May the Force Be with the Workers
Say what you will about the millennials and generation Z but their constant scrolling fingers and share-everything culture has done wonders for the workforce. Yes, Covid has also played a locked-down role in it but let’s give these younger generations the credit they deserve for helping to reshape the way the older generation views the way employment, and our working lives should work.
I am a writer; I have a profession that can be practiced anywhere in the world. All I need is a good internet connection, a computer, and an open means of communication with a team (if I am to work within a team). Otherwise, I can, and do freelance work with different clients as variety is the spice of life after all.
I use LinkedIn to brand myself and get approached by agencies or other companies to write content. We have a zoom call and then take it from there. Very rarely do I actually meet them. The only downside is inspiration. When you are in the same room with people who are working on the same project you can bounce ideas off each other, just as long as those people are passionate and respectful of one another.
Can this also happen in a virtual room? Yes, it can, but I am not saying I agree with the notion of all writers being hermits and completely out of the social realm of things. What I am saying is give us space to be alone long enough to gather our thoughts — which are usually scattered all around the place — so we can then get those thoughts into comprehensive sentences and then we can run with just about anything that is thrown at us — just don’t make it anything too heavy please, we spend most of our time sitting down so our legs aren’t as trained as our fingers at our keyboards.
So as a writer seeking new employment about ten years ago and speaking to a recruiter, I brought up the notion of working remotely. I said I could not commute to another city; I hate driving and I wanted to be close to my family just in case anything happened.
What???? I wanted a family and remote work? How horrid of me to suggest such a thing. The recruiter totally agreed, she had also been pushing the idea, but the companies just wouldn’t go for it, how could they micromanage from afar? They could, if a company really wants to put its two cents into everything you do, it will do it virtually if it must. But that is the confidence in your employee out the window and a great show of the lack of confidence in what the company is able to achieve and, sometimes, in themselves as people.
Fast-forward to 2022 and I have messages in my LinkedIn mailbox raving about hybrid posts and what a “great opportunity it is, you can work three days in the office and two days from home.”
But the pandemic does not deserve all the credit for this movement, it was happening way before, just not on such a large scale. The pandemic did push this work culture onto companies and gave power to the working people. This combined with the fact that the younger generation has grown up behind screens, has knowledge beyond the older generation’s grasp, and is daring enough to have a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of attitude, has made employers realise they also have to give a little when it comes to working conditions.
And now for the latest news, the four-day working week — well it is news to this dinosaur. Big companies have started to test the waters, true most of them only worked half-day on Friday anyway, but if they see the benefits, more companies will follow.
As I look ahead in my own career, as I ponder on the cycles I have gone through with different companies, and as I am now confident enough to know what I want from a job, I say power to employees and thank God for the fresh, new ways of the younger generation, they just might teach us a thing or two.