From the acceleration of automation due to coronavirus, the office being recognised as an equaliser among workers, to what worries young people the most. These are some of the stories that have been trending in the world of work this week.

#1. 80% of restaurant jobs could be taken over by robots

More than 80% of restaurant positions could be automated. That’s according to a report published by a restaurant consulting firm Aaron Allen & Associates. The study concludes that the majority (51%) of positions foreseen to be automated would fall under the category of server positions. Robots are also expected to replace 57% of fast-food and counter workers. Traditionally, companies and restaurants have used automation to bridge the skills gap, but due to current high unemployment levels caused by the pandemic, labour shortages have become less of a problem short-term. Instead, what’s driving automation right now is the physical distance economy, which has accelerated the push towards off-premises dining, leading to a different kind of staffing set-up.

More than 80% of restaurant positions could be automated. Source: Aaron Allen & Associates

#2. Working from home doesn’t mean workplace equality

Working in the office helps overcome inequalities. How? “When we go into the office, we walk into a neutral space where all have access to the same resources, and we don’t bring our children, our unmade beds or our laundry with us”, writes Tiffany Philippou. While many workers have been forced to work remotely these past months, and many of us would like to continue with some level of flexibility, the role of the office remains essential. In the office, one doesn’t have to worry about the wi-fi connection, or whether they have a beautiful bookshelf to form the backdrop of their video call. To read more on why working (at least part of your time) in the office has its advantages, click here.

Working in the office has its advantages. Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

#3. University vs degree apprenticeship: which is best?

Many young people are faced with a difficult decision: to go to a university or start an apprenticeship? In the UK, and since 2015, there has been a third option: a degree apprenticeship. It combines paid on-the-job training with university studies with no tuition fees to pay. But while for many, the advantage of avoiding a student debt will be attractive enough, others will still want to go to university for the experience. The Telegraph has asked two young people working in the same company – one who did a university degree and the other with a degree apprenticeship – to share their views. Read more here.

Many young people are faced with a difficult decision: to go to a university or start an apprenticeship. Photo by Matese Fields on Unsplash

#4. Thinking of skipping vacation? Don’t!

We all need to take some time off work! Vacations lead to improved productivity, lower stress, and better overall mental health. And even though many of us will not be able to travel due to COVID-19, there are still ways to make the most of our time off. The Harvard Business Review recommends these tips: get a change in scenery, plan ahead, identify the type of experience you want to have, spend time outdoords, unplug, and create memories. To read more on these recommendations, click here.

Even if you can’t travel abroad this year, you shouldn’t skip taking time off work. Photo by Luke Richardson on Unsplash.

#5. What worries young people the most? Mental health, employment and disposable income

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has published a report ‘Youth and COVID-19: Response, Recovery and Resilience’, gathering information from 48 countries. In the report, OECD highlights that young people under 25 are 2.5 times more likely to be unemployed than people aged 25-64. Furthermore, it adds that “the disruption in their access to education and employment opportunities as a result of the economic downturn is likely to put the young generation on a much more volatile trajectory in finding and maintaining quality jobs and income”. This is also reflected in young people’s attitudes and fears as they express the greatest concerns about mental health, employment, and disposable income.

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