That was the case for Matt Gisin, 24, who gave notice at his job as a graphic designer at a health and wellness company this month. During the pandemic, he was able to work remotely, and without a commute, he had more time for hobbies like CrossFit and video game streaming.
“I got very adjusted to all of this time and all of this freedom,” he said.
But slowly, his company began requiring employees to come back into the office, first for two days a week, then three, then four. With so many people commuting to work in their cars, his trip from his home in Mamaroneck, N.Y., to the middle of Long Island could stretch to two hours each way, leaving him little time for his pastimes.
“I wasn’t happy anymore,” he said. “I was finding happiness in a lot of outside activities so I took this kind of leap to leave.” He now hopes to find a job in the video game industry.
Economists expect the elevated level of quitting to continue for some time, as the pandemic eases and the economy rebalances.
“I would be surprised if this ended before the summer ended,” said Andrew Chamberlain, the chief economist for the hiring site Glassdoor. But he also said there was an “expiration date”: A high number of workers quitting will contribute to a labor shortage, eventually forcing employers to raise wages and provide other incentives, which will help lure workers back and re-establish economic equilibrium.
In the meantime, he said, workers — especially those with low wages — will continue to gain leverage over employers.
“The longer these shortages persist, the more bargaining power you put into the hands of very low-skilled workers,” he said. “There is some evidence that employers are moving in response, and that’s unusual.”