First it was just an aging workforce that had printers of all types and sizes beginning to wonder what their staff would look like in the next decade. Then came COVID-19, and staffing became a challenge to ensure only the right number of people were in the building to both keep operations running, and do it safely. And then as that waned, we had “quiet quitting” and the refrain that no one wants to work anymore.
And now we have some hard data to show that return to office mandates are only making the entire staffing and labor situation even worse.
For printers, that have presses that need actual operators in the building to run them, remote working and flexible office time might not seem all that relevant. But with so many workers in other industries abandoning their jobs because of feeling like they’re taking a pay cut when they are being forced to return to the office, it means there is a glut of accomplished, motivated people out there looking for jobs.
You just have to make them want to come work for you instead.
Yes, press operators will need to be in the building — it is the nature of that specific job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look at creative ways to offer flexible work situations, like flexible shifts, or offer a benefits and pay package that allows these workers to feel like they aren’t taking a pay cut to commute every day.
On the other hand, does the rest of your staff really need to be in the office? Your pre-press operators, your sales team, your creative staff — if they aren’t running a piece of equipment, do they really need to be there in person? If not, you might just be able to offer all these motivated young people suddenly job hunting a place to land.
They aren’t lazy, or unmotivated, or unwilling to work — none of the things you’ve heard popular media outlets proclaiming as they look at the latest attrition stats. Rather, today’s youth have decided they are going to stand up for themselves, that the previous generations’ mentality of work first has given way to work-life balance — and they do mean balance. They are willing to work hard, but they aren’t willing to do it for free, or to give more than they were promised.
It might seem radical, or frustrating, or outright rage-inducing if you’re one of those companies trying to hire — and keep — good employees. But despite how you personally feel about it, there is no denying the labor landscape is changing. The only question now is whether you are willing to take a hard look at your business and make some changes to make it a more alluring place to work for the next generation, or whether you’re going to stick to the old models right up until you’re forced to close to doors because you no longer have enough people to turn the lights on.
The choice is yours.