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Economy

Outputs To Outcomes: Why It’s Time To Stop Measuring Productivity

Initially used to measure the link between exploited resources and final results in the industrial production process, the concept of productivity is the most widely used economic indicator. It is also sorely out-of-date.

Two hundred and fifty years after the beginning of industrialization, a new revolution is on : the digital one. If the automation of almost all production has led workers to turn to knowledge-based jobs, the concept of productivity is still anchored in management culture. But it is time to question the relevance of an evaluation of intellectual work through the prism of productivity.

Let’s take the example of a writer able to write two mediocre books in the same amount of time they would need to write one very good book. Two books means twice as much output, so a higher productivity rate. But since one good book sells better, their publisher will likely prefer quality over quantity. In this case, applying a productionist approach would be counterproductive.

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Work → In Progress: The Ripples Of Ukraine War On The World Of Work

Jobs for Ukrainian refugees, too busy to quit in Hong Kong, the rise of 'asynchronous' work....and more

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the working world — still recovering from the global pandemic, no less — was dealt a sizeable blow, from ripple effects of unemployment to supply chain disruptions to office campaigns to support the victims of the war.

Of course, the most immediate impact of the war is inside Ukraine itself, which UN News estimates has lost 4.8 million jobs. The immediate impact has also been felt across the global economy, as energy embargoes and grain blockades have undermined the most basic elements of life. Meanwhile, the influx of refugees has put newfound pressure on labor markets in certain countries.

But as the war unfolds before us on our screens, business in Western countries have also felt compelled to get involved, often with spontaneous initiatives to offer help. In the UK, for example, several companies have put pressure on the government to make it easier on refugees, and have offered jobs themselves to Ukrainian refugees. Some are going even further by offering relocation and other assistance.

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Friday's The New Saturday? Four-Day Work Week Tested Around Europe

As Britain begins the world's largest trial of the four-day work week, other European nations are experimenting with the idea too. Could a permanent three-day weekend be in reach for workers elsewhere?

PARIS - Since remote work has become part of normal life in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are now exploring other options to reduce the amount of time that employees spend in the office. One popular but controversial solution is the four-day work week. Europe is, not surprisingly, the first place to begin testing the feasibility of employees working one fewer day a week without sacrificing any of their pay.

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The Digital Tracking Of India's Sanitation Workers Is An Extra Dirty Deal

Lower-caste cleaners must wear GPS-enabled smartwatches, raising questions about their privacy and data protection.

Munesh sits by the roadside near a crowded market in Chandigarh, a city in India’s north, on a January day. She is flanked by several other women, all of them sweepers hired by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. She shows the smartwatch she is wearing and says, “See, I didn't even touch it, but the camera has turned on."

Munesh, who estimates she is in her 40s and, like many Indians, goes by just one name, is one of around 4,000 such sanitation workers. The corporation makes it mandatory for them to wear smartwatches — called Human Efficiency Tracking Systems — fitted with GPS trackers. Each one has a microphone, a SIM embedded for calling workers, and a camera, so that the workers can send photos to their supervisors as proof of attendance.

In Chandigarh, this project is run by Imtac India, an IT services company, at a cost of an estimated $278,000 per year. Meanwhile, sanitation workers say that the government has not invested in personal protective gear throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and that they have long worked without medical care and other vital social services.

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Top Cities For Your Career Abroad

European cities dominate both the top and the bottom of the Urban Work Life Index, according to findings in the Expat Insider survey.

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Global expat community InterNations conducts one of the biggest annual surveys of life abroad, Expat Insider. In 2021, over 12,000 expats representing 174 nationalities participated. Covering key areas such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, career prospects and more, the findings of the Urban Work Life Index offer unique insights into working life abroad.

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Work In Progress
Rozena Crossman

Work → In Progress: Why 'Financial Wellness' Is Not Just About A Raise

The workplace wellness trend now includes the very practical questions about how, when and how much we get paid, and is shaping up to be the next step in blurring the lines between personal and professional that were once so neatly divided.

We’re approaching the end of Q1 of 2022 and the “wellness” trend that’s usually reserved for millennials’ yoga mats has officially made its way into the professional world. After two years of realizing that job setups don’t always favor employees’ health, the call for sweeping workplace changes — ranging from more medical access to an HR focus on mental well-being — is in full swing.

But wouldn't you know: the latest professional self-care trend carries a notably practical air: financial wellness.

Bank of America’s 2021 Workplace Benefits Report mentioned “financial wellness” 43 times, which it defined as “the type of support employers are offering to address financial needs.” But is making money not the point of work? It seems this new rebranding of how work relates to cash is indicative of how differently we now view employment.

The financial wellness movement doesn’t want companies to just fairly compensate employees but instead to teach them how to manage their salaries, be it saving for retirement, navigating debt or budgeting.

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Future
Nathalie Villard

The French Company Teaching The World To Code

With 43 campuses in 27 countries, Le Wagon has become the world's leading network for intensive coding education, revolutionizing how coding is taught.

It’s a December morning at a warehouse hidden in a dead end street in Paris’ 11th arrondissement. The first to arrive are the gardeners because as much as the building has kept its industrial aspect, dozens of plants occupy the space flooded with light by a gigantic glass roof. "Greenhouse effect guaranteed," says one of the gardeners, watering can in hand. And then the students arrive to sit around large wooden tables.

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Economy
Niccolo Zancan

Who Wants To Work For The Post Office? Snapshot Of Italy's Uncertain Future

Why are no locals in the northern Italian city of Verona applying for the once prized permanent job posting? The answer is found elsewhere.

Forget the myth of permanent employment, the secure job for life. In Verona, they are looking for postal workers, but can't find them. They can't find them in Bolzano or Turin either. There is a labor shortage in the post offices of Italy's northeast, and a shortage in the northwest.

The letter carrier's position has never been in such high demand as it is today. To tell the truth: few actual letters though many more packages to deliver. Postal workers are offered a one-year fixed-term contract at 1,100 euros per month, before having the opportunity to move up the ranks and secure a job for life within two to three years. A national contract, annual leave, health insurance and workers rights. Yet the last call for applications in Verona was almost completely empty.

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Economy
Samir Hamladji

How Remote Work Undermines Employee Loyalty

Most workers want to keep the flexibility they had during the pandemic. And they no longer have any qualms about changing jobs if this isn't possible.

"Remote work possible.”

This perk is increasingly valued by candidates as they seek a new job.

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Economy
Frédéric Schaeffer

China’s Zero COVID Policy Starts To Scare Away Foreign Business

For almost two years, the country where COVID-19 emerged has been living virtually cut off from the rest of the world. And in the realm of business, China's zero COVID policy has had serious consequences on foreign workers and companies, which may last beyond the pandemic.

It is 4:30 a.m. as the ambulance cuts through the Shanghai night on its way to a hospital in the Pudong district. Disembarked in an isolated building, the Frenchman was first sprayed with a disinfectant before undergoing two serological tests, a PCR test in the nose, another in the mouth and then a lung X-ray.

There is no face in front of him. The staff is masked, visor in front of the eyes and dressed in a full protective suit. There were few words exchanged, but the young man understood that he had tipped into another dimension.

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Economy
Laura Villahermosa

The Pandemic Changed How Latin Americans Work — And Where

Once dismissed as being for millennials and hard-up freelancers, coworking firms now occupy Latin America's prestigious corporate towers that have more and more spaces to fill.

LIMA — When workers left their offices in March 2020, with a global pandemic in full swing, nobody knew when they would be back. As firms and workers began warming to working from home weeks into lockdowns and confinement regimes, the real estate sector trembled at the prospect of a massive downturn in demand for office space.

In Latin America, use of corporate office space had already been changing before the pandemic, with the demand for shared offices taking off in 2015-2018. The U.S.-based firm WeWork was one of the beneficiaries. "We had 70% occupation levels before the pandemic," says Claudio Hidalgo, head of WeWork in Latin America.

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Society
Brad Aeon

Why Modern Life Feels So Busy Even If We Work Less

It's about multiplying choices, not vanishing time...

MONTREAL — Many of us feel like time management is getting tougher. But why? Is it because we now work more than ever, or maybe because life in general has sped up so much?

It’s unlikely. Overall, people work less today than they did 100 years ago. And there is no clear evidence that the pace of life has accelerated.

So if it’s not more hours or faster pace, what’s changed? The answer is that the institutions that used to regulate our time have all but vanished.

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