It was a weird week with the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S. being in the middle of the week, but we are back with more upskilling and reskilling, employee experience, and doom and gloom about retirement data. But first, remote work has changed more than the work lives of white-collar workers.
Let’s jump into it.
“We Can’t Do Remote” Doesn’t Work
Think remote work is only for the white-collar professionals of the world? The Wall Street Journal, a bastion of progressive workplace policy coverage, had a great story on how remote work is sticking for unexpected industries.
It isn’t just white-collar workers logging in from bedrooms instead of boardrooms. Lower-income, less-educated and service-industry workers spent more time working from home, on average, last year than before the pandemic struck.
The broad-based gains suggest that while much of American life has reverted to prepandemic norms, remote work persists and is subtly reshaping many professions.
So who is working from home more that might surprise folks?
- Call center workers
- Lower-level office and administrative staff
- Freight dispatchers
- Exercise trainers
- Doctors and nurses
- People without college degrees
Nearly everyone has shifted some work to home according to the article, though. From checking emails to doing entire shifts from home, people are working from home more frequently.
A person working on a garbage truck or cutting hair largely can’t work from home, but they are shifting tasks like online learning or bookkeeping to home when they used to do that in the workplace. This is good! If people have tasks they can complete at home, they want to do it there, and they can stay relatively productive, why not?
Companies are marching people back to the office and they are misstating data from the Department of Labor to drum up support. But a leader’s failure of imagination when remote work doesn’t go perfectly the first few times shouldn’t spell the end of WFH as we know it.
Could the fact that remote work has expanded beyond the expected give leaders some indication that maybe some of this is working in spite of their fighting against it? Nah, that couldn’t be it.
Weekly LinkedIn poll result
How much do you buy future of work predictions? Well, most of you say “It. depends” and I respect that. Skeptical is great, but remember that the point of some of these predictions is to make you think about the future, not accurately capture everything.
Quick hits from around the web
What else is happening?
- Tech Workers Refining Skills Relevant to Changing Industry Needs. The importance of continuous learning and upskilling can’t be underestimated right now and employers should be leading the way. (San Francisco Chronicle)
- The Factors Behind the Huge Resurgence of Women in the Workforce. The resurgence of women in the workforce is highlighted by significant labor demand, societal changes, and shifts in gender dynamics. (NPR)
- Aging America: Retirees, Workforce, Economy. Want a little existential stress? This infographic and write-up on retirement should help. (The Washington Post)
- How Luxury Giant Longchamp Modernized Its HR Tech. Can expense software help drive a better experience? Sure can. (UNLEASH)
- This NYU Professor Went Viral for Telling Young Folks That They Need to be Out of the House for Success — But His Advice was Blasted. Of course, Galloway didn’t actually tell young people this, he was just capitulating for a room full of CEOs. (Yahoo Finance)
- Employee Experience: It’s Much More Than Just the Software. A holistic approach that encompasses culture, leadership, and meaningful work complements the best software. (HR Executive)
- The Symphony of Remote Work Is in the Culture. Company culture is the key to fostering successful and harmonious remote work environments. (Forbes)
- Travel Research Sheds Light on Unexpected Trends in the Future of Work. Travel data out of the UK shows remarkable changes in commuting preferences, including more eco-friendly solutions. (HR Grapevine)
- Fusing Purpose & Employee Experience: Win-Wins for the Greater Good. Instead of looking at purpose and experiences as two separate things, it’s time to realize how connected they really are. (Sustainable Brands)
- California Supreme Court to Decide the Fate of Prop. 22, Carving Gig Workers out of State Labor Law. California work leaders may finally get closure on the state proposition soon enough. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Work Leader Weekly Podcast Ep. 18 – The Future of Work – Predications & Change
Predictions can push us to challenge the status quo, explore new ideas, and ultimately, drive innovation. They make us think about what’s possible, and that can be a game-changer for businesses, industries, and society as a whole.
This week, Bret and I chat about what’s coming next and why it’s still important to think about the future of work, even if we get it wrong.
That’s it for this week!