Understaffing leaving students overworked


Emilio Medina

Businesses around the world are plagued by the same problem: understaffing. Businesses turn to students, relying on them now more than ever to fill the labor shortage. Employers entice potential employees by increasing job benefits, appealing to dozens, but the negative side of increased workload and increased shift hours may or may not outweigh the positives.

Emilio Medina, Reporter

The pandemic hit businesses hard, closing several of them down. Hundreds of Americans became laid off and businesses struggled to continue. However, rather than closed signs, “help wanted” signs on windows have sprung up everywhere; understaffed businesses desperately try to recruit more workers. High school students help during the chaos, picking up the low-skill jobs in the aftermath.

    During the pandemic, a movement called “The Great Resignation” transformed the way businesses operate nationwide. Describing the phenomena of 4.5 million Americans either quitting their job or being laid off during the pandemic due to the worker’s feelings on working conditions and other various factors.

“My work is understaffed to the point of urgently hiring. Fortunately enough, it doesn’t affect school for me. There are 10 [people] in the front of the house and the kitchen,” sophomore and Chick-Fil-A employee Fabio Martinez-Hernandez said.

Understaffed businesses lead to more stress and burden on the employees. Busy days with piles of orders leads to more responsibility and workload divided amongst the fraction size of the staff. Combined with work hours ranging from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. that do not fit for students who have homework and extracurricular activities, students finish shifts feeling overworked and exhausted.

The pandemic increased academic challenges for students. The rapid change to virtual learning and returning to school became demanding and left them overwhelmed. Although stress can come as a bad thing, stress also helps students learn how to manage their time and helps them find motivation. Procrastination and demotivation continue to exist as a problem everybody faces, but stress can stand for an argument to help control those problems.

“The only stressful thing about it is how late I have to be there [at work] and not getting enough sleep. I try to cram all my schoolwork during the school day. I manage to get stuff turned in on time but I wish I had more time to do it. We have a good amount of staff but a lot of them don’t work all the time, and the times I work we are very understaffed. It can get very stressful when a lot of orders come in but so far it hasn’t really affected my school life that much except for me being tired during school,” junior and Zaxby’s employee Ben Furman said.

Half of all workers in America described their workplace as understaffed. Employers continue to combat this movement by increasing employment benefits such as increased paychecks or added health insurance. These benefits can support students and act as an argument that right now may act as the best time to get a job more than ever.

Students with jobs help fight against the labor shortage. Teenagers make up 13% of the retail workforce compared to 6% from two years ago. Organizations relying on high schoolers could support the business, but turn double-edged for the students. After all, to continue working comes down to the students to decide.