A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, the forces that stand to transform India’s economy over the next decade (11:06), how surveilling workers could enhance productivity (21:07), and full-genome screening for newborn babies is now on the cards.
In Italy, more than 100,000 people working in the north have returned to their native villages in the south because of the Covid-19 pandemic. They are continuing to work for their employers based in the north, but remotely. As a result, large northern cities are losing their workforces. Milan, an important business hub, has lost more than 12,000 inhabitants since February 2020. Meanwhile, towns in the south are benefitting from the arrival of these young remote working professionals, in a north-south exodus previously unheard of in Italy. Our correspondents report from Sicily.
The white-collar world has been forced by Covid-19 into a “work from home” experiment, and the results are in. It turns out we can be just as productive at home, if not more so, and many don’t want to go back to the office — at least not full time. So what will happen to the office? Will we see workers coming in only when they have to? And if so, what does that mean to the multibillion- dollar commercial real estate industry?
With a virtual-reality headset and a virtual meeting platform like Spatial, you can meet up and collaborate with your colleagues as if you were in a real office space. WSJ’s Joanna Stern transformed into a holographic avatar and got in a virtual elevator to test it out.
Photo illustration: Adam Falk
AZURE MAGAZINE (SEPT 7, 2020): The future of work. In a year where the rhythms of daily life have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace has migrated from the office to the living room, kitchen table and – if the Zoom camera is off – even our beds.
But as Canada and countries around the world cautiously move towards re-opening their economies, a gradual, socially distanced return to the office beckons. So how should it all look?
When it comes to the office evolution, Teknion is ahead of the curve. Harnessing decades of innovation, the design-driven manufacturer’s flexible portfolio of workplace solutions is optimally positioned to create spaces that ensure employee safety while fostering learning, community and wellness.
Plexiglass dividers and floor decals might not be permanent, but the pandemic will bring lasting change to offices. Experts from the architecture and real-estate industries share how they are getting back to work and what offices will look like in the future.
Photo: Cesare Salerno for The Wall Street Journal
From a Stanford Engineering article (April 8, 2020):
Companies that structure themselves as location-independent have developed norms and practices that bridge the emotional and logistical distances. The same is true for their workers. For such companies, remote-only work can reduce costs, expand the talent pool and boost productivity. By contrast, being forced by a crisis to work remotely is likely to be disruptive and frustrating. It may be better than shutting down, but it will likely lead to a big drop in productivity.
In the span of a single month, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies and organizations of all types to have almost all of their employees work remotely from home.
Has the future of work, the all-remote workforce and even the virtual organization, arrived in full force? Though online technologies have made remote work increasingly common, most companies and organizations are still run out of brick-and-mortar facilities. Now they are scrambling to stand up virtual workspaces overnight.
From a GlassDoor.com online posting:
“Senior citizens today are healthier, more engaged, and working longer than past generations,” says Chamberlain. “A ‘gray wave’ of senior citizens will be impacting the workforce in coming years, both in the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Mature employees and job seekers bring a vast skillset and tremendous experience to open jobs, combined with a strong professional network that rivals any social-media-savvy Gen Zer. And despite the preconceptions of older workers, reports show they are just as open to learning and development as their young peers.
Move over, Gen Z and Millennials. The Baby Boomer generation, those born between 1944 and 1964, are the fastest-growing segment of the labor force in the U.S. and they are catching the eye of recruiters in every industry.
According to Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain in the newly released “Job & Hiring Trends 2020” report, the 65+ demographic is working longer than past generations and shows no signs of retiring for good.