The Greek government is offering a 50% tax incentive to attract remote workers. Unilever pilots a four-day work week in New Zealand. The number of online job adverts used as a proxy for the health of the labour market. Offices should cater for socialising, collaboration, concentration and have access to nature. Research in the U.S. shows single mothers have been the hardest hit of all parents by the effects of COVID-19 with nearly 10% of them no longer in work.

#1. ‘Working from anywhere’ prompts government to offer 50% tax cuts to attract footloose remote workers.

The Greek government has plans to offer an income tax cut of 50% to remote professionals who move to the Mediterranean country in 2021. The project aims to combine the appeal that has made Greece a tourism hotspot with the country’s ambitions to diversify its economy into the digital sphere.

The initiative is also designed to go some way towards reversing the ‘brain drain’ that resulted from a decade-long sovereign debt crisis that shrunk Greece’s economic output by 25% and saw around 800,000 Greeks leave their homeland. Read more on DW.

Photo by Jonathan Gallegos on Unsplash

#2. Unilever pilots a four-day working week in its New Zealand operation

Unilever, one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies and pioneer in corporate sustainability is taking the opportunity of remote working to trial a four-day working week for its employees in New Zealand, while continuing to pay them for a five-day week.

Nick Bangs, managing director of Unilever in New Zealand says the company won’t increase the hours to compensate for the lost day of work. He said they will “compress schedules with full pay”, as the University of Technology Sydney in Australia helps track their progress. “We don’t want our team to have really long days, but to bring material change in the way they work,” said Bangs. After 12 months, the company will assess the situation and may consider rolling it out to its more than 150,000 employees around the world. Read more in Forbes.

Photo by devn for unsplash

#3 . The COVID effect – data from online job advertising shows 77% year-on-year drop in demand for labour in UK

The UK government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) is using a range of indicators and big data to assess the ongoing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and society.

In the business area, for example, they monitor the number of new company incorporations, road traffic volumes, freight and shipping movements and the number of job adverts over time, as an indicator of the demand for labour. Data covering the UK is provided by a jobs search engine. Latest data shows a significant drop in online job ads, which are now only 77% of the level they were in the corresponding period in 2019. Read more from ONS.

Graphic from the PEW RESEARCH CENTRE, Social and Demographic Trends

#4. Three quarters of workers want to return to an office in the future – but how will that workplace look?

Despite all the ways the pandemic has normalized working from remotely, three in four workers hope to return to an office at some point in the future, according to a survey of office workers worldwide by commercial real estate firm JLL.

The survey showed people wanted space for connecting, socializing, team-working and collaboration, but also areas for focused work and individual concentration. A connection with the natural environment was also mentioned as important.

“Corporations that focus on a people-centric workplace that’s centered around flexibility of health, wellbeing and experience, are the ones that are going to thrive.” JLL’s chief product officer Cynthia Kantor said .Read more at cnbc.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

#5. Single mothers hit harder in the workplace than other parents

Research by the non-partisan Pew Research Center in the U.S. showed that in September 2020, six months since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, just over two thirds (67.4%) of unpartnered mothers with children younger than 18 at home were working compared with more than three quarters (76.1%) a year earlier. This nine percentage point drop is the largest among all groups of parents, partnered or not. Unpartnered fathers experienced a less severe decrease (4 points), comparable to the drop seen by partnered mothers and fathers (about 5 points each).

Photo by luke-peters for unsplash

Balancing work and homelife is tough for many parents, but especially so for single mothers, many of whom don’t have support at home. As child-care centres closed during the pandemic, these mothers had no option but to care for their children at the expense of their employment. Read more at Pew Research Center, Fact Tank.

Photo by luke-peters for unsplash


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