When the coronavirus pandemic halted our normal lives in early 2020, the ability to do everything from the safety of home became everyone’s focus. We have seen decreases in travel, increases in shopping online, and even a change in the way we work. Last year, companies quickly developed means for their employees to work from home. Software for video conferences, online chatting, and the ability to access company networks from home rapidly evolved under pressure to resume working back in March of 2020, when everything shut down.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of workers across the globe have been forced to work from home. Yet, when new obstacles are encountered, new opportunities are created. Companies and their employees have been taking advantage of the virtual workspace and incorporating video games, and video game-like aspects into everyday tasks.
As the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic continues to captivate the world in a time freeze like experience, the changes that workplaces have had to effect have been prominent and extreme. Because of the quick spread and serious health consequences of this pandemic, many companies have opted to shift all nonessential employees to a work from home mandate. Through such an action, millions of workers across all industries across the globe now find themselves working from the confines of their respective homes rather than traveling into the office during the week. Here are two benefits and two drawbacks that are being seen as a result of the new work from home experience:
As the infamous COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, it is also changing billions of lives. Simple activities such as going shopping at the mall or going out to eat at your favorite restaurant have become merely a dream, as millions of people are forced to follow social distancing mandates. Countries like Italy and China have been on lockdown for months, while other countries like Spain and the United States only started their lockdown and social distancing orders a few weeks ago. No matter what county you’re from, odds are you have been affected by this pandemic in one way or another. Yet, now experts are beginning to wonder what the world will look like after the pandemic fades out, and if some of the coronavirus preventions may stay in place.
Most of us will spend large portions of our lives working, at businesses and companies producing many different goods or services. Attitudes about the workplace, work-life balance, and business can change drastically, depending on where you are and who you are talking to. One factor that accounts for many of these differences is age, especially comparing the so called millennial generation to its predecessors. Globally, millennials have different opinions about the workplace than older generations, generally being more open to new opportunities, expecting flexibility, and hoping for a more engaging work experience.
There has been a lot of research lately into the effects of gender diversity on a company and the results are impressive. The research found that it pays off in multiple ways to have more women, who are treated equally, at a company. The advantages to companies include higher returns, less volatility in returns, higher performing stock, lower probability of a major drawdown, superior decision making, lower accruals, and attracting the top talent. Businesses are not only driven to diversify by the profit motive but also by the workforce itself.
Baby Boomers worked in a strict hierarchical structure: you stayed in a position for a certain amount of time before being promoted, you reported to your boss and kept conversations strictly employer/employee related, you worked nine to five in the office, and you rarely left your original firm in search of new opportunities. Millennials are here to change that.
Is work the same now, in 2016, as it was back in 2015? For the most part yes, but there are some changes to work that have already happened in 2016 and some that are still bound to occur. It is the freelance work world that is setting the trends for how work will continue to change during 2016. Some of the workplace trends that are expected to have the farthest-reaching effects in 2016 include: remote-first businesses, independent consultants, shift in media, work-life balance, leadership expectations, and consumer-grade design.
In a recent Entrepreneur article, Jane Porter discusses the psychology of the average workday, giving tips on how to get more out of each day. In today’s blog, we will look some of the suggestions given in the article, as well as take a broader look to see how a normal workday might differ in several countries. One of the main takeaways from the article is that workers should look at the workday as several blocks of time, instead of one single eight-hour period to accomplish their tasks. Splitting the day into sections takes advantage of what psychology tells us about our brains and behaviors, and may help workers accomplish more of the goals they set out for themselves.
The mass globalization being realized in business today is drastically changing the way people communicate within a company. Obvious trends in the workforce recently are the acceleration of work processes, globally dispersed teams, and increasing outsourcing of knowledge-intensive work. The boost of globalization represents both an opportunity and significant risk for companies. Now, companies are able to pull in new employees from larger, more competitive international pools, but it is a known struggle for employers to retain these highly qualified workers for the long term. In order for businesses to stay competitive today, thinking and planning for the workplace of the future is imperative. Only companies that are able to communicate successfully will be able to stay competitive in an international market and keep themselves in the running as a potential employer.
The second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, made a proposal this week that might excite employees around the globe. Slim, the Mexican telecom magnate, told those at a business conference that he thinks employers should move to shorter work weeks that promote increased leisure time for employees without losing productivity. His proposal had employees reporting to work only three days a week, giving workers four day weekends year-round. He believes that the shorter weeks would help to boost employee morale and increase leisure activities, which in turn would have a positive effect on the economy.
A disgruntled employee can have catastrophic effects upon the work environment of a company. Although it may begin with one person being unmotivated to complete their daily work tasks, his or her negative energy can impact other coworkers. One employee's unproductive mannerisms can also cause management resources to be diverted away from employees who consistently work hard and accomplish all tasks. In the long-run, this behavior is helpful to neither the employee nor company, as the company accomplishes less and the employee feels unsatisfied with his or her work. However, new human resources programs are being created to combat this issue in an innovative way.
With organizations and supply chains becoming more and more global, international travel for business professionals is increasing. The perks are growing your resume and seeing the world, but traveling across time zones on a regular basis tends to throw a person’s body out of whack. There have been many studies as to how one can minimize these effects, and the studies show the importance of getting on a precise schedule while traveling.
Now that so many businesses are expanding into the BRIC countries, one major focus should be how are they going to secure the best and brightest to work for them. The needs and wants from employers by professionals in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China are unlike that of employees in developed countries. Companies need to learn how to tailor their workplace in these countries in order to identify, secure, and retain top talent.
Businesses are becoming increasingly global, causing teams to be spread around the world. This leads to greater success along with some unique challenges. In order to lead these teams, managers must learn to balance different cultures, time zones, computer software, and relationship styles.
When it comes to managing different cultures in a team the best way is to learn and immerse one’s self into the culture, this will allow complete understanding of where others come from. If you learn the country’s cultural tendencies, you will understand why team members are doing certain things. In some cultures for instance, people do not waste time in e-mails with small talk. E-mails are very direct and to the point. If one does not know that is a cultural norm of this person, they may feel uncomfortable in the situation, and take offense. It is a good idea to take note at the beginning of the project, of team members’ communication and working styles that way everyone is familiar and comfortable working with each other.
A topic becoming more and more popular in the business realm today is the differences of Generation Y, otherwise referred to as Millennials, and the rest of the workforce. The needs, wants, and leadership styles of Generation Y are drastically different from earlier generations; this is causing a great shift in the way businesses operate around the world. Generation Y is the generation born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s. Millenials are currently working in the business world and will continue entering for years to come. It is vital for companies everywhere to learn and adapt in order to retain Generation Y employees.
Jobs, a word that stirs up many emotions, and as of late mostly worry. For those of all ages the economy is worrisome. From those who have been loyal employees at the same company for thirty years to those stepping off of campus this month with the ink still wet on their diplomas. All are troubled with what the future holds for them. Every year, at this time, the discussion resurfaces and as graduation inches closer for us here the thought of life after school becomes ever more prominent.
As we just celebrated the 4th of July, instead of honoring the mark of this nation’s freedom, there is more talk about the holiday falling on a Wednesday. This is the time families travel miles to spend the weekend together and enjoy fireworks and cookouts. Employees see this as an opportunity for a potential long weekend. Tuesday becomes the new Friday and they become less productive and more unfocused. Employers on the other hand cannot afford to lose such a critical day in the week.
As discussed in yesterday’s introduction post, different cultures have very unique ways of doing business; from business dress, to conducting meetings, to even the customs surrounding deal-making. Each nation takes a unique approach to how many holidays they observe; this is a reflection of their distinctive culture and can affect their economy and business environment. In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing work environment, each day off means less output which in turn reflects potentially lost money. Days off are important for worker’s mental and physical health, but there needs to be a balance between productivity and a conducive work environment. The amount of bank holidays that a nation celebrates could be impacting the economy more than you think.
Work-life balance has always been a priority for employees, but not all workplaces have given it the same respect. The amount of vacation time and the number of hours employees are required to work in a week vary greatly across the world. Much of this is a result of cultural differences and tradition, but it also can greatly affect the productivity and happiness of workers. Overworked and unhappy employees can be extremely unproductive. There are many theories and methods for improving morale, but one of the simplest ones is limiting the amount of time employees are working. Sounds simple right? For many employers, it hasn’t been so easy.
Family or career? This has been a tough choice for many. The Dutch might have the answer. Daddy days and job-sharing as well as part-time employment have become quite typical in the Netherlands. Because of these irregular work hours, many companies do not even have assigned cubicles for their employees. Some examples are Microsoft and the Economics Ministry. Both have moved to what is known as "flex-buildings" which are smaller offices with less work stations than employees.
Universum, an employer branding company, released today the world’s Top 50 most attractive employers. From the world’s leading economies, nearly 130,000 students at top academic institutions chose their ideal companies to work for. This is a global index of employer attractiveness that highlights powerful global brands. These companies excel in talent attraction and retention. Students from Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, U.K., and U.S. all contributed their employee preferences.
When you think of economic globalization, you think of the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, and the spread of technology. But one very important one that isn't thought of too much is migration. In the past it was almost unthinkable to leave your homeland just for a job overseas, especially just to look for one. Now it is becoming commonplace, especially with the high unemployment rates seen in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Spain (the latter of which is a whopping 19.9 percent!). Meanwhile in other developing economies, especially in Asia, the rates area much more respectable. The unemployment rate in Hong Kong is 4.6 percent, in Australia 5.1, and in Singapore only 2.2 percent of the people are out of work.
So this past week being sick with the flu, gave me an excellent idea. What should you do as a business as flu season approaches? There is a possibility of a widespread H1N1 outbreak, and employers around the world need to take important steps. Employees are a crucial resource at any business, and especially small businesses. There are steps you can take now, and during the flu season, to help protect the health of your employees.
It is known everywhere that Europeans do not work as much as Americans or other workers worldwide. Many see it as a problem with the European work ethic, and those who are used to spending 9-10 hours in the office give Europeans disapproving looks.
The United States is still looked at as the most competitive nation worldwide, but other data such as GDP per hours worked reveals that many countries in the EU are just as productive as the U.S. and they have the benefit of more days off per year. Furthermore, countries in the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) are 27% more efficient than the U.S. and France is only 2% less efficient.
You may be surprised by such data; however, the explanation is simple. A rested mind operates much better and in a much more efficient way than an exhausted one. Statistics show that while Europeans are on vacation they hardly worry about the state of the economy or other work issues; Americans on the other hand spend too much time preoccupied and dwelling on issues instead of relaxing. Moreover, Americans are more likely to visit Facebook or other social websites due to the fact they have less time to enjoy with friends.
In conclusion, on one side there is France and Luxemburg with highly competitive economies and many vacation days; and on the other there is the U.S. - competitive but at the price of exhausted workers...I think it's obvious who has the better deal. So, should something be done about increasing vacation for employees in the States or would it be of no help?
Many managers are feeling under pressure at work due to the current state of the economy. In their desire to boost up morale at work, many of them actually tend to reward bad behavior in the office which can be costly to the company. The following are some well-intentioned practices that tend to backfire and ways to fix them:
Companies worldwide are expressing concerns because about 77% of employees have Facebook accounts and more than half access it during work hours. This decreases productivity by 1.5%. Are employees simply wasting time on the website or is there a better reason for it?
My last blog post summarized the negative effects that come from stress. The number of "super stressed" work environments is steadily increasing, especially in Asia
. Here are some tips for managers on how to make the working environment more stress-free:
Over the past decades job stress has been steadily increasing. The top countries where businessmen admit they are “super stressed” are Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the ones that report lower stress levels are countries in Western Europe. Unfortunately, in the past few years stress in the corporate environment has been rising fast due to the global economic conditions. And this is how we get into a vicious circle of stress: the economy experiences a slump, workers feel more stressed, their productivity is reduced, economic conditions get even worse, and the cycle continues.