating whole industries such as restaurants and bars and live music venues.
While the country is reopening rather quickly, with nearly 150 million Americans fully vaccinated, many businesses now face a new problem, according to one report.
“What’s happening: Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks’ notice and make those changes they’ve been dreaming about,” Axios reported, noting that economists have dubbed the expected exodus “The Great Resignation.”
“Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs,” said the political website, citing Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, as saying: “I don’t envy the challenge that human resources faces right now.”
University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson told Axios, “People have had a little more space to ask themselves, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?'”
Workers are now fully in the driver’s seat, as there are a record 9.3 million open jobs in America, Axios reported.
The exodus has, in fact, already begun, according to another report.
“More U.S. workers are quitting their jobs than at any time in at least two decades, signaling optimism among many professionals while also adding to the struggle companies face trying to keep up with the economic recovery,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“The wave of resignations marks a sharp turn from the darkest days of the pandemic, when workers craved job security while weathering a national health and economic crisis. In April, the share of U.S. workers leaving jobs was 2.7%, according to the Labor Department, a jump from 1.6% a year earlier to the highest level since at least 2000,” said the Journal.
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S. last year, many companies virtually shut down and relied on workers to perform their jobs from home. Now, with the pandemic finally easing, some companies want their workers back in the office. Apple employees, for instance, have been told to return to the office starting in early September.
“For all that we’ve been able to achieve while many of us have been separated, the truth is that there has been something essential missing from this past year: each other,” CEO Tim Cook said in an email to workers. “Video conference calling has narrowed the distance between us, to be sure, but there are things it simply cannot replicate.”
But Cook said the company will employ a hybrid schedule. “Most employees will be asked to come in to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with the option of working remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teams that need to work in-person will return four to five days a week,” The Verge reported, adding:
Employees also have the chance to work remotely for up to two weeks a year, “to be closer to family and loved ones, find a change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or a different reason all your own,” according to the letter. Managers need to approve remote work requests.
Other companies, including Google, Ford Motor Co., and Citigroup Inc., are also promising greater flexibility, but others, like JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon, aren’t so sure. At a recent conference, Dimon said that remote work doesn’t cut it “for those who want to hustle.”