This week, why a focus on winning at any cost won’t boost productivity. Plus, the companies mandating vaccines for employees; redundancies on the horizon as furlough winds down; U.S. gig workers losing their Covid-19 safety net, and getting the best return on investment in skills training. Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

#1. Why an Olympian-style devotion to winning is not as productive as it might seem


While Olympic athletes focus obsessively on their dreams of a gold medal, few of them spend time pondering the future beyond their sporting careers. In business, too, some of the most successful people devote all their time and effort in the pursuit of short-term glory, with little regard for a better long-term future.


Because their time is dedicated to training, and less to developing the skills they need to build a new life once they retire from sport, many athletes struggle to enter the workforce. The transition is made more difficult when they realise that their mantra of ‘always being the best they can be’ is not one shared by their new colleagues.


A more important lesson, perhaps, is that while a fixation on winning at any cost brings short term rewards, it’s not an effective strategy for being as creative and collaborative, nor as productive, as it is often perceived to be. Read more at the Financial Post

Photo by Braden Collum via Unsplash

#2. Companies like Disney are mandating vaccines for their employees

Covid-19’s Delta variant has disrupted plans for an orderly return to the office and prompted a growing number of companies to introduce mandatory vaccine policies. Walt Disney Co. has told its salaried and non-union hourly employees that they must be vaccinated by the end of September, while retailers like Walmart and Dollar General are promising extra pay and cash bonuses to inoculated workers. A growing number of smaller companies have decided to require that employees provide proof of vaccination.


For corporations with multinational operations, the challenge of juggling differing cross-border public health rules and case rates is particularly acute. There are also implications for those trying to make hires amid a nationwide worker shortage.


Regardless of company size or industry sector questions around vaccinations and other Covid-19 policies are now urgent and business leaders are hoping for more direction from the federal government.

Photo by Gustavo Fring via Pexels

#3. Redundancies set to rise as furlough tapers off


Thousands of redundancies have been predicted as furlough winds down. The scheme, which guaranteed staff whose jobs went on hold during the pandemic, 80% of their salaries would be paid by the government, will come to an end by October.

A survey of businesses by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) found that one in five had plans to let staff go in response to the latest furlough policy change, when employers will be asked to contribute 20% towards the salaries of those whose wages are currently being subsided by the state.


At a time of widespread skills shortages, some will find new jobs where their skills are in demand, while others will need to retrain for opportunities in a different sector. The BCC is calling on the Government and employers to ensure those impacted, including workers in the 65 and over age group who represent the highest proportion of staff still on furlough, are given the support and training they need to remain productive. Read more at

Photo by Burst via Pexels

#4. End of Covid Safety Net Sends Gig Workers Back to Square One

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was the first federal-level programme aimed at protecting so-called gig workers in the U.S. during the Covid-19 crisis. With the programme being wound down, life for freelancers is looking precarious once again.


An estimated 59 million Americans freelanced in 2020, a figure that is set to rise. One-fifth of professionals would consider going freelance to preserve work-from-home flexibility, according to a study by recruitment firm Upwork.


In July the PUA programme had around 5.3 million participants, while an average of 100,000 new claims have been filed each week since then. Half of U.S. states have already ended pandemic unemployment benefits, with more set to follow before the Sept. 6 deadline.


Government-backed measures that could offer some help include the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which would make it easier for workers to unionize and collectively bargain, even if their companies claim they are contractors rather than employees. Read more at Bloomberg

Photo by Andres Canchon via Unsplash

#5.  Make Sure Your Company’s Reskilling Efforts Pay Off

With technologies such as AI, Machine Learning and robotics taking on more of the routine elements of work in the corporate world, companies are focusing on upskilling and reskilling their employees to enable them to do higher value work or fill open jobs within the company.

However, the findings of a global survey of learning and development (L&D) professionals via LinkedIn raises questions over the way that companies measure the return on their skills investments. Crucially, it found that most measures used to assess the impact of training programmes are soft metrics, such as completion rates, satisfaction scores, and employee feedback, while comparatively few respondents used harder metrics, including increases in employee retention, productivity, or revenue.


A more strategic investment into closing the skills gap could boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum and PwC. The use of better measures combined could deliver greater insights into the return on investment of skill-building programmes.  Read more at Harvard Business Review

Photo by Leon via Unsplash

Stay in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest insights on the Future of Work

I'm interested in :

* indicates mandatory fields


News and Research