Flexible work is an example of white-collar privilige.
Working from home. The Great Resignation. Whatever you call it, many Americans' attitude towards work has changed over the course of the pandemic, and not in a positive way. This new approach could have a long-lasting impact on economic growth and prosperity. Covid changed the way most Americans worked. Before Covid, they followed an old pattern. They would wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast, commute to work, spend eight hours at a factory or office, then commute home. Every Monday through Friday, repeat the process.
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Most people find life a drudgery, while others enjoy it. Those who are closest to the top of the pay scale and responsibility often get more enjoyment.
Covid was a major influence on the way people lived, especially for office workers. There's no need to worry about your wardrobe. Some people will enjoy a more relaxed schedule of meetings.
Many Americans began to reconsider their work-life balance as lockdowns eased. According to
A recent Gallup survey
Since 2020, the number of Americans who are "actively engaged" in their work is declining.
The Great Resignation was a phenomenon that occurred when older workers decided to not return to work. If the participation rate had remained unchanged, there would be about 2.1 more Americans in the workforce today. The number of Americans who work part-time is increasing for reasons other than economic (i.e. not because there are no jobs available).
The number of people who have climbed has increased
To near the peak of January 2020. All this is despite the fact that there are nearly two jobs available full-time for each unemployed American. Many people I've talked to (and myself included) have asked me: Has America become soft?
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The following are some recent examples of the use of
Wall Street Journal reported that a Qualtrics poll of over 3,000 managers and workers found that 38 percent of respondents said the importance of their work had decreased during Covid, while 25 percent stated that it had increased. The rest of the respondents said it hadn't changed.
These trends were encouraged by stimulus checks and lower-than-normal expenditures during the worst part of the pandemic. Americans spent more than they normally would during the worst of the pandemic.
The total value of the $2.1 trillion
More information about the product
They still have about $900 Billion in "excess" savings.
Many people have refused to return to work, causing a conflict with their employers. Why is it that companies are so insistent on returning to work? Every senior executive I have spoken to on this subject believes that working from home is less efficient.
It is better to be at home than in the office.
Mentorship and collaboration are both difficult. The short walk to a co-worker's desk for a quick request or question becomes a tedious process. Jamie Dimon is the Chairman and Chief Executive of JPMorgan. He says that working remotely doesn't work well for kids, spontaneity, or management.
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In January, at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.
Does it "work" for those who are willing to hustle? Many
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They don't think their employees work as hard at home where there are more distractions and less supervision.
Silicon Valley companies who were among the first to adopt remote work have changed their minds. Marc Benioff is the CEO of Salesforce.
Staff hired during the pandemic was less productive than long-standing employees, and it has been speculated that a lack of office culture could be one reason. Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO of Meta.
A similar observation was made
Last week. In-person time builds relationships and helps get more done, read one section of his lengthy memo to staff.
Silicon Valley Bank is another option. The leadership of Covid was dispersed across the country as the bank faded. This made it difficult to communicate and collaborate. The bank even
The annual report of the OECD warns
Last month, it was said that "a prolonged arrangement of working from home may have negative effects."
It is harder to insist on the return of five days at the office if employees can choose to work for another company with a flexible policy. Many companies are now reluctantly accepting that in the future, they will only be working three or four days a week and not on Fridays. Flexible work is, of course, a white-collar benefit. Americans who work in factories, restaurants, or stores do not have the luxury to work from home. I'm fine if Americans reduce or eliminate the rat-race from their lives. In fact, increased prosperity should lead to more leisure.
In 1900, full-time American workers earned an average of
About 2,900 hours per Year
(or 56 calendar hours). The hours of work steadily decreased with industrialization. This led economist John Maynard Keynes to call for a change.
Predicting the future is possible
In 1930, a 15-hour week was "a hundred years away."
Last year, Americans who were employed worked an average of 34.6 hours per week. That's about 1,800 hours in a year.
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We could have easily cut our working hours by more than half and maintained the standard of living we enjoyed in 1930. We chose to continue working to reap greater material rewards. Since 1900, real incomes are up more than sevenfold.
Many may now be making a completely different choice. It's fine, but don't fool yourself: less output (whether a result of fewer working hours or lower productivity) will eventually lead to a lower standard-of-living (or one that rises slower). I will admit that, aside from the shrinking labor force, the hard data regarding the impact of the new work arrangements are at best inconclusive. Statistics remain distorted due to Covid effects. I will also admit that video conferencing has made remote working more possible, especially if it is structured with specific days set aside for remote work. Last but not least, I will admit that some time spent commuting and perhaps grooming yourself can be deemed wasted. We should also be aware that other countries make different decisions, especially China, which is our greatest strategic enemy. The Chinese phrase "996" is used to describe working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days per week. The Chinese government is trying to curtail this practice through a series labor market reforms. However, in my interactions with Chinese businessmen and investors, I find the work ethic there extraordinary.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, JLL, a property manager, found that
In Asia, the range is 80 to 110 percent. This means that more people are in the offices than they were before the pandemic. Comparatively, U.S. offices are occupied at 40% to 60% of pre-Covid levels. This is lower than Europe which has a 70 to 90% occupancy rate. Some experts think that Europe's higher figures can be attributed to the smaller homes and apartments in Europe which make working from home more uncomfortable.
A change in work habits has prompted a call for codification of practices that may be already common.
Legislation in this regard
California, Maryland, and other states. I'm sceptical about this and the idea that less is more when it comes down to work.