I don’t know about you guys, yet my wife and myself are confused about where all the restaurant servers, laborers, drivers, office workers, etc. have gone sort of, right? Granted, we are aware of some of the general thoughts and extensive research about the worker shortages, yet we thought researching from the point of view for our industry would be helpful. Frankly, I thought and wondered the same thing Cassie (wife) asked me in a Red Lobster last week ” I don’t get it? Where are all the workers? As we waited (Like most), 15 minutes to get a table. The silver lining in all of this being, people are probably growing their patience, tolerance and even kindness, respecting the workers that are doing the work of 2 or 3. Both of our daughters are servers, so we have great appreciation for servers or any employee going the extra mile, to serve others, covering for the lack of employee support.
Below, we researched many sources to get a qualified, real meaningful data and research and facts about this national issue. The Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis points to these facts- see sources for full content-
- Monthly job reports show that the level of US employment is gradually recovering
- The proportion of the working age population (16 and older) that is employed or looking for a job is the lowest since the 1970’s
- In December 2021 this number was 61.9% down from 63.4 in February 2020
- According to the job openings and Labor turnover Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the quit rate -The fraction of employed workers who left their jobs voluntarily reached and all time high of 3% in November 2021
- The share of retired workers is increasing, a consequence of the overall aging population of the US, while the proportion in school has been declining.
The effects on The Office furniture Industry-
In our world of Office furniture design, delivery, installation and move management for businesses, we experience the challenges of losing quality workers, laborers, supervisors, drivers daily. Pre-Pandemic, one of our furniture manufacturers had a manufacturing plant labor force of 600 to make furniture, after the pandemic, only 50% of those workers returned. Moreover, transportation and shipping (as many know) are equally a challenge as there are far less over the road drivers and Statistics show that a shortage of truck drivers has been evolving since the year 2019, 2020, 2021, and into the future.
Currently, Canada reports being short around 25,000 truck drivers while the US reports a whopping shortage of around 60,000 drivers.
Add the logistics issue, manufacturing challenges and the local labor sources available and you could have a recipe for disaster. Right? We have found ways to combat this by finding good people, who want to work, providing incentives like gift cards, cash, dinners, training them into other roles, giving them more hours and incentives to stay long term.
Locally, in Atlanta, there are some high-quality companies with full time installers and movers who we work with along with our in-house employee teams. While we are all feeling the challenges of increased cost for the best workers, effecting margins with delivering our solutions, the alternative is your overall revenue. We simply have to find ways to control spending in other areas taking care of our greatest asset to get the job done.
As for our clients, we recommend full transparency, being incredibly specific about design, ordering, deliveries and installation timelines. Fortunately, we see a growing understanding and patience with clients and prospective clients when walking them through the timelines for getting their new offices up and running. Call it the new norm, or a post pandemic euphoria, or just happy to be conducting business again, it does in fact make dealing with clients both a blessing and efficient.
Keep in mind, there are furniture design dealerships (including ours at www.bt360solutions.com), who have both quick ship programs and even online buying options. We do not recommend buying furniture online as the terms for returns are not favorable to the buyer, and furniture for an office is a very specific creative process to ensure it brings in the best talent, is possibly branded to your colors, is functional, impresses your clients and includes colors or graphics on the walls to ensure the perfect environment for your culture and brand.
We respect that there are many industries and businesses taking bigger hits (financially) than our industry, we also respect there are so many people effected by the pandemic with loved ones, those deciding on retirement, and others who simply want to try their own businesses, Whatever the reasons, be assured that this great country has recovered many times throughout its history. Hopefully we can all be part of the solution and not the problem.
- The U.S. labor force participation rate dropped sharply with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have yet to rejoin the labor market.
- Shifts in retirement and the number of people taking care of family or the home appear to be behind the drop in labor force participation.
- These shifts also appear not to be limited to a certain age range for retirement or a certain gender for family or home care.
- Be prepared for delays when starting to plan your office furniture project.
- Exercise patience and don’t forget to over tip your servers, workers, and drivers.