Brian Swider
Beth Ayers McCague Family Fellowship Associate Professor Dr. Brian Swider.

We Are Warrington | What’s your work-from-home style?

In the first episode of the We Are Warrington podcast, host Andy Lord chats with management faculty member Dr. Brian Swider about work-from-home styles, what makes people happy at work and the future of the teaching profession after COVID-19.


Andy Lord

We Are Warrington host Andy Lord 

Andy Lord: So, do you want to kick this bad boy off?

Dr. Brian Swider: It is your barbecue.

Lord: [Laughs] I like this. This is my barbecue!

Lord: We Are Warrington is a new podcast that helps young business leaders discover what is possible by highlighting stories from the Warrington College of Business community about the University of Florida experience, business insights, innovative research, and more. I’m your host, Andy Lord.

Today we are speaking with Dr. Brian Swider, Associate Professor of Management here at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. Dr. Swider, who came to Warrington in 2018, is an expert on human resources and organizational behavior and teaches students in our Master of Science in Management program. He received his PhD from Texas A&M and his BSBA in Management from right here at the University of Florida. Today we’re going to be talking with Dr. Swider about work in the time of COVID-19 and how his research can shed light on how we can work smarter as we live in a world affected by a pandemic. Dr. Swider, welcome. How you holding up these days?

Swider: Andy, thank you for having me, I am doing as well as reasonably could be expected. I think that’s the common response people have in emails when people ask how you’re holding up, so.

Lord: I think I’ve received that response many, many times over myself. Alright, so I mentioned in your introduction that you received your BSBA in Management from UF, so how does it feel to be back in the swamp on the other side of the classroom?

Swider: There are elements of it that are really comforting and certainly elements of it that are somewhat, um, odd, peculiar, unusual, you know. There are a lot of positives and they certainly outweigh any sort of drawbacks or issues in any sort of transition.

Lord: Gotcha. Do you got a favorite go-to restaurant you like to run to?

Swider: Oh yeah, we used to go to The Top, I don’t know, two, three times a month. Used to be how it was. We live downtown and so it was a walkable, like 10 minutes through the neighborhood to get there. Very easy sort of hanging out. We are now frequent takeout…

Lord: I’m right there with you, yeah. 

Swider: …folks there, even though they’ve done like a really good job expanding their back patio.

Lord: I’ve actually been up there, I was up there last weekend, I think so. It wasn’t too bad, pretty socially distanced and it’s great to kind of get out. 

Swider: Yeah, and it was, I mean the funny thing about being back, and I guess this kind of gets at the broader theme of your original question, is when I was here originally, The Top was here as well, I just, I couldn’t afford to go and spend like $13 for dinner was like “whoa!”

Lord: Right.  

Swider: And now my budget is slightly larger than it once was and we’re able to splurge every now and then.

Lord: See? Your return on your investment’s kicking in, so we’re glad we can help you out with that.

Swider: That is certainly one way to position it.

Lord: Awesome, alright. So, your area of research or your focus is management, so for those that might not be familiar, can you explain what it is researchers like yourself study in the field of management?

Swider: Sure, so management is best thought of as kind of two big branches, although we also have law and certainly the intersection of law and business is pervasive, and we have a handful of lawyers that teach those related courses in the department. But in terms of pure management research, we have macro-level management which deals with business strategy mergers and acquisitions, board of directors, and CEO issues. I focus on the other side, what we call micro, which typically consists of organizational behavior and human resources and I teach classes in both and those classes, how I best describe them is the psychology of people at work. And that’s what we study, everything from why people take certain types of jobs to how and why they perform certain ways, into maybe why they leave and/or are asked to leave certain organizations.

Lord: Right.

Swider: All those are topics that we’re going to cover.

Lord: Gotcha. So, let’s talk about a little bit of research that you’ve done and maybe you can kind of address how it’s relevant to working in the time of COVID-19. You know, first you have research about how important it is for employees to have recovery time from their work, can you explain that and what you have found?

Swider: Yeah, work is really stressful, right? Like, that’s what we know, regardless of how rewarding and engaging you find your work, that there is inevitably going to be a drain on your resources and to replenish those resources, we have compelling evidence that says engaging in what we what we call recovery is really important to help you regenerate some of those resources to meet your demands. And that’s things like detaching from work, relaxing when you’re not at work, engaging in what we call mastery, or, you know, building hobbies. Having interests that allow you to grow outside of work can actually help recharge you when you get back to work. And then just having a sense of control, and this is more than when I go home, I do non-work stuff. Because anyone with kids knows that like, hey, just because you’re not at work doesn’t mean you’re not really working. It is actually being able to relax and detach. And what that research basically shows is that employees that are able to recover are better performers, are going to be healthier people, both mentally and physically, and presumably be more productive in the workplace, broadly speaking. That gets much more challenging, especially in this time when the line between work and home is increasingly blurred. Some people are doing both in the same location and that can present real problems for individuals.

Lord: So, I know in your research, you’ve looked at the way other countries are addressing this. Can you maybe tell us a little bit about how people are disconnecting from work in other places around the globe?

Swider: It varies, right? So, like in in China they have this 9:9:6 culture, right? Nine to nine, six days a week, where the social norms are such that work is very important and you’re doing a lot of it. You look at some Western European countries that mandate that work hours can exceed no longer than maybe 35 hours a week. Or some companies will shut down corporate email servers, they will ban their employees from physically entering the office via key swipes. There was one company, and I like it, I use it as an example in my class when I talk about this, that literally moves the office furniture into the ceiling, right? When work hours are over, you know they are over because your desk is now on a lever pulley system and is now in the ceiling.

Lord: That’s pretty incredible, how do we get that here, you know? That would be something pretty powerful.  

Swider: And so, you hint at the reality of, how do organizations actually achieve this? Because you have plenty of organizations that will say “we really care about our employees work-life balance,” and then you look at it and you say yeah, but you as the manager send your employees a dozen emails every weekend. And what is espouse versus what behaviors you’re engaging in is really oftentimes incongruent. And it is a dedication to actually believing that  

this is important. And so, our research shows that convincingly, across all settings, all types of jobs, giving your employees the opportunity to recover will have long-term benefits. 

The underlying problem there is, as a manager, oftentimes you are overlooking long-term benefits, for short-term gains and short-term gains often come in the function of more work hours for your current employees with tougher conditions, fewer opportunities for respite, et cetera.

Lord: Do you ever think the US would consider such a law for this right to disconnect? I mean, particularly  right now, there’s still a large group of us that’s working from homes and do you think the US could even consider such legislation, you know, considering how blurred the lines are between work, or from work and I guess home these days?

Swider: So, my short answer is no. The reason being, it’s not even from a, you know, American’s value work and the ability to set your own schedule and all that, which is very real. I just think a lot of that legislation that says, “Everyone has to adhere to all of these,” is so difficult to craft and still capture the nuances associated with every industry. So, for instance, something I was talking about the other day with my class was this notion of the gig economy, right? People who work freelance, either tech-mediated or more traditional roles. So, one of the traditional roles that have often had freelance work or contract work is journalism. People will write 500 words or a piece for this outlet or that outlet, rather than be a contractor for a given publication. And the state of  

California put in a law, 85, that said “if you are engaging in more than 35 discrete contracts with a given employer, that they can no longer use you unless they make you a full-time employee,” right? So, on the surface, that seems to hold a lot of water across different industries, right? If you are doing “I do 35 pieces for a given publication freelance in two or three months, and so this law is actually hurting my ability to generate income.” So, I don’t think from a national level, we’ll see a everyone works 40 hours a week. Where I do think you might see push is either at an industry level, will certain industries start to see standards shift either because of influence across the industry, or, where I really believe this will come from, is really good organizations realizing how important work-life balance is and offering that to their employees and that then incentivizes their competitors to offer similar practices. Because if not, then you’re going to lose your best employees to an employer that treats them better.

Lord: Absolutely, I understand, yeah.

Swider: And some of our best companies are the ones that maybe will be resistant to change, because they have a queue out the door of people who are willing to work 70, 80, 90 hours a week and if they burn them out and they move them through, then there’s somebody else lining up right behind them. And that that’s kind of the push and pull. Will we get there and make it? Well, we kind of have to wait and see.

Lord: Gotcha, thanks for sharing. You know, back to working from home, there’s so many of us that are just finding our way back into the building, myself included. You know, you got a lot of different personalities when folks are working from home and in recent UF News, there’s a story highlighting this research and you discuss the types of at-home workers. Can you explain what those are and how their work styles maybe differ?

Swider: Sure. So, working from home is something that is seen as really attractive for some people and others are very, very adverse to working at home and we typically we’ll talk about this in terms of segmentation preferences.  

So, although it’s easy to say people either like it or don’t, what we really find is some people like it more or less than others. Now personally, I am what would be referred to as a segmenter. I like to have very neat clean lines of demarcation between when I am working and when I am not working. So, I come into the office every day, I am here at 8:30, I leave at 5:30, and when I leave, I try and do as little work as I possibly can outside of my traditional work hours.

Now, that’s not to say I will never do work, but if I can’t do it on my cell phone via email or what have you, I am very unlikely to do that. And even on the weekends, right, this job sometimes requires weekends, I have to prep Monday’s class on Sunday. So, I’d much rather come into the office for a couple of hours on a Sunday than, you know, kind of do 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there throughout the weekend. Whereas you have some people who are integrators who like to, as the name would indicate, integrate their work and non-work lives. These are folks that bring their laptop–their work laptops home with them every day. And maybe they come home, and they pick up their kids, and feed dinner, and then get in an hour and a half, two hours of work right before bed. And the weekends, they’ll work for a little bit then do some life stuff, then come back to work.

And it really does just depend on who you are. We look at this and find them to be relatively stable over one’s work life, although this research is maybe 20 years old. But what this, what this has done in the last six months or so is forced a lot of people to do something they are relatively averse to, and that’s take their work home, because quite frankly they’re not allowed at work.

Or, for a variety of reasons, don’t feel comfortable at work. We’re gonna see how this might influence people’s long-term workplace behaviors and their willingness to work at home versus not.

Anecdotally, I worked at home for five weeks and did not enjoy it at all, right? Like the moment I could find a way back into the building to work, I was back in the building working my normal hours.

Lord: Gotcha, I’m trying to integrate myself back into work, right. 

Swider: That’s going to be an interesting thing, right? Where do managers and organizations start to let people back in versus, if this was functional, if your work relationship in terms of working in person or remotely, if that didn’t change your performance level, should you give your employees more discretion in where they’re doing their work? So long as their quality doesn’t dip, is there a cost associated with them not being in the office every day?

Lord: I understand, I mean, you mentioned segmenter and integrator, is there any tips that you can recommend for these different types of personalities as they work from home? Anything you could share?

Swider: Integrators, I’m always telling them, you can integrate, I still think within that integration, making sure you’re setting aside specific time to recover, to not work on things, because if you have that laptop screen open, you are going to gravitate to it like a bug to a bug zapper. Like that’s just how it works, right?

Lord: Right.

Swider: So setting aside specific time for that, where you say “okay, for two or three hours, I am not going to touch work and I’m going to focus on my family, I’m going to focus on my hobbies, I’m going to focus on, even if it’s house chores, right, still having that time set aside where you can detach from what you’re doing at work. For segmenters, what I found to be really helpful was trying to mimic my traditional commute or my traditional workday. So, I tried to keep my routines. There’s some research that just came out in personnel psychology that shows the benefits of having routines throughout your workday and how it can provide structure and help you transition into work and be really effective. The idea would be, hey if you normally leave the house at 11:15, or you know whatever time, so you’re either midday worker, maybe you’re you get in the office at 8 you leave at 7:30, are you somebody who then takes a that’s something… you know, you hear a lot of people like “hey, I still get dressed up to work from home.”

But the idea really is like, hey you are now in your work clothes, you’re working, you’re not going to venture into the kitchen to get a snack or flip on the television to watch it. You are in work mode. When you finish your day, close your laptop, that’s what I did, I closed my laptop, unplugged it, switched my monitor back to my home computer and didn’t restart my laptop until the next morning. Can you kind of work within the structural confines of your home to replicate the separation between your work and home?

Lord: That’s great advice, Dr. Swider. How about the employer? You know, your research highlights the benefits of employers encouraging recovery among their employees, as it can boost productivity, as you mentioned, so what are some examples of what employers can do to help their employees recover, besides raising their furniture up to the roof, you know? What can managers do that can’t really watch over their employees right now as they’re working from home? So, suggestions, advice?

Swider: Yeah, first, like we’ve talked about, if you say you care about your employee’s recovery, then lead by example. If you want your employees to have time off of work, don’t send them a bunch of emails in non-work hours or weekend hours. If you want them to enjoy vacation, then don’t email them during their vacation. Like, I know that sounds really straightforward, but we have plenty of anecdotal evidence as well as empirical evidence that subordinates, employees are going to mirror what they see their leaders do. When you have leaders talk about work-life balance or talk about taking or being really concerned about paternity/maternity leave recovery, but then they themselves are not doing that, well then what am I as an employee going to expect when I do that? That they think that I am less dedicated, less motivated somehow, less committed to the organization and our workplace goals because I’m taking time off?

And if you’re a leader and you want your employees to value this, then be a role model for your employees. The consulting firm Accenture, for instance, was really concerned about their employees’ work-life balance and specifically for their consultants who are flying all over the world, right. You just had a child and three weeks later you’re in Southeast

Asia working with an enormous client. And they said, well we don’t make them do it, yet they still do it, however if we really care about it, let’s take that discretion away from them. And they simply said for the first year or 18 months that we’re going to mandate that you’re only going to do engagements within 50 miles of your home office. And taking that away from the employee reduces the pressure, anxiety that they have, but also ensures that they’re not going to be punished for doing something that is “normal” or encouraged by the company.

Lord: Excellent, thanks, do you want to elaborate a little bit more? It seems like something else was on the tip of your tongue, so go for it.

Swider: The other thing I really think and this is, this is a work from home, this is a recovery, it’s a common theme that I see when talking with managers or observing companies is a, I don’t want to say a distrust, but I also want to say a distrust, of your employees.

You need to recognize that if your employees are doing their work and they’re responsible, that you kind of can give them more autonomy than maybe you think you otherwise would. And especially when employees are working from home in the last six months, managers oftentimes are “well how do I know if they’re doing work correctly?” And “I want to bring them back as soon as I possibly can so I can watch over them.” And it’s kind of like, trust your employees, right? You trust them with your customers information and sensitive intellectual property, why not trust them to get their work done in this time? And if there is a problem then your job as a manager, which you get paid more than everyone else to do tough things, is to go in and try and work with that employee to find an arrangement that is allowing them to perform at the standard that they’re looking for.

And so frequently managers want to say, “Oh yeah, I trust my employee, I trust my employee, but I do want to be able to check in on them all the time.” And that goes for, you’re emailing them in the evening, that’s bothering them when they’re on vacation. If you say you don’t need your employee for a week and you’re giving them that time to take vacation, then do that.

Lord: I understand completely. That makes me think about the students right now, you know, I mean they’re taking classes from home. We’re addressing employers, you know, technically we are, you know, providing a service to the students and, you know, you’re teaching classes online. So, it’s just changed quite a bit on how students are learning. Are there any tips or advice that you would like to share as students, you know, are accessing their information a little bit differently? I mean, I know some of them are used to taking online courses all together but, you know, it’s just a little bit different right now. Could you address that maybe how students are successful in the classroom, particularly in your classes?

Swider: Yeah, so I’ve been teaching in person now for about four and a half weeks, I’m teaching an organizational behavior class to the Full-time MBA’s, some of the students are online, some of the students are in person. One of the things that I think has been really helpful on my end is both parties, both the students and me, recognizing that we’re kind of learning this on the fly.

Cutting everyone some slack, right? Hey, I’m not an expert at this and I’ve had students say “hey, why don’t you try this, or have your zoom look like this, move it this way, use chat this way, and however you want to do it,” and then just constantly trying to incorporate those suggestions and being really flexible, open to dialogue, if they have suggestions, if I have suggestions, is this working is this not working.

Really being okay with getting that feedback and encouraging that open honest feedback has been really helpful literally from day one into day, I think I’m on day nine or day ten tomorrow, something like that. The class has gone exponentially smoother because of the feedback and this sort of exchange that we’ve been able to have. And on top of that, I always encourage my students, and perhaps it’s easier in person, but even online, get as much information, make the most out of whatever your situation is as you possibly can. Ask questions. If it’s offline, it’s offline via email, if it’s via chat, if hey it’s not 100 percent in line with what we’re talking about, but I’d really like to get your insight on something like this, do that, right? Just don’t feel confined or boxed in to a computer screen interaction with your professors, because even if you can’t meet face to face and having a digital classroom where there’s 20 or 30 people online and everyone’s trying to be polite and not talk over each other but it’s hard to raise hands and you never know who’s raising your hand first. Don’t be afraid to reach out independent of that hour and 40-minute classroom and ask your professors something. 

I can’t guarantee they will all be receptive, but an overwhelming majority of them will be. So if you’re doing this and you’re really struggling, you’re saying “hey I’m not getting this,” or “can you re-explain this,” or “I’d like to talk to you about something that normally I’d address before class and get your opinion on,” but you know, there is no necessarily before class, everyone’s just sitting around before lecture starts. Don’t feel that opportunity is gone, it just might mean you have to find an alternative way of creating it. Even, already I’ve had conversations via email on like manners of dress and how to dress professionally for, I had a student who was looking for, they’re going to start interviewing for companies and what do they think about, you know, various options both in person and online. And like those are normal conversations I would knock out in the start of class or “hey, can you hang out five or ten minutes after class?” And either people are online or they’re in class and, quite frankly, they just want to get out of the room, they’ve been in there for an hour and a half, you know, and I can’t blame them for that, but this is still information and questions that they have and that’s sort of our role. And that’s just going to be a tough piece of negotiating from both parties and it’s just going to take work, unfortunately.

Lord: Thanks for retouching on that, I think it’s really important to address the way that the students are living, the way they’re interacting, how they do need to become a little bit more creative in the way they’re exploring opportunities and engaging with each other. There are limitations on student groups and organizations and people being able to gather here around campus, so there’s a little bit of worry about them finding opportunities that maybe is just a social engagement, but again it is what it is.

Swider: Everyone else is suffering this same handicap. No one’s thriving right now, unless you’re like Amazon, no one is, right?

And if you start with that baseline like “hey, things aren’t great, but I’m gonna do as well as I can given the circumstances,” you’re probably going to end up with results that are long-term going to have benefits to your education, your career, your interpersonal relationships that, unfortunately, you had to work harder than other people, but that’s, that’s kind of part of life that sometimes situations mandate that you face tougher circumstances than others and not letting that prevent you from accomplishing what you need to is really what is going to be important.

Lord: I mean speaking from the student perspective, you know, engaging with them right now has got to be difficult. What are you finding that’s working? You know, what do the students get excited about in your courses specifically where you see them, let’s say, perking up a little bit or, you know, maybe engaging in a different level of conversation? Case studies, or what might it be that you guys are talking about right now?

Swider: Yeah, so one of the things I asked and it will probably vary across classes but what I’m talking about, clearly, right, staffing, organizational behavior, the phenomena of people at work, I could literally have a whole class and just talk about  COVID-related stuff but sort of what I told them was like “hey, you guys get this every day do you want to talk about this more in this class, or do you want to talk about kind of broader principles, broader ideas?” And the class overwhelmingly said “hey, let’s focus on kind of our traditional role.” When, when it makes clear sense, like for instance we, talked about telecommuting yesterday in class, it’s like, well we have to talk about this, right? 

We have to talk about how it absolutely has fundamentally changed. And I told them these are the slides I presented last year, right? Like updating references and things like that, but these are these are the slides I presented last year and I want to give this to you because I think these are still questions we’re going to wrestle with, we’re just gonna have more knowledge than maybe we did previously. But they still seem to love cases, they love discussion, they love thinking about topics or ideas or maybe things that seem outlandish or ridiculous but still are pertinent to what they’re going to deal with. 

So, I have a case that I particularly love that deals with an engineering firm not in the United States because this is illegal in the United States, but it’s a computer engineering firm that hired all young, female cheerleaders for the office.

In the United States like super illegal, can’t do it, Civil Rights Act of 1964, protected class based on sex, right, that’s adverse treatment, right? Anyway, and really getting them to think about these practices that on their face is outlandish and this certainly is not a good practice, I do not recommend anyone adopting it, but thinking about what are they trying to achieve, right? They’ve recognized an issue in their workforce that their employees are dissatisfied and they’re high stress, can they do something to increase their self-efficacy? Increase their motivation, make them happier? And if I told you an organization went out and hired a bunch of people to make their current employees happy, on the surface that sounds really great. Execution, not so great. And really kind of pushing them to consider any number of things that either they haven’t experienced or that they never really thought about from that perspective, has been and continues to be fun even in this time.

Lord: Great, Dr. Swider, thanks so much. We’re going to take a quick break and be back with more from Dr. Swider in a minute.

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Lord: Welcome back to We Are Warrington, I’m chatting with Associate Professor of Management, Dr. Brian Swider. So, Dr. Swider, I wanted to chat with you about another bit of interesting research that people might not think of as something that would come out of a business school. Specifically, your research about teachers deciding to leave the profession. It’s an interesting time we’re all living in, and I know that teachers are experiencing a lot, but specifically in your research about teachers deciding to leave this profession. Before you explain, to give our listeners a little context, teacher is the No. 2 childhood dream job, according to a 2020 study by Zety, and yet, in 2018, almost 50% of teachers reported they were actively looking for a new occupation. We’ve also seen a lot of changes to the way teachers are being asked to work in the time of COVID-19. Can you explain this research and what you found for our listeners?

Swider: Sure, so that study is interesting, and I always want to preface it whenever I talk about the study is, we did not anticipate this being as timely as it was.

This is a paper that’s probably five years in the making with my co-authors and it was a study where we really were concerned about why do people leave occupations? That you go into this line of work and you choose, not even just to quit your employer, but you’re like I’m leaving doing this forever.

And that was our general question like how do people get to the point where they quit not just the job but also the industry in general? And we had a panel of teachers and it just so happened that the paper got published three or four months ago in the middle of, right, a huge wave of recognition of how important teachers were.

Like when COVID first started and school and public K-12 schools started to close and go entirely online, I think the common refrain was like teachers should get paid $100,000 or all the money in the world because parents finally realized that their darling, sweet second grader actually is really tough to deal with at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning.

That teachers all of a sudden were like, wow these folks happen to be really important. Now, fast forward to August and people are now saying teachers need to get back to work regardless of what the work conditions might or might not look. Like and all of a sudden people are saying, hey there’s this study that looked at why people leave teaching and what we found is both good and bad, given the current situation. What I would say is: there are clear ways to curb teachers from leaving the profession that we find consistently. Now to start, satisfaction matters. People who are less satisfied with teaching are more likely to quit. People who are burned out are more likely to quit, right? We have that in our analyses, it’s not going to surprise you, if you pay teachers more, they’re going to be less likely to leave the profession. Like those are all very obvious, all things we include in our analyses.

Above and beyond all of those things, one of the big predictors that indicated when teachers were more likely to leave is when they got assigned what we call non-core job duties. And these are things like designing curriculums or when you’re “volun-told” that you’re gonna coach this sporting team or this academic club, right.” These things, that survey you mentioned, I’m not 

familiar with it but I don’t think a lot of elementary school kids are dreaming they want to become teachers because they want to be the faculty advisor for the debate club, right?

That’s not what they’re doing, they’re like “Oh I get to teach, and I get to do all these fun experiments with kids and it’s this really great opportunity to provide education.” The more you have people doing things that aren’t related to that, the more likely it is they’re going to leave the profession because that’s not why they got into it.

Fast forward to today, teachers are now simultaneously IT professionals, they’re monitoring the health of every one of their students, they’re custodians making sure all their surfaces are immaculate and clean, they’re trying to figure out how to morph curriculum into online as well as in person, jumping schedules. All of these things are demands on their time that are not directly related to educating the youth of America. Like I know that sounds hokey, but that’s really what’s going on, is teachers have way, way more job duties than they used to.

The more you have them do that, the less likely it is long term they’re going to stay in the profession. And that’s something to keep in mind. What our study sort of shows is that, it might not be tomorrow you’re going to have a mass quitting of teachers who are never coming back because the labor market is such that there might not be a lot of opportunities for them to go and find new jobs. But they’re going to remember how they were treated. Literally six months ago they were told how important they are, fast forward, now they are being told not only do you have to go back to work but you’re going to have to do way more than you’re used to and we’re not going to give you any more investment. We’re, I mean, even so much as we’re going to threaten certain funds if you don’t go back into school.

So, we’re increasing your demands, not giving you any more resources to meet demands. Well when they remember that two, three, five years, whenever the labor market returns, then you’re going to have, what we would suspect or predict, is that you’re gonna have a lot of teachers that look to different professions.

The offset to that, what our research showed was how much investment they have in the profession. And if schools are not going to invest as much in their teachers via trainings, certifications, additional education opportunities, what have you. If they’re not going to be willing to invest in them now, then they’re less embedded in the profession going forward. 

So, the real threat we see, is you’re looking at the new teachers. Teachers who are in the K through 12 profession that are in their mid to late 20’s have only been in the profession a couple of years, but those are the ones who are really at risk of potentially leaving the profession for good.

And that has the knock-on effect of not just losing their 20 or 30 years of future teaching, right, because they’re going to leave and never come back, but also how do you think enrollment in maybe education majors are going to look in the next two three five years when you have a whole slew of people who were in high school now or in college now seeing how teachers are being treated when they have just been recognized as being so important? So, it’s concerning because if we have a mass exodus of teachers and a far less rich pipeline to replace them, then we’re going to have a problem. Now again, the positive here is: invest in your teachers. I know that that sounds so basic, but if you pay them more, if you give them more resources, if you invest more in them, then you’re going to have a workforce that is more likely to remain and be productive in their roles.

Lord: Dr. Swider, thank you. Thank you for sharing all this very relevant information, you’ve been a great guest, thanks for speaking with me today.

Swider: Yeah, good good luck, I mean, I’ve had a lot of success in my class with getting students to listen to podcasts, like for whatever reason, that’s just been something that has been helpful. They get to hear different voices. And so, I wish you guys the best luck with this.

Lord: Hey, this is our first crack at it. You’re the inaugural guest, it’s pretty amazing.

Swider: It can only improve.

[Laughs]

Lord: For our listeners who would like to follow along with more research from Dr. Swider, please check out the Warrington Newsroom. And from us here, see you all next time!

To learn more about an online master’s degree from Warrington, head over to go.warrington.ufl.edu/podcast/episode1