Experts in the Media

Ingrid Bayer – The Canberra Times

Founder & CEO of VA Institute

How businesses can survive the perfect resignation storm

·         Ingrid Bayer


There’s more to life than going into the office every single day. Picture: Shutterstock

As business owners grapple with getting back to “normal”, and the implications of what the pandemic will mean for them in the long-term, they are now also facing a tidal wave of staff departures, if predictions of “The Great Resignation” are to be believed.

I consult daily with individuals who are choosing to exit their traditional employee roles for the greener pastures of their own home-based businesses and consulting. And employers need to use this to their advantage, not resist it.

It’s clear workers have realised working from home can still deliver the required job outcomes with – in some cases – the benefit of increased productivity due to less interruptions and the ability to focus. Suddenly it dawned on these home-based workers that there is much more to life than going into the office every single day.

Consulting also serves to build a former employee’s job security. The rapidly changing fortunes of business thanks to the pandemic now means that workers can often be less exposed to financial risk when operating as a home-based independent contractor, when compared to being an employee. For the employee, a job loss means the loss of their entire income source – but the independent contractor, on the other hand, provides their service to several clients and is therefore able to manage the loss of a client and its associated income stream with comparative ease.

On the other hand, smart business owners have realised that utilising work from home contractors saves them money … barrel loads of it, actually. Engaging an independent contractor means there’s no more superannuation, payroll tax, and other on-costs that employees naturally come with. On top of that, there’s no rules or regulations around minimum or maximum hours the independent contractor needs to be engaged for, which gives businesses the ability to scale up (or down) quickly, thus building resilience and the ability to survive through uncertainty.

So it seems there are plus sides to The Great Resignation for business owners.

The new breed of disenfranchised employee turned independent contractor knows this, and is using this to their distinct advantage. They get to use the skills they have perfected over their years in traditional employment and work with businesses they choose to, all while enjoying a work-life balance that in the past was unattainable.

How can business owners survive The Great Resignation? It all revolves around adopting and embracing a virtual or hybrid business model where possible. Business owners need to give employees the option to work from home if that suits them, and invest in building a culture that supports both office-based or home-based teams.

Other benefits for businesses of having a higher number of contractors include the obvious cost saving on less physical office space and the associated staff amenities. But by far the greatest benefit is that a company can search for and attract either employed staff or independent contractors who are the best fit for a role and are no longer limited to working with people who reside locally.

Maybe The Great Resignation is actually The Great Hope – the perfect storm.

  • Ingrid Bayer established the VA Institute of Australia in 2017, where she uses her skills and expertise to help skilled administration professionals launch their own successful and profitable virtual assistant business.