The last two years brought major changes to the business world. As a result of the pandemic many companies were forced to downsize in order to adapt, and others turned to remote working. As the world slowly returns to normal, and businesses return to the office, many companies are facing new challenges including the ongoing issue of labor shortages.
Since the pandemic began and remote working became an option, it has become the preferred method of work, leaving many on-site positions undesirable. In addition, many positions in the ITAD industry require special skills and training. The lingering labor shortage results in higher costs of services, which leads to longer lead times and delayed projects for many facilities. Delayed projects create warehouse congestion and can result in the need for even more labor to organize overflowing warehouses, or a larger budget for more storage space.
As difficult as it can be to find sufficient labor these days, the key to this challenge may lie in more creativity from employers. A large portion of the ITAD industry is labor intensive. This and restrictive schedules have become unattractive to many workers. Remote working is the preferred method of work because of the convenience. Flexible work hours allow for those with children to coordinate with childcare needs, doctor’s appointments, dentist visits, etc. Looking at creative mechanisms that might compete with this flexible scheduling may improve the attractiveness of on-site employment. Many businesses are experimenting with a four-day work week, which provides an extra week day for the scheduling of appointments that would otherwise be pushed to the weekend or result in using PTO hours. In addition, increasing compensation structures would likely increase employee interest and willingness to put in on-site work.
Labor shortages in this industry are particularly problematic because of the environmental impact of IT asset disposition. ITAD facilities provide an alternative method of disposal so electronics do not end up in landfills and incinerators. Without labor, ITAD warehouses become backed up and delay project completion. Some ITAD enterprises offer benefits to the environment as well as the economy. HOBI specifically offers repair and refurbishment services to increase value in devices not yet beyond their useful lifecycle, which requires trained workers who know how to handle battery removal.
Sufficient labor is crucial in maintaining smooth, efficient processing, and to ensure that every device is accounted for during every step of disposition. If employers work to make the industry more attractive via flexible scheduling, shorter work weeks and new compensation structures, it’s possible that more workers would be willing to return to on-site positions and improve the shortage throughout the industry.