Are you working too many hours, yet you feel you’re not very productive? What are the global risks for 2021, how to reskill China’s workforce, and how are some countries making life for digital nomads easier? Read this week’s trends from the world of work.

#1. Working more doesn't always mean more output, according to these researchers


Are you spending too much time at work and hope you get more done? Then perhaps you should rethink your strategy! Or that's at least according to QuickBooks' research that claims that longer hours do not always equal higher productivity. In fact, the software company has identified a correlation between a shorter week and higher output. For instance, South Africans work on average 2,209 hours a year, which is almost 1,000 hours more than workers in Germany. Yet, Germany's productivity and output far outperform that of South Africa. That's why many have argued for shorter or more flexible workdays and workweeks. Among many other places, in New Zealand, companies such as Unilever have decided to move to a four-day workweek while paying staff for five to improve performance. Read more here.

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#2. WEF’s ‘Global Risks Report 2021’


The World Economic Forum has published its Global Risk Report 2021, which looks into the current and future challenges and analyses how COVID-19 has impacted our ability to address these. The report claims that the most imminent threats – those that are most likely in the next two years – include employment and livelihood crises, widespread youth disillusionment, and societal cohesion. In the long-term, the current economic risks will be replaced by environmental threats such as climate change, but the ongoing pandemic will make it more difficult to tackle them. In her Deutsche Welle interview, WEF’s Managing Director Saadia Zahidi explained that the coronavirus pandemic has increased inequality, led to unemployment, and widened the digital divide. You can download the full report here.

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#3. Reskilling China: Transforming the world’s largest workforce into lifelong learners


China's next biggest challenge is to transform its education and skills development to meet the demands of the digital and post-industrial economy. And the scale of the challenge is not insignificant – it is estimated that in China alone, the workforce accounts for staggering one-third of the total global occupational transitions needed for the future work. A report published by McKinsey Global Institute argues that Beijing needs nothing short of a skills revolution, and for it to succeed, it will have to invest heavily in life-long learning and engage all relevant stakeholders, notably the private sector. To learn more on how China should reskill and transform its massive workforce, read here.

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#4. New Insights On Freelancing 2021 From Recent Research


The future of work is here, and that means, among other things, a greater role for freelancing jobs. But while the freelance revolution is already underway, putting together its current and global picture is difficult. Collecting some of the most recent research on the topic of freelancing, Forbes' Jon Younger has listed all relevant insights on what to expect in 2021. Among those, he identifies that freelancers will play a key role in solving the global tech talent gap, that there is now more need for tech freelance expertise, and that the state of freelancing in the EU is lagging compared to the rest of the world. Read the full article here.

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#5. Countries experiment with special remote-work visas for ‘digital nomads’

Are you trying to escape from your daily routine of working from home? Then we have great news! As has been reported previously, more and more workers choose to become digital nomads and relocate to a country of their choice, often far away from their employer. But while until now this expat lifestyle has been limited by immigration barriers and tax rules, globe-trotting is about to get a lot easier. Countries such as Estonia, Bermuda, and Georgia are coming up with innovative ideas to attract workers and freelancers to come and stay for as long as one year. In Estonia, for instance, digital nomads can take advantage of the so-called Digital Nomad Visa programme, while in Bermuda, you can use their one-year “Work From Bermuda” visa. To read more, click here.

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