Companies in Australia have been slowly re-introducing office life in a new post-pandemic world. Plus, the first-of-its-kind gender neutral parental leave policy for the car industry; tech companies are asking employees to come back to the office earlier than anticipated; research reveals exactly why adding women in leadership positions makes a difference; and how the future of work is uniquely human. Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

#1. What the post-pandemic office in Australia can tell us about the rest of the world


Across Australia, workers have been back in the office for weeks now in a new post-pandemic reality. Offices began reopening slowly last year, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, though many companies instituted a slow roll out to phase back into office life. Re-entry to the office space happened gradually, and many offices had to take into account how skittish workers would be when returning to communal spaces and meetings. Read more here.  

Photo: Dan Freeman via Unsplash

#2. Volvo rolls out gender-neutral parental leave policy


Swedish-based Volvo has announced an industry-first policy: a paid gender-neutral parental leave policy for all sales company employees in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Both mothers and fathers will have a total of six months of leave with 80 percent of pay, according to Volvo Cars. The parental leave policy is one of the most generous and inclusive policies in Europe, and it’s the first of its kind in the car industry. Read more here.

Photo: Florian Van Duyn via Unsplash

#3. In a blow to flexible working trend, Google asks workers to return to the office early


Tech giant Google was one of the first businesses to tell its employees to work from home. And now, the business is one of the first big businesses to tell its employees to return to the office, according to a report in CNBC. The CEO also announced that employees that want to work remotely for more than 14 days a year after September 1 will have to formally apply for the privilege, marking a big blow for the flexible working and remote working trend. Google’s head of people operations, Fiona Cicconi, said that offices won’t look exactly the same; as more and more companies plan to revamp offices, Google has said their offices will offer more meals, snacks, and amenities where possible. Plus, owners will be able to bring their dogs to work.

Google isn’t the only tech company asking people to return to the office. Last week, Amazon said they plan to return to an office-centric culture. Microsoft has also said they envision "working from home part of the time (less than 50%) as standard for most roles" in the future. In addition, IBM has said that 80% of their workforce will spend at least three days in the office. Read more here.

Photo: Paweł Czerwiński via Unsplash

#4. Adding women to the C-suite changes how companies think, research shows


It’s a well-known fact that companies with greater gender diversity in senior leadership positions perform better. But opinions differ on why exactly that is. New research published in the Harvard Business Review explores exactly how greater gender diversity leads to a strategic shift in innovation. The study, which examines more than 150 companies, found that once women joined the leadership team, those same companies became more open to change and less open to risk. Its clear evidence showing that women don’t just bring new perspectives, but they also lead companies to change their thinking on important topics like innovation and strategy. Read more here.

Photo: Social Cut via Unsplash

#5. Technology isn’t enough to brace for future disruptions. The future of work is uniquely human


The pandemic has led companies and organizations across the globe to radically rethink their operations, business models, and more. Technology and work have become increasingly intertwined, according to the MIT Technology Review, but technology alone is not enough to face future disruptions: this moment needs a human touch. According to a survey of more than 6,000 global respondents, including more than 3,600 senior executives, 45% said that building an organizational culture that embraces growth, adaptability and resilience, is crucial to the success of businesses. Read more here.

Photo: Headway via Unsplash

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