The pandemic has heated up the debate about sick days when working from home Plus, the Citigroup CEO calls for Zoom-free Fridays; British government plans to make flexible working the new norm, legally; how The Pro Act might change freelancing in the U.S.; and why the U.K. is heading towards a digital skills shortage. Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

#1. What exactly constitutes a sick day when you work from home? The pandemic has heated up the debate.

 

To take a sick day, or not to take a sick day? The pandemic has heated up the debate about exactly what employees should do if they don’t feel well, according to a report in the WSJ. Some remote workers are opting not to take time off when they feel ill and are instead plowing ahead at work. Companies are struggling to find out how to handle this new norm, whether that means offering more sick time for a wider variety of reasons or encouraging people to take their allocated time off each year. Read more here.

Photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

#2. Citigroup CEO calls for Zoom-free Fridays and new bank holiday as burnout grows.

 

Sick of turning on your camera each day? Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser announced this week that internal video calls will be banned on Friday, according to a CNBC report. Fraser, leader of the third largest U.S. bank, hopes the move will encourage employees to set healthier work-life boundaries. In addition, the CEO is creating a new firm-wide holiday called Citi Reset Day to give employees a break as the pandemic burnout and fatigue wears on. The move came after a Goldman Sachs internal survey went viral, detailing the brutal working conditions at the bank, including harsh working conditions and long hours.

 

″The blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on our well-being,” Fraser said in the company-wide memo. “It’s simply not sustainable. Since a return to any kind of new normal is still a few months away for many of us, we need to reset some of our working practices.” Read more here.

Photo: Clay LeConey via Unsplash

#3. British Government is preparing to make flexible work the new norm

 

British officials are preparing to make flexible working conditions the new norm, even when the pandemic ends, according to a report in The Times. The government plans to extend flexible working and work from home rights, ensuring that those who have transitioned to a home office will be able to maintain their way of life. Under current rules, employees must ask or request changes to their working pattern with their employer. Read more here.

Photo: Deniz Fuchidzchiev via Unsplash

#4. Here’s what The Pro Act in the U.S. means for freelancers, gig workers, and the future of work

 

A new bill working its way through Congress will potentially change the way the freelance economy works in the U.S., according to a report in Forbes. H.R. 842, or The Pro Act, “expands various labor protections related to employees' rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace.” It puts in place a new test (The ABC Test) that would determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor (or freelancer). This bill would mark the biggest expansion of collective-bargaining rights in decades. Read more here and here.

Photo: Deniz Fuchidzchiev via Unsplash

#5. U.K. heading towards digital skills shortage disaster

 

A U.K. think tank is warning that the country is heading towards a “Catastrophic” digital skills shortage “disaster,” according to a report in the BBC. The number of young people in the country taking IT subjects at GCSE has dropped by more than 40% since 2015. The reason why? A lack of clearly defined job roles for certain fields, lack of role models, and lack of guidance and understanding about career fields, to name a few. Many young people don’t know that their hobbies and digital skills, such as 3D video game design, or building robots, as Dr Bentley-Gockmann points out, can turn into rewarding jobs opportunities. Meanwhile, the demand for digital and IT jobs has only grown in recent years. Digital skills will be vital to the global economy in the post-pandemic word. Read more here.

Photo: Clay LeConey via Unsplash

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