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PC sales up as job quit numbers are also up, and how it all relates

A bit more on the ever-changing post-pandemic landscape for the workspace.

The Wall Street Journal covered the demand for the Desktop PC – it’s back!      In 2021, demand jumped, expected to be about 7% higher per IDC data.      Of course, laptops are hotter, with 2021 expected to be at 15%, down from the 29% surge in the first year of the pandemic.  

Of course, managers may not be working there.  Per data from Oracle NetSuite, the average manager is now working 49 hours a week while the average executive works 48 hours a week, and the average worker is working 46 hours a week. According to the survey, a full 60 percent of managers said they are spending more time on hiring than in 2019.

According to the survey, burnout is a concern, and managers have been hit hardest. Roughly 37 percent of managers say it’s a key reason they would leave their job, and 47 percent of managers are considering quitting for a less demanding job because of burnout. That’s compared to 28 percent of executives and only 13 percent of workers who said they were worried about burnout, and only 9 percent of workers who considered quitting without having a new job first.

TechRepublic and The Information ran very similar pieces– all discussing how the office won’t’ go away but will look different.    Do we really need offices?     The answer seems like yes; it just won’t be like before…. And no one is entirely sure what that means.  

Finally, let’s hit on that quit rate.   November data to consider: 4.5 million quit their jobs in November.   While food service and retail are notably high… so are professional and business services, at 3.6%, above the overall quit rate of 3%.    Despite being slightly down, job openings are still higher than at any point before the pandemic.  The data also shows fewer layoffs and otherwise discharged employees. 

Why do we care?

As someone who loves talking about the future of work, I want to acknowledge it’s because of the uncertainty, not because I have an answer.   That was the takeaway for the two stories I mentioned.     There isn’t one answer.    Remember that.

The power dynamic leans towards the employee right now.   The job quit data was notable to me because it would be easy to dismiss the quits as just service industries… it’s professional services too, coming in above average.   So not as dramatic as what is happening in food service, but not to be ignored either.    

So take that management data – if you are in a leadership position, I’d be very focused on managing the mental health of your people.    If they’re hard to find and hard to retain, don’t burn them out – and recognize burnout might not be just related to what’s happening in the virtual office.