Can your shop get by with fewer employees? (Get rid of the slackers).

The thumbnail version:

  • Employees are being taken back after COVID.
  • Some employees are not (the slackers)
  • Shops can get by with fewer employees by hiring carefully

The full version:

Various reports and articles are suggesting that as the COVID restrictions on business activity lifts, businesses are not bringing everyone back.

For instance, Marshall Atkinson suggests: “Those staff members that didn’t make the cut were left at home because the owners or managers decided, for one reason or another, that they weren’t going to put up with whatever slacker habits they exhibited previously.”


It seems that COVID has taught shop owners that by hiring more selectively they can get the same work done with fewer (but better) employees. It’s partly the old work-smarter-not-harder thing.

So what does a slacker look like? Well, aside from being obviously low energy, a slacker would lack initiative too. For instance, I knew a shop owner who wanted to prove this point about one of his employees. He placed a 5-gallon container of ink right in the middle of a walkway next to a press where this employee worked. For a week the employee stepped around or over the container many times a day but didn’t move it out of the way. These are the guys you don’t want  back after COVID.