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Does Anyone Want to Work?

I patronize many establishments and always amazed at the turnover. I meet and greet new employees regularly. I can only imagine the ache management must feel in the onboarding process. How can you perfect customer service when you are training new team members each week? My wife and I purchased our home in 2001 and one of the bright spots of our neighborhood was the reliability of our postal worker. We would have our mail delivered by 10:00 a.m. every day. Once he left our route, we began to notice inconsistency in our delivery. Some days we would not get mail until the late afternoon when it was too late to conduct business.

There have been shortages of workers in some sectors prior to COVID. That crisis in our world exposed many problems in our employment communities. People don't want to work, nor do they want to come into the workplace. My wife and I were watching a news report on a new practice by employees unwilling to return to work. "Coffee Badging" is the new way employees are avoiding returning to the office. Employees come into the office, grab a cup of coffee, speak with their peers and after a couple of hours, leave to return home. According to Owi Labs, 58% of employees have admitted to coffee badging.

Hybrid work arrangements created flexibility regarding where you work. The new flexibility is when you work. The traditional work day does not seem relevant or necessary for employees. Many employees who have family commitments find such flexibility needed to manage children, study for college, and taking care of elderly relatives. The option to come into the office two or three days per month has become the desired norm. However, the challenge for management is keeping continuity, communication, and efficiency among teams. The absence of synergy prevents teams from operating at full capacity. This also creates a challenge for managers to monitor the timely completion of work tasks and the efficiency in completing them. An additional challenge is how to properly gauge the actual hours an employee is committing to their position in lieu of their agreed upon wages.

According to the Wall Street Journal, JPMorgan, Chase, Meta, Amazon, and Google are cracking down on attendance problems through electronic badge swiping. These methods track when employees come into the office and how long they stay. Such methods may not seem favorable, some might call them elementary; however, a new culture of trust and accountability must be developed in this new working world. In addition, leadership will need to position itself to adapt to new environments as employees are taking control of their work-life balance needs. Avoiding rush-hour traffic, leaving in time to pick children up from school, and making time for personal errands are reasons employees want flexible work options.

It is clear that leadership must develop new policy to measure outcomes, effectiveness, and productivity of employees. Such policy will be needed to evaluate employee contributions to their teams, recruit the right team members, and ensure companies continue to operate and produce at a high level. There are people who still want to work. Finding them will be challenging and knowing what to do with current employees who don't.

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