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Work will never be the same

By Mark Haskell

Staff Writer

There is hardly anyone who made it through the COVID-19 pandemic with their work life unscathed.

As this pandemic is an ongoing global crisis, it is imperative that corporate America reassess the relationship that it has with workers to provide a sustainable, rewarding, and life-enhancing work environment.

This ongoing crisis has forced people to transition from regular 9-to-5 employment experiences to jobs that are accessible only virtually. Yet this transition, while not immediate, has offered the opportunity for hybrid work, which means days working remotely or in-person at the oIce.

This forced transition has led to the utter collapse of the home/work partition, especially for parents who juggle childcare and homeschooling with intense work demands.

This imposed alteration has led to many people realizing that they do not wish to return to an in-person workplace and would rather stay remote. This is because they evaluated their previous lives using a pandemic lens.

Workers, including those deemed essential, should have manageable conditions rather than cruel and merciless ones.

Due to the incalculable harm of this global crisis, it is time for a reevaluation of corporate America and the relationship it has with its employees.

A topic for work-life reevaluation that needs to be considered is the possibility of a four-day work week. This topic has been discussed considerably as this pandemic brought unprecedented changes to how we do business.

According to the BBC, the four-day work week is acknowledged as a solution for stress and burnout in the workplace.

“Governments and businesses had the opportunity to experiment with this idea and the precursory conclusions propose that there are potential benefits including better work-life balance and improved wellbeing – at no cost to employee productivity,” the BBC reported.

An important concern that corporate America needs to address is job departures, as there have been many since the global health crisis began.

This pandemic has created an exodus of essential workers because a lot of folks are leaving their positions for a variety of reasons.

According to the Pew Research Center, a few of the reasons why people left their jobs in 2021 include “low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work.

“The survey also finds that those who quit and are now employed elsewhere are more likely than not to say their current job has better pay, more opportunities for advancement, and more work-life balance and flexibility,” according to the Pew Research Center.

Other possible reasons for workplace departures include cash incentives, such as better pay and/or benefits. Folks also had to leave the labor market to take care of themselves, children, or elderly persons during this ongoing global health crisis.

According to CNN, Older workers were forced to retire of their own prerogative or, unfortunately, age discrimination forced them out of the labor market. As reported by CNN, the rate by which workers were quitting in 2021 increased in the health care and social assistance industries as well as the hospitality and tourism industries alongside the labor force.

According to the University of Michigan, the younger facets of the labor force, those composed of college-educated workers, have access to safety nets that provide greater financial freedom to consider other options. For those who have financial constraints from employment instability, a crisis may lead many unemployed people to scramble to secure whatever work they can find.

Things have changed and we need to change with them.

This pandemic has given us a chance to reevaluate our workplaces and make decisions that will curate a healthy environment for workers – now and for the near future.


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