Are you struggling to find a receptionist who can fill your job vacancy? You’re not alone. Around the country and the world, many organizations are struggling to find qualified people who are ready, willing, and able to do the work necessary. Why is this happening, and what can you do to meet your organization’s front office needs? In this post, we’re giving advice on how to respond in these dire times.
From health crises and delays in the supply chain to record high inflation and worldwide civil unrest, we’re wading through unprecedented times, folks. As a response to all of the pressure applied by the COVID-19, the entire way that we work has changed. But so has the way that we view work. As a result, many people have decided to quit their jobs or delay their return to work after first being laid off at the start of the pandemic. This has led to an employee mass exodus, also known as the Great Resignation.
What is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation is a term first coined in Mary 2021 by Anthony Klotz, professor of management at Texas A&M University. It refers to the economic phenomenon in which millions of Americans are quitting their jobs each month—and not necessarily looking for another one. It’s also known as the “Big Quit.”
The Great Resignation is a response to COVID-19 and sees employees voluntarily resign in staggering and out of the ordinary numbers. Despite high levels of unemployment, employees continue to quit. This is unusual behavior. Historically, in times of high unemployment, workers tend to seek out employment. However, what’s unique about the Great Resignation is that many Americans aren’t looking for employment despite there being many job opportunities in the market.
So, what’s led to this so-called mass exodus from the workplace?
According to Dr. Klotz, these four factors contribute to the Great Resignation:
A growing dissatisfaction at the job – According to Dr. Klotz, many workers wanted to leave their jobs prior to the pandemic, but didn’t do so immediately. This was because the pandemic caused immediate uncertainty and low-level panic. Those who were still employed felt relieved to have a job and didn’t want to leave for an uncertain fate. Back in April of 2020, who knew how long the pandemic would continue and if they’d have a job if they quit? So, many, who would have otherwise, delayed quitting until later.
Burnout – At the start of the pandemic, an estimated 20 to 40 million workers were laid off.
This resulted in widespread burnout for those who weren’t laid off. The remaining workers had to pick up the slack and do the work of multiple employees. The inevitable result of working longer hours and taking on more responsibilities—during a global pandemic—was employee burnout. Employee burnout is a common chronic mental health crisis that causes reduced productivity and increased cynicism.
Of course, some industries felt employee burnout more than others. The health industry, particularly doctors, nurses, paramedics, and others on the front line, were especially susceptible to burnout. But burnout also occurred in all service-related industries, including food and retail. Additionally, burnout disproportionately affected those who worked directly with the public.
Burnout wasn’t only caused by work. People were forced to juggle work with new demands. For example, many parents had to homeschool for the first time. Some also had to step into the role of caretaker for ill loved ones, or deal with their own illnesses while also working remotely.
The pandemic, along with the resulting social isolation and serious health concerns, has directly led to a rise in cases of anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Existential crisis – When confronted by all of the senseless deaths caused by the pandemic, many people experienced an existential awakening. They began questioning whether or not they were doing things that mattered to them and aligned with the vision they had for their lives. Because many people were laid off, they had time to reflect on their careers and whether or not they wanted to continue on the same path or choose a different one.
Also, the pandemic gave rise to a sense of fearlessness. Even those individuals who were previously risk-averse felt emboldened to pivot their careers into something that mattered to them.
Remote work – The ability to telecommunicate has revolutionized the workforce. After tasting the freedom of working remotely, many employees now feel like working in an office is unnecessary and even risky. With variants popping up regularly, some workers don’t like the idea of being exposed to others when working from home is a viable option. Many workers now have a desire to work from home. As Klotz posits, many workers now simply have an aversion to returning to work.
Also, according to leading economists and psychologists, other factors contributed to the Great Resignation, including:
Unsafe work conditions – Workers were frustrated with the often-confusing response from local, state, and federal governments, along with the mixed messages coming from many organizations. Health insecurity became a huge issue in the early days of the virus when access to tests was limited. Sick employees were unsure of how to proceed, as employers sometimes made employees work remotely, call in sick, and/ or get tested before returning to in-person work. Then and continuing to now, there’s the ongoing debate of whether or not to wear masks. This non-stop confusion caused many employees to decide against returning to work.
COVID disabilities – Some people who contracted COVID may be affected by a range of ongoing symptoms. This is known as Long or Post COVID and can cause workers not to return. This can include tiredness, brain fog, difficulty breathing, sleep issues, mood changes, or other issues which make it difficult to resume their work responsibilities.
How Can Workers Afford to Quit?
One positive outcome of the pandemic may be that many Americans were able to save more money. The federal government expanded its unemployment program and issued several stimulus checks. And because in the early days of the pandemic, most states were locked down, Americans were able to pocket the money that they would have otherwise spent on social activities. This gave American workers the luxury to quit their jobs and assess what mattered. Mid-career employees are the most likely candidates for taking a break from their jobs because they’re less likely to live paycheck to paycheck.
Some workers who were close to retirement also decided to retire early.
How Do You Respond to the Great Resignation?
Now that you understand the factors that led to the Great Resignation, what can you do to solve the vacancy issue in your organization, particularly when it comes to your front office?
First things first, we will likely never work together in the same manner that we did before. However, we can lean into technology to support our vacancies whenever possible. This is definitely true when it comes to your receptionist needs.We will likely never work together in the same manner that we did before. However, we can lean into technology to support our vacancies whenever possible. Click To Tweet
If you’re open to the public, you need a receptionist who can welcome visitors into your office while also controlling the flow of incoming and outgoing traffic. But no one said it had to be a human receptionist.
While it’s true that technology and humans can work together, it’s also true that you can use technology to help you out when you can’t find a human to fill your receptionist job vacancy. Virtual receptionist tools can step into the role of front desk clerk and handle a wide range of responsibilities such as:
- Greeting visitors
- Checking in visitors
- Taking and relaying messages from visitors and employees
- Notifying employees of visitors
- Printing visitor badges
- Directing visitors to the appropriate destination
- Maintaining visitor logs
- Creating and displaying interactive documents for visitor signage
- Managing appointments, including scheduling and confirmation
Imagine greeting your visitors with a branded kiosk set up in your front office. This system can handle all of the above and then some. It may surprise you that The Receptionist for iPad is an all-in-one visitor management system that can take the place of a human receptionist and ensure that your office remains secure and that you make the best first impression. If or when you’re able to hire a human receptionist in the future, you can continue to use The Receptionist visitor management system in the same capacity. This will free your human receptionist up to do other administrative tasks, as needed.
Learn More About The Receptionist for iPad
Try our top-rated, cloud-based visitor management system for free. Learn more about The Receptionist for iPad and how you can start a 14-day free trial here.
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