In the last three years, organizations have been spurred by increasingly empowered employees and the pandemic fallout to imagine new ways of working. Top of the list of wants from staff has been greater flexibility, either in terms of location or time. But at what cost?
Some companies have been able to amend working policies, accommodate worker demands, and in doing so attract and retain top talent. However, a large number of industries with frontline or “deskless” workers — such as teachers, retail assistants, hospitality staff, healthcare professionals, factory workers, and public-transport operators, without whom the smooth running of society would be impossible — have been incapable, by the nature of the jobs, of offering significant levels of flexibility.
While well-meaning and purportedly progressive organizations have now built in as much flexibility and autonomy as possible in the former group, as an unintended consequence, they are creating an ever-expanding gulf between desk and deskless workers.
And it’s a growing worry, given 2.7 billion people — about 80% of the global workforce — operate without a desk, meaning they have roles that involve interacting directly with people, machines, and infrastructure. Where’s their flexibility?
The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in January 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.
Are recruitment firms practising what they preach when it comes to flexible working?
After all, these organizations have had a front-row seat to spot the evolving workforce trends, which in the last three years have seen demand for flexibility and, for some candidates, part- or fully-remote roles.
To find out how the most pioneering recruitment firms have changed their working methods, WorkLife spoke to various organizations within the industry.
Here we consider the challenges and opportunities of embracing a four-day week – aka “Flex Friday” – digital detox holidays, and supporting employees to achieve the optimal work-life balance.
This article is the third of a three-part series in which DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, rounds up a range of flexible models used by employers in different sectors.
The full version of this piece was first published on WorkLife, in December 2022. To read the complete piece, please click HERE. And to read the other two articles in the series please use the links below.
– What media and marketing execs have learned from flexible-working experiments
– Remote-first, WFA, nine-day weeks: Flexible working experiments of 2022
Leading media and marketing organizations have been in the vanguard of pioneering flexible-working policies in the last couple of years.
For example, Spotify launched a new work model called “work from anywhere” in February 2021 that was music to the ears of its 8,600 employees, according to data published in August 2022.
The policy enabled staff to decide when they worked in a Spotify office or wherever else on the planet, as long as the music-streaming company had a country hub. As a direct result of the policy, and despite the Great Resignation trend, Spotify claimed staff churn had reduced compared to pre-pandemic levels and increased the diversity of its workforce.
Elsewhere, streaming giant Netflix is lauded for its impressive level of flexibility for employees, as well as a progressive benefits package. It may be headquartered in California – the U.S. doesn’t provide maternity or paternity leave to citizens – but Netflix has one of the most robust parental plans in the world, offering a full year of maternity and paternity leave for employees.
To discover what others in the marketing and media industries are doing regarding flexible working, WorkLife spoke to a range of organizations. Below we explore a hybrid working model that has boosted productivity by 56%, a fully remote policy – and Friday afternoons off – flexible-working holidays, and a “work your own way” culture.
This article is the second of a three-part series in which DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, rounds up a range of flexible models used by employers in different sectors. The full version of this piece was first published on WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.
Technology titans were among the first to make drastic and permanent flexible-working policy changes in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, unsurprisingly. After all, if the last three years have taught us anything, technology is an excellent enabler for remote working.
Household names — including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Adobe and others — quickly declared their intentions to update their working methods. And before long, they had published blueprints for hybrid working — for example, when Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky unveiled the company’s remote working policy at the start of May in only 105 words, an act that was lauded at the time for its boldness and simplicity.
WorkLife spoke to numerous technology organizations, away from the usual suspects, to discover what flexible-working policies they had adopted recently and to find out what worked and didn’t. Below we consider the merits of a nine-day week — an alternative to the much-vaunted four-day week — complete location flexibility, a remote-first policy and, finally, one that offers employees to work where and when they want.
This article is the first of a three-part series in which DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, rounds up a range of flexible models used by employers in different sectors. The full version of this piece was first published on WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.
On Monday, Dec. 5, the U.K. government gifted an early Christmas present to millions of workers by proposing a new law that will grant the right to ask for part-time hours or home-working arrangements from the first day of a new job.
Additionally, approximately 1.5 million low-paid workers — such as those operating in the gig economy, plus students and carers — would be free to supplement their incomes by taking on second jobs and be protected against restrictive “exclusivity clauses.”
Ministers said the plan was “to make flexible working the default.” But will U.K. employers be muttering “humbug” at the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill?
Reactions to the prospective bill have been mixed. Some groups — including trade unions — have applauded it as a critical evolution to ways of working. Others have complained it doesn’t go far enough or has too much wiggle room for employers.
The full version of this article was first published on DigiDay’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in December 2022 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.
Imagine the chaotic scene: you wake up with a pounding head and bloodshot eyes, and last night’s clothes, which reek of alcohol, are strewn carelessly throughout your home. And, worst of all, you have to be in the office in 10 minutes.
Once upon a time, you might have “pulled a sickie,” but now you can be honest because you remember, thankfully, that your employer has a “hangover day” policy. So you message your boss to say you won’t be coming in today.
The Audit Lab, a digital marketing agency in Bolton, near Manchester in the U.K., established such a policy in the summer of 2019. As per the rules: “A hangover day is essentially a work from home day that is booked in last minute. Due to the nature of our industry, which can involve schmoozing with clients and networking, there are a lot of conferences, events and work dos. Our approach acknowledges that our staff may like to enjoy a drink or two at these events.”
This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in May 2022 – to continue reading please click here.
Hybrid working policies are a mess.
In the stampede to get people back into the office, most employers have fallen short when it comes to providing real flexibility and autonomy. The result: employees that have returned to the office haven’t enjoyed the experience, while those that have been forced to return, have quit as a result, according to sources.
Part of the issue is that hybrid workforce strategies have largely been centered on where employees should be while they work, rather than on work outcomes. It should be the other way around.
This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in April 2022 – to continue reading please click here.
For decades, the majority of organizations have, in one way or another, told anyone who would listen that “people are our greatest asset.” Clichéd as the phrase may be, its veracity is being tested as this hybrid-working world has shifted the balance of power away from leaders toward staff.
For some people, watching efforts other employers have made to offer flexible-working perks to attract and retain talent has made the meager efforts of their own employer even more grating.
This article was first published on DigiDay’s WorkLife platform in December 2021 – to continue reading please click here.