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Why They Are Not Coming Back

There are two groups of Americans who are not returning to their workplaces: those who have reasons to continue working from home and those who have chosen not to work at all. Employers are scratching their heads to find answers as they seek to ramp up production once more.

Of those still employed, as many as 40% will probably not return to a physical workplace. Employees' reasons for not returning include fear of the virus; limited access to fellow employees caused by distancing and CDC regulations. Additionally many believe they are more productive at home. "Offering employees flexibility is key to earning their trust and should be at the top of business leaders' priority lists, according to Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry's global head of leadership development.”[1] Are we making a permanent shift in where and how we work? What will happen to empty office spaces? Will person to person communication and social aspects of working together effect business?

Why are stores, restaurants, and laborers not returning? "New Mexico has quite a contradiction on its hands. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country with 1 in 12 out of work, and, at the same time, a worker shortage.”[2] Restaurants struggle to fully open after being cleared to do so because of staffing shortages. This industry was hit hard during the pandemic. Restaurants that survived during 2020 may now go out of business purely because of the lack of staff.

The farm industry has also struggled. Unpicked crops are rotting in the fields. One farmer reported his unpicked chilis to cost him $300,000. With laborers collecting unemployment and the work search waiver still in effect for some states, they can make more money staying at home. "Someone making minimum wage takes in around $420 in a 40-hour week. They get $225 a week in benefits from the state, but it’s the federal contribution of $300 weekly that changes the game... that means the person is receiving $525 a week total -- significantly higher than what they were making while working.”[3] The addition of stimulus checks only multiplies the problem.

Peter Demos is the owner of several restaurants and a Christian. He has been attempting to carry his Christian values and ethics into the struggles of the Pandemic. He assessed layoffs based on the need of individuals in crisis medically and had a three-tier layoff plan based on skill, attitude, and need. Now, he faces scheduling interviews with candidates who simply do not show up. Another issue he faces is "among the employees who did return, several were battling drug and alcohol problems."[4]

The consequences of the pandemic are complex, causing all of us to revaluate much of what we do and why we do it. It has revolutionized the work environment in many ways, bringing trials and opportunities. In these turbulent times scriptural principles can be a strong guiding light for believers. Colossians 3:23 counsels employer and employees alike: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

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