People are quitting their jobs in record number, citing all sorts of reasons from not feeling safe at work to be more comfortable at home to not having childcare. These are all reasonable and each person needs to find what works best for them.
If you're on the fence about whether or not you should return to work, it can be confusing. Is it safe? Will you be supported? Will you find the same fulfillment?
We really can't answer those questions for you, but we can help you take a look at what you might expect in the future.
Why People Aren’t Going Back To Work
There's lots of reasons people have for not going back to work. But a couple of them dominate the conversation.
- You don't know if it's safe to go back and interact with people with a virus still out there
- You can't get childcare with the schools still closed
- You enjoyed working from home better
For parents, and disproportionately women, finding child care is a massive issue. Between the different state regulations and federal mandates, it can be difficult to have someone look after your child. Fortunately, the government is encouraging states to fully reopen schools to return students to their normal lives and help relieve the burden on families to find childcare.
Is It Really Safe To Go Back To Work?
This is challenging, because every workplace is different. However, there are a couple of things that are happening across the board.
Overall, people are taking better care of their hygiene. They are washing their hands more, cleaning up, and taking more precautions when sneezing or coughing.
Many workplaces are encouraging their employees to tidy messes faster and to regularly wipe down workstations and desks to reduce the transmission of bacteria or viruses. Many have even instituted a better lunchroom etiquette, providing specific places for people to store their lunches so cross-contamination becomes less likely.
On the other side, you are interacting with more people. More interactions means higher chances of transmitting a cold or illness.
However, some doctors and researchers believe that with the new habits and safety procedures implemented, your chances of catching a cold, flu, or other illness is less now than before the pandemic.
What Are The Alternatives To Working In An Office?
In some cases, there aren't any alternatives. This is true in the restaurant industry, service industry, and any place where face-to-face interaction is required. But, that's not all jobs.
Many workplaces found working remotely works for them. They're able to accommodate their employees and maintain workflow. Estimates ranged anywhere from 20% to 40% of the population will end up working remotely permanently. This is significantly higher than the 6% to 10% prior to the pandemic.
And, working from home went from being stigmatized to widely accepted.
You should talk to your employer about continuing to work from home and the advantages it gives you and them prior to quitting. Discuss the options, including working from home part-time. That way, you can explore your options fully before taking a drastic step.
Is Freelancing Right For You?
One option being pushed right now is freelancing. The option of selling your services directly has its benefits and its distractions.
Being a freelancer means you have complete control over the work you do, who you work for, how much you charge, and when you work. It's great for people who might have other obligations, such as taking care of family members, children, or have special needs.
However, it's very challenging. You are completely responsible for your own finances, finding work, and navigating regulations. You are completely responsible for your own health insurance, business insurance, and home insurance.
Despite having complete control over when you work, there is no such thing as sick time, vacation time, or simply taking a day off. Your work is not based on the hours you put in, but the product you produce. If that product isn't good enough, you lose money.
And you have to be extremely disciplined. Many people were very productive working from home in the beginning. But, as time went on, that discipline slipped. Many companies are finding productivity going way down the longer people work from home.
As a freelancer, if you don't meet your deadlines or produce subpar work, you have no more work. There's no employee protection from being fired or dismissed. And there's no unemployment.
There's one other big factor most people forget: as an employee, your employer paid half of your income tax. You will now be fully responsible for the entire thing. You need to set aside at least 20% of your income for taxes.
Also, most people getting into freelancing have no idea how much their time is actually worth. Amateur freelancing writers or graphic artists getting into the business by charging $25 to $50 per project, not realizing that equates to $5 an hour. Many think they can hustle through more projects to make up the difference, but that quickly leads to burnout.
Unfortunately, freelancing is not for everyone. You have to be willing to put in at least as much work into running a business as you do actual products. You’ll find you work more and harder as a freelancer than you ever did being employed.
So, What Should You Do?
You have to weigh the benefits and consequences of quitting your job. It's not an easy decision. The one thing you should not do is make a quick decision or base your decision on the thought of freelancing. These type of decisions take time and much thought, but we hope this gives you some idea of what you might be facing in the future.