The EU is typically ahead of the U.S. in protecting workers’ rights. With the rise in ‘work-from-anywhere’ policies, employers must stay informed about how new employment laws in other countries might impact them. For example:
France, Italy, Spain, Ontario, and Portugal have passed “right to disconnect” laws that make it illegal to contact employees outside of business hours.
German employers are required to offer work-from-home for people in jobs where there is no reason they need to be physically present. The UK and Ireland have a watered-down version of this law.
Whether these laws apply to foreign employees working in these countries isn’t always cut and dry so employers with work-from-anywhere policies should proceed with caution.
This Ipsos report, based on a survey of 10k global citizens, suggests five personas that exist on the continuum of concern and action toward sustainability. Disengaged Denialists represent 19% of the population, Conflicted Contributors represent 18%, Busy Bystanders represent 16%, Pragmatists represent 29%, and Activists represent 17%. Then it details each group and provides advice on how to reach them where they are. The breakdown by country is particularly interesting. The U.S., Japan, and Australia have the highest percentage of Denialists. Brazil, South Korea, and Australia have the highest percentage of Activists.
The most interesting part of the report is the advice it offers on how to engage each persona. For example, Pragmatists, the biggest group wants to do the right thing but doesn’t know how. They can be pulled along with visible signposts of how they are making a difference.
In an extensie survey of 8k+ remote-capable U.S. employees, what you probably want to is that Gallup found:
A third are now on-site 1 day/week, a third are in 2-3 days/week, and a third are on-site 4 days/week. Most want more remote days than they are getting
Hybrid leaders, managers, and individual contributors all prefer to spend 2 days/week in the office
Peak engagement for collaborative workers is 3 days/week in-office (49% engaged). Peak engagement for solo workers highest at 2 or 3 days/week in-office (both showed 39% engaged)
Engagement is substantially higher for collaborative workers (vs. solo workers) regardless of on-site frequency (highest at 49% with 3 days/week on-site compared to 39% for solo workers at same frequency)
Engagement is lowest for both groups who never work remotely (30% for collaborators, 28% for solo workers)
In terms of the flexibility of flexibility, 43% of respondents say there is no specific requirement for days in the office, 29% say their employer specifies which days of the week they are on-site, and 28% require a certain number of in-office days per week but do not specify which day.
60% of employees want full flexibility
Employee engagement is highest (46%) when attendance policies are set by work teams making this the most engaging single work practice Gallup has seen during the return to office.
Only 13% of organizations allow teams to determine flexibility practices. The balance of decisions are made by the team leader (24%), by top leadership (26%), and by the individual (37%).
The Global Sustainable Competitiveness Report 2022 provides a comprehensive overview of the current State of the World – global, regional, and national – on the six sustainable competitiveness pillars: Natural Capital, Resource Intensity-Efficiency, Intellectual Capital, Economic Sustainability, Social Capital and Governance Performance.
This index has been around since 2012 but it’s new to me and well worth a look. Its based on the premise that national success should be measured by more than just economic factors. While it’s a fascinating report all by itself, I think the framework and measures used offer an excellent model for companies looking to ensure their own competitiveness and sustainability.
The Index is derived from 188 quantitative measures of a country or regions natural capital, resource efficiency, social capital, intellectual and innovation capital, economic sustainability, and governance performance.
Spoiler alert: Northern European countries receive the top twenty composite index scores with Scandinavian countries taking the top marks. The U.S. is ranked #30.
Based on a survey of over 2,300 U.S. full-time workers conducted by OwlLabs and Global Workplace Analytics, the 6th Annual State of Remote Workreportreveals the latest trends and perspectives on a range of issues from remote and hybrid work, trust, intent to move, training offered, workplace redesign, intent and reasons for quitting, technology needs, employee surveillance, the 4-day workweek, and more.
Only one in five employers allow employees to work anywhere
Training needs are being ignored by nearly half of employers
Nearly half of employers have not asked their people how they want to work
Workplace design and mix of spaces changing, but slowly
Private spaces may be the key to getting people back into the office
More than a third of employers have reduced their office space
Employee stress has increased, largely driven by recession fears and return-to-office demands
Four-day work week and work from anywhere almost as attractive as full flexibility
More than half of employees are interested in working in virtual reality, the metaverse, or coworking spaces
Flexibility isn’t the top reason employees are jumping ship
The article does a good job of sharing optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the future of our cities if the shift to remote/hybrid work persists. Assuming the author didn’t stack the deck with research he liked—and I don’t feel like he did—the outlook for many cities is bleak, at least in the short run. The problem is a downward spiral where fewer office workers lead to higher vacancy rates, declining property values, a collapse of small businesses, a lower tax base, lower transit ridership, less money to spend on city services, greater homelessness, more violence, and so on. The demise is not inevitable, but cities will need to act fast to reimagine and engineer a better future.
Glassdoor’s latest research shows substantial gains in DEI programs in 2020 and 2021, but some flattening in 2022. Still, more than 41% of company benefit reviews indicated access to diversity programs, compared to just 29% in 2019. Increases were seen across all industries except government. The most significant growth was in access to Employee Resource Groups and diversity awareness training. Unfortunately, progress has not been uniform across the U.S. New England, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific regions offer the highest access to programs (60%). The study found DEI is more important to younger workers than older ones. There’s lots more to read in the full study.
In short, what they found was while tourism has largely rebounded in larger cities like Chicago, Seattle, and D.C., office traffic is still only about half what it was before the pandemic, homelessness is rampant, and small businesses have either closed or are struggling to survive. Some cities, like Austin and SLC grew in popularity for businesses and employees. While that sounds like a good thing, many locals have found themselves priced out of their homes as a result. The smallest cities profiled by the Times have proven the most resilient and are essentially back to ‘normal.’
For companies with a strong desire to make their office culture thrive again, getting the balance right with return-to-office may mean a few missteps along the way. If things don’t go right the first time, we say: save your apologies – and push forward in a spirit of discovery.