Project Type


Publication Date



College of Business

Faculty Mentor #1

Dunn, Alexandra


Some states in the early summer of 2021 decided to cancel their pandemic-related benefits nearly three months before the federal expiration date. The rationale was that removing this assistance would motivate the unemployed to reengage with the job market. The U.S. experienced a record number of job openings at that time; however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflected little change in the number and rate of hiring in the months that followed. This indicated that despite opportunities to return, potential employees were choosing not to return to work at all or seek specific opportunities. Remote and flexible work are two practices that employers greatly adopted throughout the worst of the pandemic. While many organizations have been receptive to continuing remote work, this option is a privilege for organizations that rely on knowledge work. Many small businesses can only survive when employees come into a brick-and-mortar location (e.g., restaurant workers, gift shops, boutique clothing stores). This study focuses on these small businesses. It investigates the factors that influence small business employees’ decisions to return to work when remote work is not a practical option. A survey analyzing employee attitudes throughout the past year was conducted in a small Southeast downtown area with approximately 20 businesses in which employees cannot complete their job remotely. The results of the study confirmed a negative relationship between perceived supervisor support and an employee’s intention to quit. The continuance commitment experienced by an employee was not different on average when considering whether the employee held a different job in the previous year; however, those who had not held a different job in the previous year experienced a higher affective commitment on average. Lastly, employees’ level of surface acting with non-organizational members significantly impacted burnout more than any other emotional labor tactic within and outside of the organization.

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