Work From Home, or WFH, has taken the country by storm these last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While WFH works fantastic for a lot of industries, there are a few industries that just can’t step into the work-from-home era. What are some of those industries, and how should they handle the demand for work-from-home?
It is all too obvious that retail workers have no way of working from home. Retail was considered an essential service during the pandemic, because items are already in a store in person, and customers need to be able to come inside or near the building to retrieve those items. Workers also need to be present to restock shelves and ring out customers, at least until automation catches up and does away with the need for a human presence, which likely won’t be for a long time.
While automation has cut down on the amount of humans needed in a manufacturing facility, especially high-tech manufacturing industries like automotive, humans are still a necessary element needed in-person to oversee the correct manufacturing of items and check for defects. Manufacturing managers may also be required to package and ship items, which requires an in-person presence.
While Amazon may have a lock down on pallet moving robots, for now, humans are still needed to pick and pack orders. Many warehouse environments are not this high tech, either. Humans are still required by many to drive fork trucks and move heavy objects to pack them away into trucks for shipping. Then, drivers are required to drive those items to their destinations.
Any workplace that requires driving cannot be converted into a work-for-home environment, for obvious reasons. Until the day where self-driving vehicles are present – which is still very far in the future – we can expect mail people, truck drivers, cabbies, and others to cover our transportation needs and overnight driving.
How can these industries compete?
Work-from-home can seem very luxurious, but it’s not for everyone. If you lack appropriate time and task management skills, WFH can be a very stressful environment to work in. Some individuals thrive better during in-office environments where they are away from home, away from distractions, and can focus on the job at hand. Finding these people to work for you is important; many people know their limits, and being able to offer competitive packages that rival WFH job listings can be key to finding the right people for your non-WFH environment.
Consider offering healthy time off policies, sick pay, and holiday time. Offer higher wages to individuals with the consideration that a bulk of their wages may go to child care and/or transportation to and from your work environment. Be flexible when it comes to scheduling and time off. Commensurate pay is key to bringing people into your in-office environment: the hourly pay or salary must be worthwhile for someone to dress up, travel, or leave their pets and children behind at home.