Tracking recent developments in remote working

If you find a link or story which you think should appear here, please let us know by emailing: dmooney@beerg.com
Stories appear in the order of publication – but are not necessarily posted in that order. Look for NEW in the headline to indicate that the story has been posted over the past 48-72 hours

September 2021

NEW From WGBH: Some Employees Never Want To Give Up Remote Work

Date: 24 Sept, 2021

Under the Radar Podcast: If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that a lot of people love working remotely. Sure, many people might miss in-person meetings, and look forward to hallway chats again. But others who’ve experienced the flexibility that remote work provides don’t want to give it up.

Link: https://www.wgbh.org/news/national-news/2021/09/24/some-employees-never-want-to-give-up-remote-work

NEW From AllWork: Why Ireland may be the best remote work destination

Date: 23 Sept, 2021

From AllWork: Is there a place that offers the most ideal time zone? The islands of Great Britain and Ireland, which are five hours later than Eastern Standard Time, may just be that. Depending on a person’s work schedule preferences, working in this region means having more calm mornings and working later in the day. If you despise early morning meetings, this may be the best pick.

Link: https://allwork.space/2021/09/why-ireland-may-be-the-best-remote-work-destination/

From Freshfields law firm: A roundup of vaccine policies across Europe

Date: 16 Sept, 2021

From Freshfields:  An employer’s duty to ensure the health and safety of its workforce often competes with other rules deriving from employment, anti-discrimination and privacy laws and in particular with an individual’s right to determine if and when to accept medical treatment (which includes being vaccinated). Therefore, employers cannot – save for where there is a clear local statutory provision mandating vaccinations for some or all of the population – impose vaccination (and in most cases, testing) on their employees.

Link: https://riskandcompliance.freshfields.com/post/102h6kh/worklife-2-0-workplace-covid-19-testing-and-vaccination-protocols-yet-another  

From BBC News (UK): Most workers do not expect full-time office return, survey says

Date: 16 Sept, 2021

From The BBC: Most people do not believe workers will return to the office full-time after the pandemic, an exclusive survey for the BBC suggests… But managers raised concerns that creativity in the workplace would be affected. Half of 530 senior leaders also surveyed by polling organisation YouGov for the BBC said that workers staying at home would adversely affect both creativity and collaboration – against just 38% of the general public.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58559179

From Daily Telegraph (UK): Business greets Johnson’s winter Covid plan with dismay

Date: 14 Sept, 2021

From the Daily Telegraph (UK):  Businesses have warned that Boris Johnson’s winter Covid plan will create even more damaging uncertainty after being told that staff could once again be told to work from home if possible.  Bosses fear that a burgeoning effort to get staff back to their desks risks being derailed by the Covid winter blueprint, which will encourage remote working, impose mandatory masks and insist on vaccine passports at large venues if cases start to put pressure on the NHS.  The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) warned that businesses are once again being left in the dark, and hospitality chiefs said the crisis was in danger of trashing public confidence amid signs footfall is finally climbing back towards normal levels.

Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/09/14/business-greets-johnsons-winter-covid-plan-dismay/

From The Financial Times: The flexibility factor: who is going back to the office?

Date: 14 Sept, 2021

From The Financial Times: Technology companies: remote and flexible. Financial services companies: office-centric and more rigid. Everyone else: hybrid.

Those are the broad trends emerging from an FT sampling of companies’ “flexibility factor”, or the extent to which they are allowing employees to decide where they work once pandemic conditions ease.  The persistence of coronavirus and individual exceptions to these trends complicate any assessment. The spread of new variants has overturned return-to-office plans. Incidence of the virus and regional rules still vary widely.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/6ba580b7-198e-474a-8556-b61abc358b48?

From ZDnet.com: Is remote working good or bad? Big tech companies just can’t seem to decide

Date: 14 Sept, 2021

Op-Ed by Owen Hughes: Months of working from home have made many businesses and their employees question whether the typical 9-5 working model is necessary in an age where work is increasingly done in front of a computer that provides instantaneous connection to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Link: https://www.zdnet.com/index.php/category/2248/6/index.php/article/is-remote-working-good-or-bad-big-tech-companies-just-cant-seem-to-decide/

From Harvard Business Review: Collaboration Overload Is Sinking Productivity

Date: 7 Sept, 2021

From Harvard Business Review: Collaborative work — time spent on email, IM, phone, and video calls — has risen 50% or more over the past decade to consume 85% or more of most people’s work weeks. The Covid-19 pandemic caused this figure to take another sharp upward tick, with people spending more time each week in shorter and more fragmented meetings, with voice and video call times doubling and IM traffic increasing by 65%. And to make matters worse, collaboration demands are moving further into the evening and are beginning earlier in the morning.

Link: https://hbr.org/2021/09/collaboration-overload-is-sinking-productivity

From Lewis Silkin: The post-pandemic future for women in the workplace

Date: 6 Sept, 2021

From Lewis Silkin’s excellent Future of Work hub: In this second article of a two part series, Lewis Silkin LLP focuses on what the future of work may hold for women in light of the pandemic and the effect of increasing automation on the labour market and women’s working lives. The first explored the history of women in waged work through the ages and both the historic and current challenges faced by women in the workplace. 

Link: https://www.futureofworkhub.info/comment/2021/9/6/the-post-pandemic-future-for-women-in-the-workplace

From Irish Government: Remote Working Checklist for Employers

Date: 6 Sept, 2021

From the Irish Department of Enterprise: This checklist has been prepared to provide employers with a quick way to navigate the adoption of remote working arrangements. This checklist covers the key areas of consideration for remote working based on official guidance. Further information can be found at the Guidance for Working Remotely webpage.

Link: https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Publication-files/Remote-Working-Checklist-for-Employers.pdf

From Daily Mail (UK): Bank of England staff in uproar as Governor says: You can work from home all week

Date: 4 Sept, 2021

From The Daily Mail: The Governor of the Bank of England has put himself at odds with Chancellor Rishi Sunak by ditching a requirement for his staff to work in the office for at least one day a week.  Despite calls by Mr Sunak for people to return to traditional working patterns, Governor Andrew Bailey has told workers they will not be compelled to abandon their working from home habits. The move has angered many City workers – including some frustrated staff at the Bank of England – who argue that they are losing dealmaking and networking opportunities, with younger workers missing out on mentoring by their more experienced colleagues.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9958491/Bank-England-staff-uproar-woke-Governor-Andrew-Bailey-says-work-home-WEEK.html

From The Financial Times:  UK pension contributions hold up well despite Covid

Date: 2 Sept, 2021

From the FT:  UK workers kept up with payments into their pension funds last year, confounding fears that many people might scrap or cut their contributions because of pandemic pressures, according to government data. Annual savings from eligible savers rose to £105.9bn, from £100.4bn in 2019, said the Department of Work and Pensions in a report on Thursday. That extends the increases posted since 2012, following the introduction of auto-enrolment into work-based pension schemes to boost retirement saving.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/d3d1049b-5e8c-4adf-a5f8-2c5aadba8fde

From Bloomberg.com: UBS CEO Says Staff Who Don’t Want Vaccine Can Work From Home

Date: 2 Sept, 2021

From Bloomberg.com:  UBS Group AG staff who don’t wish to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus can apply to work from home, Chief Executive Officer Ralph Hamers said, signaling a flexible approach on a topic that’s disrupting banks’ effort to get workers back to their desks.  “We have 25,000 employees alone in the U.S. and thousands more in Singapore and Hong Kong, and every country has a different legal framework around what you can and can’t make mandatory” with respect to vaccines, Hamers said at the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken on Thursday. “The pandemic has delivered solutions to manage the risk of carrying the virus and passing it to your colleagues, and that is to work from home.”

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-02/ubs-ceo-staff-who-don-t-want-vaccine-can-work-from-home

August 2021

From yle (Finland): Report: Young adults most affected by Covid-era telecommuting ‘boredom’

Date: 31 August, 2021

From YLE, Yleisradio Oy, the Finnish Broadcasting Company:  Workers in Finland increasingly experienced feelings of boredom and symptoms of burnout during the Covid crisis due to the ongoing remote working situation, according to results of a study from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. The institute’s regular survey, called “Miten Suomi voi” (roughly, “how Finland is feeling”), found that remote working arrangements during that year-and-a-half long period had prompted increased negative effects, particularly among those under the age of 36.  Meanwhile, feelings of boredom and burnout among workers who were 36 or older only slightly increased during the research period.

Link: https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/report_young_adults_most_affected_by_covid-era_telecommuting_boredom/12079427

From Irish Independent: WeWork tweaks plans for ‘Office On Demand’

Date: 29 August, 2021

From The Irish Independent: Dublin has shown “strong performance” for desk and office space giant WeWork despite challenges over the past two years, said its general manager for Ireland and the UK.  The company is gearing up to open its next major space in the city at Central Plaza, the former site of the Central Bank on Dame Street, which is expected to be completed before year’s end. WeWork will open its space in the building in the second quarter of 2022, Mathieu Proust told the Sunday Independent.

Link: https://www.independent.ie/business/in-the-workplace/wework-tweaks-plans-for-office-on-demand-40795534.html

From Human Times Europe: Office Perks Changing Post-Pandemic

Date: 25 August, 2021

Organizations are overhauling their perks policies as they rethink how their offices are going to operate in the post-pandemic age. Physical office space is being reconfigured to adapt to a future where the entire workforce is unlikely to return. Wired has reported that some celebrated corporate perks, including “nap pods at Google, three meals a day at Facebook, lunchtime jam sessions at Spotify, or relaxation lounges at Zynga” have become largely a thing of the past. Joe Wiggins, a career trends analyst at employee review site Glassdoor, observes: “We’re seeing a lot of evidence that . . . Those that mattered most [to staff] were always core benefits like pensions and healthcare. Free food and fun break-out spaces are cool, but they’re not going to keep people in a job if the fundamentals aren’t there. 

Link: https://industryslice.com/landing/fb/Office_Perks.html

From The Times (UK): Workers would retire later if allowed to work from home, boosting UK growth

Date: 25 August, 2021

From The Times (UK):  Older Britons will delay their retirement and give the economy a boost if they are allowed to continue working from home after the pandemic, according to the Office for National Statistics.  An ONS survey last summer found that 11% of those aged over 50 working entirely from home were planning to retire later compared with 5% of those not working from home. A similar result was found for older workers with long-term illness or disability.

Link: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/workers-could-retire-later-if-allowed-to-work-from-home-in-boost-to-growth-j8ql5wwmw

From The Financial Times: Companies sound alarm on Christmas supply disruption

Date: 25 August, 2021

From FT:  UK business leaders stepped up calls for the government to help fix worker shortages that have resulted in empty supermarket shelves by warning of increased disruption in the run-up to Christmas.  A shortage of lorry drivers partly unleashed by post-Brexit immigration rules has hit supplies to supermarkets and other retailers, and the problems have been magnified by some food manufacturers and warehouse operators lacking sufficient staff.  Companies ranging from Iceland and Tesco to Suntory, Britvic and Greggs are among the many businesses contending with major disruption.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/27742f31-fdde-44b5-a053-73179a460c07

From APU Edge (Podcast): Will Organizations Maintain Flexibility and Remote Work?

Date: 14 Sept, 2021

American Public University Podcast featuring Dr. Marie Gould Harper, Dean, Wallace E. Boston School of Business and Dr. August Mebane, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Winston-Salem State University. During the pandemic, many people experienced the benefits of working from home. Will organizations maintain that flexibility and continue to allow people to work remotely? In this episode, APU’s Dr. Marie Gould Harper talks to HR professional Dr. August Mebane about how organizations can handle this transition and the policies, procedures, and supervision guidelines they should consider. Learn how organizations can support their operations while also being supportive of the life-work balance desired by their employees.

Link: https://apuedge.com/will-organizations-maintain-flexibility-and-remote-work/?

From Daily Mail Online: Audit shows that 1000’s of office staff will carry on remote working into the autumn despite change in official guidance

Date: 22 August, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of white-collar workers will carry on working from home well into the autumn, a Daily Mail audit has found. Despite the change to Government guidance in July, the vast majority of firms had no plans to compel staff to return to the office when surveyed.  The businesses sticking with remote working are some of Britain’s biggest and span a variety of sectors, from banking giant HSBC to energy firm BP, telecoms provider Vodafone, British Gas owner Centrica and publisher Pearson.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9917143/Thousands-office-staff-carry-remote-working-autumn-audit-shows.html

From Ius Laboris: A Survey of Trade union responses to the COVID pandemic

Date: 17 August, 2021

The pandemic has prompted a range of trade unions across the world to take action on behalf of their members. But what has this consisted of and how effective has it been so far? And what of governments: how have they reacted to union initiatives? In its latest survey, Ius Laboris takes a look at these and other related topics in 23 countries.

Link: https://iuslaboris.com/insights/trade-union-responses-to-the-covid-pandemic/

Big Tech wants its workers back in the office (From The: FT & Build Remote.co)

Date: 17 August, 2021

From the FT: Websites like Build Remote (see link below) are now tracking the companies that offer the option to work from anywhere. Q&A site Quora and cloud computer company Snowflake both joined the list this year. Twitter, Pinterest and Dropbox are among those that have moved to a “remote first” policy in which offices are available but remote work is supported.

Build Remote Link: https://buildremote.co/companies/companies-going-remote-permanently/

FT article: https://www.ft.com/content/83804182-8d28-431a-b722-9b8889adff00

From The FT: Lower pay for remote workers is a risky move

Date: 17 August, 2021

By Sarah O’Connor at The Finanacial Times: As more people work from home permanently, it crystallises the fact that some are paid differently for the same work. It also means pay cuts for some workers whose jobs have not changed. If two workers from the same head office want to switch to working from home, but one inherited a house in an expensive city while the other had been living in a commuter town, is it fair for the latter to take a pay cut? There is a reason that economists say nominal wages are “sticky”: people don’t like pay cuts, no matter how they are justified, and employers usually try to avoid them.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/a37150e3-7480-4181-90e4-1ce9dc5d1d39

From The Local (Spain): The Spanish villages that want remote workers

Date: 16 August, 2021

With the news that Spain will be introducing a digital nomad visa and tax incentives for startups, several places in Spain are already trying to attract remote workers. Here are some of the villages that want remote workers and what they offer.  The rise of remote working means that many jobs can be done from anywhere that has an internet connection, and Spanish regions that have struggled with depopulation due to a lack of job opportunities are seizing upon this trend. A total of 30 towns and villages across Spain have joined the association of Red Nacional de Pueblos Acogedores or the National Network of Welcoming Villages, aiming to attract digital nomads (people who travel while continuing to work remotely) and remote workers (who settle full time in one place and work remotely for a company or companies in another town or even another country) to their communities.

Link: https://www.thelocal.es/20210816/the-spanish-villages-that-want-remote-workers

From the “i” newspaper (UK): Working from home unlikely to be a legal right 

Date: 13 August, 2021

An “i” exclusive:  Working from home is unlikely to become a legal right after members of the body advising the Government on flexible working indicated they would not be supporting it.  However, the members of the Flexible Working Taskforce did call for employment law to be strengthened to make the work-life balance easier for millions of stressed workers.  A mandate to force companies and organisations to accept home working could be counter-productive and causes problems for employees unable to work at home, the FWT members told i.

Link: https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/working-from-home-unlikely-to-be-a-legal-right-but-government-advisers-want-better-laws-around-flexibility-1150515

From Reuters: Four beats five as pandemic prompts shorter working week trials

Date: 12 August, 2021

From Reuters Madrid: Debate over the so-called ‘Scandinavian model’, which holds that productivity will rise if working hours are dropped, is not new but it has gained traction during the COVID crisis not only among companies but also the public sector and politicians.  In Europe, Spain’s left wing government is considering its own version to help its economy, while public administrations in Denmark and Iceland have already adopted 4-day weeks.  With retail and hospitality now among the sectors struggling to attract and retain staff as economies recover from the crisis, many companies are introducing shorter weeks, the president of global staffing group Adecco said.

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/four-beats-five-pandemic-prompts-shorter-working-week-trials-2021-08-12/

From Sky News (UK): Calls for more employers to give staff paid time off so they can have their coronavirus vaccine

Date: 12 August, 2021

There are calls for more employers to allow staff paid time off to get their Covid-19 vaccinations. Research by conciliation service Acas found that one in four companies is not giving staff paid time off to get their jabs – and nor do they have any plans to allow this. Susan Clews, Acas chief executive, said: “The vaccine rollout programme has gone well and our survey reveals that most employers have allowed staff paid time off to get the jab, but a quarter have not.

LINK: https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-calls-for-more-employers-to-give-staff-paid-time-off-so-they-can-have-their-coronavirus-vaccine-12379103

From BBC News (UK): Working from home job adverts rise

Date: 11 August, 2021

There has been a rise in jobs that advertise working from home compared with before the Covid pandemic, recruitment firm Reed has told the BBC. Prior to the pandemic, 1% of recruitment firm Reed’s job vacancies advertised remote working, but this rose to 5% in 2021. Many office workers shifted to flexible working during coronavirus lockdowns.  Reed said applications for jobs with remote working shot up, and outpaced the number of vacancies.  But the number of flexible working adverts peaked at the beginning of the year, Reed said.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58160245

From The i (UK): Cutting pay for working from home is legal ‘grey area’ and could ‘pave way for more sex discrimination cases’

Date: 9 August, 2021

From The i newspaper (UK): Cutting an employee’s pay for working from home rather than in the office is a legal “grey area” and could pave the way for discrimination cases, employment lawyers have said.  It comes after an anonymous Cabinet minister suggested the pay of civil servants who refuse to come to the office should be cut as they have had a “de facto” payrise by no longer having to commute to work The Government recommended a gradual return to offices for workers over the summer as restrictions eased after months of working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Link: https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/work/cutting-pay-for-working-from-home-is-legal-grey-area-and-could-pave-way-for-more-sex-discrimination-cases-1141952/

From The Times (UK): “Get back to the office” UK ministers order staff

Date: 9 August, 2021

From the Times UK: An unnamed minister told The Times that civil servants should “get back to the office”. Cabinet ministers are planning a “big push” to get civil servants to return to the office from next month amid concern about the lack of staff at desks. One Whitehall department is likely to order its employees to work from the office at least three days a week by October, The Times has learnt. 

Link: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/get-back-to-the-office-ministers-order-staff-covid-lockdown-restrictions-0kmds36ds [Paywall]

From The Times (UK): Pandemic pressures put employee ownership back on the agenda

Date: 9 August, 2021

There could soon be a surge of small companies moving to the employee ownership model, the Times reports. Entrepreneurs have, like many others, reassessed their priorities through the pandemic and, amid a growing general appreciation that business needs to do more than just make a profit, the employee-owned sector grew by 30% in 2020. Aided by the threat of an increase in capital gains tax, the first three months of 2021 represented a record quarter for transitions to employee ownership trusts. Deb Oxley, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, believes that the sector must now “seize the moment” and capitalise on a time where there is a “more general move towards more inclusive business, employee participation and stakeholder capitalism.”

Link: https://epaper.thetimes.co.uk/the-times/20210809/282703345151245

From The Daily Mail (UK): Britain’s lawyers brace for a wave of discrimination claims as staff working from home miss out on promotions

Date: 8 August, 2021

Britain is braced for a wave of discrimination claims from employees who miss big promotions after working from home. Lawyers have warned that companies face legal disputes in coming years if home workers feel their office-based counterparts progress faster in their careers.  Legal experts said staff could bring discrimination claims against employers if they find themselves more likely to be working from home because of their age, gender or if they have a disability.  ‘I think this will become a bit of a battleground,’ said Adam Lambert of law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9872909/Britains-lawyers-brace-wave-discrimination-claims-staff-WFM-miss-promotions.html

From The Observer (UK): Bosses battle over rights and wrongs of ‘no jab, no job’

Date: 8 August, 2021

While big-name US firms can compel their staff to be vaccinated against Covid, in the UK the issue is a legal and moral minefield.

Thousands of businesses and organisations of all sizes are weighing up how best to bring workers safely back to their desks after many months of remote working. They are also aware that making vaccination demands of their staff is a moral, and legal, minefield …some employers fear a “no jab, no job” policy could at best risk resignations, or at worst leave them open to legal claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination. As a result, companies are divided over how best to protect staff during a widespread return to the office.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/aug/08/bosses-battle-over-rights-and-wrongs-of-no-covid-jab-no-job

From Chris Herd: Twitter thread on the future for remote working

Date: 6 August, 2021

A Twitter thread from the founder & CEO of FirstbaseHQ, Chris Herd on remote work & startups including his predictions on what’s going to happen. He argues that the media coverage is getting the rise of remote work wrong. He says his predictions are based on his discussions with 2,000+ remote workers over the last 12 months. Chris Herd Tweets

Link: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1423612274028261381.html

From The Local (Italy): Longer hours but more flexibility: How ‘smart working’ has changed Italy’s work culture

Date: 4 August, 2021

From The Local – Italy: Remote working was widely embraced in Italy for the first time amid the pandemic. But along with the positives have come longer working hours and an inability to switch off from the job, a new study shows.  Working from home, often known as lavoro agile or ‘smart working‘ in Italian, was rare in Italy before the pandemic forced many companies to move their operations online. With just a few thousand people working from home at the end of 2019, smart working has since “exploded” in Italy – raising new questions about how the nation’s working culture will look in future, according to a study carried out by the Italian Metalworkers’ Federation and the Catholic University of Milan.

Link: https://www.thelocal.it/20210804/longer-hours-but-more-flexibility-how-smart-working-has-changed-italys-work-culture/

Ius Laboris Download: The Covid Guide for International Employers

Date: 3 August, 2021

Employers face unique challenges that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic. Covering over 40 countries, our updated guide provides tips for supporting employees through the latest issues, such as vaccination, remote working for the long-term and working from abroad.

Link: Ius Laboris Download / https://iuslaboris.com/insights/covid-19-guide-for-international-employers/

From the Daily Mail Online: Highly paid nomad workers pose risk to nations’ tax revenues

Date: 3 August, 2021

From The FT: By Delphine Strauss:  Just as the global race to the bottom in corporate taxation is ending, a new threat to governments’ tax revenues is emerging in the form of countries competing to lure high-earning remote workers. Governments have recently agreed a deal to introduce a minimum rate for the world’s largest corporations, but as officials hammer out the details, the pandemic has turned many well-paid individuals into nomads. Many professionals are already merging work with holidays, joining Zoom calls as they quarantine in foreign villas before taking leave with their families. 

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/ed3a61b2-aa75-46a2-94f4-8fedb5d692a9

From the BBC: Rishi Sunak warns young home working may hurt their career

Date: 3 August, 2021

From BBC UK News: Young people will see their careers benefit by working in the office, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said.  He told LinkedIn News he doubted he would have done as well if he had started his working life virtually.  Mr Sunak worked in finance, including at banking giant Goldman Sachs.  He said he still talked to his early mentors, saying: “I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom.” “That’s why I think for young people in particular, being able to physically be in an office is valuable,” he added.

Link:  https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58068998

From the Daily Mail Online:Two days in the office ‘will be the new normal’:

Date: 2 August, 2021

The traditional working week is over with firms adopting a three-and-two approach – with fewer days in the office. Having three days at home and two in the office is set to become the new normal as a result of the pandemic. Many big firms have already agreed the changes, while the Institute of Directors said two thirds of business leaders will allow remote working.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9850627/Two-days-office-new-normal.html

From the NL Times: Workers took on more unpaid overtime during pandemic out of fear of losing their job

Date: 1 August, 2021

From the Netherlands Times (Online): Workers have taken on more unpaid labor during the coronavirus crisis than they did in the years prior. This was shown in a study among 32 thousand employees worldwide by the human resources management software and services company ADP.  The number of unpaid hours performed by employees during the pandemic jumped up to 6.5 hours per week, compared to 4.5 hours before the crisis. Two-thirds of employees in the Netherlands reported working unpaid overtime every week. A quarter of Dutch respondents even said they performed 6 to 10 hours of unpaid labor weekly. 

Link: https://nltimes.nl/2021/08/01/workers-took-unpaid-overtime-pandemic-fear-losing-job

July 2021

From the Financial Times: Google and Facebook to require Covid vaccination for workers at US offices

Date: 29 July, 2021

From the FT:  Google and Facebook have said they will require workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before they return to work at their US campuses amid a rise in cases blamed on the rapid spread of the Delta variant.  Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said the policy would be introduced in the US “in the coming weeks” before being rolled out globally for its 144,000 employees.  Facebook said in a statement on Wednesday that it would require anyone coming to work at its US campuses to get vaccinated.  “How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations,” Lori Goler, vice-president of human resources, said in a statement.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/671e3b0c-4aef-4b23-a609-a2e44d081a02

From the BBC: Bumble to give staff unlimited paid holiday

Date: 29 July, 2021

Dating app Bumble has said its 700 employees can take unlimited paid leave providing their manager approves it. It is understood that the unlimited holiday is contingent on staff still managing to complete their work. The move comes after the firm temporarily closed its offices in June for a week to combat workplace stress.  The new leave policy was announced alongside a series of other changes, including a plan to shut the office for a week two times a year.  Bumble said the pandemic had made it “reflect on” the ways staff worked and prompted the change in approach.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57997445

From Vox EU: Let me work from home, or I will find another job

Date: 27 July, 2021

Employers in the US are grappling with whether and how to bring employees back to the office or other place of work. Using survey-based evidence, this column finds that four in ten Americans who currently work from home at least one day a week would seek another job if employers require a full return to business premises, and most workers would look favourably on a new job that offers the same pay with the option to work from home two or three days a week. High rates of quits and job openings in recent months appear to partly reflect a re-sorting of workers based on the scope for remote working.

Link: https://voxeu.org/article/let-me-work-home-or-i-will-find-another-job

From The Guardian (UK): Labour says it will make flexible working the ‘new normal’

Date: 27 July, 2021

From The Guardian: Labour would legislate to make flexible working the default – including working from home or around the school-run – so that “work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating their lives”, Angela Rayner has announced. Employees already have the right to request flexible hours, but Labour says it would widen the definition of flexible working and give employers a legal responsibility to accommodate it unless they can show it is not workable. Rayner said as well as flexible hours, such as four-day weeks, the new duty on employers would cover compressed hours and flexibility around caring duties, including taking children to school or caring for them during school holidays.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jul/27/labour-says-it-will-make-flexible-working-the-new-normal

From The New York Times: Return to Office Hits a Snag: Young Resisters

Date: 27 July, 2021

A generation gap has emerged between them and colleagues who value the workplace over the advantages of remote work. Bridging it may require flexibility …While workers of all ages have become accustomed to dialing in and skipping the wearying commute, younger ones have grown especially attached to the new way of doing business.  And in many cases, the decision to return pits older managers who view working in the office as the natural order of things against younger employees who’ve come to see operating remotely as completely normal in the 16 months since the pandemic hit. Some new hires have never gone into their employers’ workplace at all.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/26/business/economy/return-office-young-workers.html

From Lewis Silkin UK: Algorithms in the workplace – the rise of algorithmic management

Date: 26 July, 2021

From Lewis Silkin’s Future of Work Hub: With algorithms playing an increasingly fundamental role in our lives, Lee Nair, Managing Associate and Jasmin Stevens, Trainee Secondee from Lewis Silkin LLP identify potential workplace issues around bias, data protection, trust and good work in the context of the rise of algorithmic management and highlight the suggested recommendations from recent studies by the Institute for the Future of Work and ACAS.

Link: https://www.futureofworkhub.info/comment/2021/7/26/algorithms-in-the-workplace-the-rise-of-algorithmic-management-hcd4f

From Reuters: Everybody take the week off, Wall Street firm tells staff

Date: 26 July, 2021

NEW YORK (Reuters) – No calls, no emails and no meetings.  That’s the order this week from Aquiline Capital Partners to its staff. The private equity firm is putting all employees on vacation, people familiar with the matter said.  It’s an unusual move intended to recognize employees and avoid burnout from the physical and mental pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic and the frenetic pace of dealmaking. Aquiline has more than $6 billion in assets and over 60 employees in its New York headquarters and London office. 

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/everybody-take-week-off-wall-street-firm-tells-staff-2021-07-26/

From Luxembourg Times: Luxembourg presses on with work through pandemic

Date: 26 July, 2021

Luxembourg saw EU’s second-lowest decline in working hours when disease put millions on furlough, Eurostat says. Workers in Luxembourg kept on producing last year even as businesses around the European Union shut down suddenly and put staff on furlough due to the pandemic, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said.  Only workers in the Netherlands saw less of a cut in their hours last year, Eurostat said on Friday.  Luxembourg tied with Finland and Denmark in seeing a 4% decline in hours worked while employees in the Netherlands saw a 3% fall. 

Link: https://www.luxtimes.lu/en/luxembourg/eurostat-luxembourg-presses-on-with-work-through-pandemic-60fe7e25de135b92365ce803

From UK Law Gazette: 
Homeworking firms ‘neglecting compliance’

Date: 22 July, 2021

UK Law Society Gazette:  Firms are placing clients and staff at ‘significant risk’ by failing to pay attention to the impact working from home could have on compliance, a survey of 3,500 firms has found.  According to a study by software provider Access Legal, over 40% of practices have not fully updated their cybersecurity policies since moving to remote working in March last year. Meanwhile, 49% of firms surveyed said they had not carried out a data protection impact assessment (DPIA), which is designed to identify data risks. 

Link: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/homeworking-firms-neglecting-compliance/5109305.article

From PlanetLabor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise on the road to 100% mobile working

Date: 20 July, 2021

The pandemic has showed the potential of mobile work. “100 percent mobile working” sounds pretty revolutionary, “but the reality is less radical than that,” smiled Ernst Reichart, who has been managing human resources at the HPE German subsidiary (i.e. not the computer manufacturer HP) for nearly 30 years. HPE’s headquarters are in the Böblingen suburb of Stuttgart, which is probably one of Germany highest density locations for the IT, automotive, and machine tools businesses. 

Link: https://www.planetlabor.com/en/industrial-relations-en/national-industrial-relations/germany-hewlett-packard-enterprise-on-the-road-to-100-mobile-working/

From Lewis Silkin LLP:End of lockdown restrictions – what does the new workplace safety guidance say?

Date: 15 July, 2021

From Lewis Silkin LLP: The government has updated its guidance on how to make workplaces Covid secure from 19 July 2021 when England moves to step 4 and most Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. This article sets out the most important issues for employers to consider in light of the new guidance. The existing 14 guides to working safely during coronavirus will be replaced by 6 new sector-specific guides from 19 July.

Link: https://www.lewissilkin.com/en/insights/end-of-lockdown-restrictions-what-does-the-new-workplace-safety-guidance-say

This follows on from Lewis Silkin’s other recent piece setting out how employers can mitigate the risk of Covid-related claims. 

From Times UK:Government’s back-to-work advice to businesses slammed across the board

Date: 15 July, 2021

From Times UK:  The government’s advice to companies on staff returning to work was criticised by businesses and unions yesterday as the world’s biggest holiday company told its UK staff they need to work from the office only one day a month. Tui, which employs more than 10,000 people across the UK and Ireland, is the latest company to change its workplace culture because of the pandemic. Its advice to staff comes as England prepares to lift most coronavirus curbs from next week.

Link: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/governments-back-to-work-advice-to-businesses-slammed-across-the-board-bwl93l9rf

From Reuters:Work from home fuelling cyber attacks, says global financial watchdog

Date: 13 July, 2021

From Reuters:  Financial firms may need to bolster their defences in the face of rocketing cyber attacks after employees began working from home, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) said on Tuesday.   The FSB, which coordinates financial rules for the G20 group of nations, said remote working since economies went into lockdown to fight COVID-19 opened up new possibilities for cyber attacks. Working from home (WFH) is expected to stay in some form across the financial services industry and beyond.  “Most cyber frameworks did not envisage a scenario of near-universal remote working and the exploitation of such a situation by cyber threat actors,” the FSB said in a report to G20 ministers and central banks.

Link: https://www.reuters.com/business/work-home-fuelling-cyber-attacks-says-global-financial-watchdog-2021-07-13/

From McKinsey: Four ways communications can engage employees on the return to workplace journey.

Date: 12 July, 2021

McKinsey: In addition to its impact on lives and livelihoods, COVID-19 disrupted our sense of place. Familiar out-and-about spaces—stores, restaurants, places of worship, gyms, schools, and offices—made themselves comfortable in our homes. As we shopped online and ordered delivery, gathered around laptops for religious services and yoga sessions, and turned our dining rooms into classrooms, the line between work and home all but dissolved. As we reimagine what’s next, we are also re-evaluating how and where we want to work and even the relationship between employers and employees.

Link: https://mck.co/3k866iq  / https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-organization-blog/four-ways-communications-can-engage-employees-on-the-return-to-workplace-journey?

 

From McKinsey & Company:It’s time for leaders to get real about hybrid

Date: 9 July, 2021

Employers are ready to get back to significant in-person presence. Employees aren’t. The disconnect is deeper than most employers believe, and a spike in attrition and disengagement may be imminent.

Link: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/its-time-for-leaders-to-get-real-about-hybrid

Download article: https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/business%20functions/organization/our%20insights/its%20time%20for%20leaders%20to%20get%20real%20about%20hybrid/its-time-for-leaders-to-get-real-about-hybrid.pdf?

From Netherlands: Workers’ well-being improved drastically during the pandemic: ABN Amro

Date: 7 July , 2021

From NL Times (Online): The well-being of workers in the Netherlands increased by 12% during the pandemic, according to ABN Amro. Researchers at the bank observed that there was a significant upswing last year after a period between 2015 and 2020 which saw only slight improvements in well-being. 

Link: https://nltimes.nl/2021/07/07/workers-well-improved-drastically-pandemic-abn-amro

From The Guardian (UK): Is your boss ending remote work? As a CEO, let me tell you why they are wrong – By Dan Price

Date: 7 July , 2021

By Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments. The average worker logs almost an hour of unpaid work each day, for no good reason. I’m talking about the commute, which for decades has been taken for granted as a necessary part of the workday but which recently has been proven to be completely unnecessary for a large swath of workers. The miserable trek down the freeway or the sweaty wait for a late bus is coming back in vogue now that companies from Apple to Amazon and Goldman Sachs to JPMorgan Chase have told their workers to come back to the office in larger numbers. They say they need to do this to foster innovation and increase productivity.

As a CEO, that doesn’t make any sense to me

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/07/is-your-boss-ending-remote-work-as-a-ceo-let-me-tell-you-why-they-are-wrong

From BBC: Bank of England asks staff to come in once a week

Date: 6 July , 2021

From BBC:  The Bank of England is asking staff to come in to the office from September, starting with a minimum of once a week.  Its cautious approach contrasts with other companies in the City of London and the wider country who are keener to return to pre-pandemic office hours.  The government said people could return to the office after 19 July when Covid restrictions in England are lifted.  Government guidance that people who can work from home should do so, is set to end with other restrictions. Since the pandemic, 5% of the Bank of England’s 4,000 staff have been coming into the office.  Its chief operating officer and deputy governor, Joanna Place, said a recent survey of Bank staff showed that the majority hope to continue to work from home for at least two days a week.

Link:  https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57727567

From Bloomberg: Credit Suisse Plans ‘Maximum Flexibility’ Remote Work Model

Date: 5 July , 2021

From Bloomberg: Credit Suisse Group AG said it’s planning to introduce a work model that gives the bank employees in Switzerland “maximum flexibility,” joining global peers in making remote working arrangements more permanent. The approximately 13,000 employees of the universal bank in Switzerland will, depending on their role, be able to decide with their teams and line managers how much of their time they want to spend outside the office and which days to be in, according to a statement from the bank on Monday. “As we prepare for a post-pandemic world, our aim is to become more flexible and agile when it comes to working arrangements,” Credit Suisse Switzerland CEO Andre Helfenstein said in the statement

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-05/credit-suisse-plans-maximum-flexibility-remote-work-model

From The Herald (Scotland): John Lewis to introduce flexible working for all HQ staff

Date: 5 July , 2021

From the Herald Scotland: Bosses at John Lewis and Waitrose have confirmed they will introduce flexible working for staff at the employee-owned retailer based at the company’s head offices.  The announcement comes following the latest update from the Government over plans to ease lockdown restrictions from July 19, which include an end to the requirement that employees should work from home where they can.  Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations for the John Lewis Partnership, told the PA news agency: “If restrictions are lifted on July 19 we won’t tell our head office partners where to work. The pandemic has forced us all to rethink the norm of five days in an office.

Link: https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/19421821.john-lewis-introduce-flexible-working-hq-staff/

From CityAM: One-in-four UK financial services workers want to work from home full-time, says new survey

Date: 5 July , 2021

From City AM: Almost one-in-four of the UK’s financial services workforce wants to work at home permanently post-pandemic, according to a new survey from Accenture. The survey found 24% of the country’s 1m financial services workers “would prefer to work entirely from home once a full return to office is possible”, while 69% said they wanted to work two days or less in the office. Just 8% of respondents said they wanted to go back to five days a week in the office when the working from home advice and social distancing restrictions are dropped.

Link: https://www.cityam.com/one-in-four-uk-financial-services-workers-want-to-work-from-home-full-time-says-new-survey/

From Daily Mail online:Asda introduces permanent hybrid working model

Date: 2 July , 2021

Supermarket will allow its 4,000 HQ staff to chose whether they work from home or come into the office post pandemic – Asda will introduce a permanent hybrid working model for staff at its head offices once coronavirus restrictions are eased this month. The supermarket chain has confirmed that around 4,000 employees at Asda House in Leeds and George House in Leicester will be able to choose the location from which they wish to work. Bosses said there is no set number of days staff will be expected in the office but they should talk to their managers to ‘strike the right balance between home and office working, whilst ensuring this is led by the needs of the business’.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9750075/Asda-introduces-permanent-hybrid-working-model.html

From Coface: The risks and opportunities of virtual offshoring

Date: 1 July , 2021

With permanent telecommuting no longer a taboo, employers will be increasingly tempted to hire teleworking talent in developing countries. Many emerging economies are quickly catching up on education and technological development; yet labour costs remain lower by an order of magnitude. More and more office work will be performed in the developing world and then immaterially exported to wealthier countries at a fraction of its domestic cost. This trend towards “virtual offshoring” is driven by strong financial incentives. 

Link to download Coface Report: https://www.coface.com/content/download/194838/3239229/file/GB_FOCUS+TELETRAVAIL-JUNE-WEB.pdf

June 2021

Right to Disconnect: Real relief for employees or just extra obligations for employers?

Date: June 30, 2021

From Wardyński & Partners, Warsaw, Poland: “In the table, we include a summary of how the right to disconnect has been regulated in Belgium, France (which was the first to introduce provisions on the right to disconnect), Italy and Spain. It is also notable that in these countries, the effectiveness of the legal solutions adopted has been disappointing in practice. Employers have adopted internal policies on the right to disconnect with great reluctance and much slower than expected, and employees have little awareness of their rights. This condition could be counted on to change during the pandemic, when the number of people working from home (and feeling the negative effects of remote work, which the right to disconnect is supposed to counteract) has definitely increased. 

Link: https://codozasady.pl/upload/2021/06/the-right-to-disconnect.pdf

From the BBC: Smaller firms angered by quarantine exemption plans for big business

Date: June 30, 2021

From the BBC:  Foreign business leaders will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England if their trip is likely to have a significant economic benefit to the UK, the government has announced. The exemption will be for arrivals from amber-list countries, and only given in exceptional circumstances, the Department for Business (BEIS) said. Some business groups and MPs expressed anger as it excludes smaller companies. But BEIS said it would balance economic interests with public safety.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57644437