Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week. The results will (not) shock you.

Why aren’t we doing this already?

From 2015 to 2019, Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter working week. An analysis of the results was finally published this week, and surprise! Everyone was happier, healthier, and more productive. Please pretend to be surprised. . . . “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, Autonomy’s director of research. “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments.” . . . . Productivity either remained the same or actually increased, and worker wellbeing was considerably improved. Perceived stress and burnout went down, while health and work-life balance went up, as employees were given more time for housekeeping, hobbies, and their families. Both managers and staff considered the trials a major success . . . . full story at Mashable here

“Great resignation” wave coming for companies – Upwards of 40% of Workers May Leave

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave. Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks’ noticeand make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

“The great resignation” is what economists are dubbing it.

  • Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.
  • “I don’t envy the challenge that human resources faces right now,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.

A number of colliding trends are driving the resignation boom, experts say. 

  • University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson tells Axios, “People have had a little more space to ask themselves, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?'” So some are deciding they want to work fewer hours or with more flexibility to create more time for family or hobbies. . . . full story at Axios

CAN RESTAURANTS BECOME DRIVERS OF OPPORTUNITY—NOT INEQUALITY?

To Prosper in a New Era, Eateries Will Have to Reckon With Issues Left to Simmer on the Back Burner

Thousands of restaurants have closed for good across America since WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March. Many others remain temporarily shuttered; the remainder limp by with sales a fraction of what they were. Even with the arrival of a new administration and new vaccines, millions of restaurant workers continue to be out of work today, as the pandemic rounds its second year.

But the current disruption in the restaurant industry, for all the pain and economic loss it’s caused, provides an opening to disrupt the established models, and reckon with both the decline of hospitality and the reality of restaurant inequality. To recover and thrive in the years ahead, this essential American business will need to bring its time-honored cultural traditions into greater alignment with the social movements that define our times.

To start with, consider the slew of new options to purchase commercially prepared food that have flooded the marketplace in the last year. These options include delivery platforms, meal subscriptions, and online storefronts with offsite “ghost kitchens.” Takeout and delivery sales have skyrocketed, as have lines at the local drive-thru. Clearly, those who can afford to eat out occasionally are still buying and consuming food that they do not make themselves.

A shadowy army of workers has sprung up to staff these operations. Many are precariously employed, armed with some combination of a vehicle, a mobile app, a mask, and hand sanitizer. By connecting people to food through wordless hand-offs or drop-offs of plastic-wrapped edibles, these people are doing the human labor that Silicon Valley would rather automate than improve. It’s paying work, but we should be alarmed by this trend, which represents the decline of hospitality . . . . full article at Zocola Public Square


LAEDC Economic Implications Briefing – Zoom – March 29, 2021

The next monthly installment of the LAEDC’s Economic Briefing will be on Monday, March 29th at 11:00 AM PDT. Bill Allen, LAEDC CEO, and the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics (IAE) Director, Shannon Sedgwick, will be offering insights into the ongoing ramifications and slowing recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession with an update on jobs, unemployment and industry performance. 

Join us for this update to gather insight on your local economy. Space is limited, and registration is required.


Verdugo Workforce Development Board Public Meeting – Local Workforce Development Plan 2021-2024

The Verdugo Workforce Development Board (VWDB) has released two draft documents for public review and comment: 1) VWDB Local Workforce Development Plan 2021– 2024 (Draft); 2) Los Angeles Basin Regional Planning Unit (LABRPU):  Regional Workforce Development Plan 2021– 2024 (Draft).

The draft Local Plan establishes the types of workforce development activities that will be offered in the Verdugo Workforce Development Area (VWDA), including programs for unemployed job seekers and youth. The Plan will also include programs to assist local businesses to ensure they have the qualified workforce to meet their organizational needs. The VWDA consists of the cities of Burbank, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge which is governed by a Joint Powers Agreement that creates the Verdugo Consortium.

The draft Regional Plan articulates how the LABRPU will build intentionality around industry sector engagement, drive workforce development outcomes across multiple jurisdictions, and expand on-ramps to career pathways for individuals who experience barriers to employment..

Download the VWDB Local plan here

Download the draft LABRPU Regional Plan here

Comments, for the Regional Plan, including any disagreements with the plan, are welcome; however, must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 22, 2021. Comments should be emailed to MaryAnn Pranke at MPranke@GlendaleCA.gov.

Uber and Lyft’s Gig Work Law Could Expand Beyond California

The companies are backing proposals in other states that would give workers the ability to form unions—but still consider them contractors, not employees.

In November, GIG companies including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart helped pass California’s Proposition 22, effectively writing their own labor law. Now the companies plan to bring similar legislation elsewhere.

Last month, the companies launched a group called the App-Based Work Alliance to support their agenda. Industry-supported bills in the works in New York state and Illinois would, like the California ballot measure, deny gig workers status as employees, and the workers’ compensation, paid family leave, sick pay, unemployment insurance, and minimum wage guarantees that come with it.

But the bills could give gig workers the right to form something resembling a union, allowing workers to bargain with multiple employers to create wage floors and standards. US workers in trucking, auto manufacturing, and grocery stores have participated in types of industry-wide bargaining, though the arrangement is more common in Europe.

The scheme has divided labor advocates. Some labor allies say that allowing gig workers to unionize would give them a much-needed seat at the table, in an industry where work and wages are dictated by algorithm and where access to the “bosses”—the companies that pay their wages—is hard to come by. Gaining the right to collectively bargain, these people say, is a vital first step in making the low-wage, high-turnover job more fair.

Others say that allowing gig companies to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors is a mistake. Legislation giving workers the right to a union without employment status would effectively be a government rubber stamp to gig companies’ business models, “in which the most low-income workers don’t have access to basic safety net benefits,” says Veena Dubal, a professor of labor law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. full story here at Wired


An even bigger battle for gig worker rights is on the horizon

“The first feeling I had was shock, disbelief and hurt,” Vanessa Bain, a worker-organizer with Gig Workers Collective, told TechCrunch. “It didn’t feel good to think that my fellow Californians voted to strip people like myself and my co-workers of our labor rights.. . . . We didn’t have time for more grieving because as soon as it passed, every company signaled they’re looking to expand this model to the national level, which means our organizing needs to adjust accordingly,” Bain said.”

But Prop 22 does not mark the end of the battle of the status of gig workers. Gig workers, lawyers and activists affiliated with Gig Workers Rising, Gig Workers Collective, the National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families are all gearing up to redouble their efforts in the New Year.

But the same goes for gig companies. Uber and Lyft are ready to take legislation similar to Prop 22 into other parts of the country and the world. So, really, the fight has just begun. In the year ahead, we will likely see lobbying efforts from both gig companies and gig worker organizations alike, as well as more lawsuits. full story here


Pandemic accelerating the move to a hybrid workplace

As employees swap the corporate office for the home office, business leaders are forced to re-examine the business model and strategic priorities.

The pandemic has amplified several trends already prevalent in the workplace: the growth of the dispersed workforce, the proliferation of digital engagement, and the rise of the subscription economy. Together, they are ushering in an era of a rapidly emerging work environment that promotes business agility and growth through a mix of on-site and remote employees, modern digital experiences, and on-demand access to software and solutions.

Flexible work environments will play a more central role moving forward. As one respondent put it, “remote workers are going to be the new norm for our company.” . . . Equally important to business leaders, employees are onboard with more remote work. According to PwC, almost three quarters (72%) of US employees now want to work remotely at least two days per week, with one third (32%) preferring to never go to the office. Similarly, Gallup reported in April 2020 that 60% of Americans would prefer to continue to work remotely once public health restrictions are lifted. full story here


When Will Californians Start Spending Again? – Virtual Event

Tuesday, October 13, 1:00PT

California isn’t just the world’s fifth largest economy—it’s also a global capital of consumer culture. And now its culture, and the everyday habits of its people, are being profoundly disrupted by the pandemic and its associated economic collapse. A sudden, sharp decline in consumer satisfaction has laid open the profound fragility of the California economy. How is COVID-19 changing the way Californians participate in the economy, particularly in the counties hit hardest by the pandemic? How can California bounce back from COVID? And what might Californians’ changing feelings about consumer culture portend for the rest of the country?

Cameron Shelton, director of the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College and a lead investigator in the California Consumer Sentiment Indices, visits Zócalo to explore Californians’ rapidly changing feelings about consumerism.

Click here to register


Software Developer Drought: Where are you in Demand?

With an increasing need for software by non-tech companies, a developer drought is growing outside of Silicon Valley.

Turns out there’s a major need for software developers outside of the traditional geo-center of Silicon Valley. Despite COVID-19, states in the US heartland are actively hiring developers. Plus, professionals on the West Coast are reassessing work-life opportunities and exploring start-up prospects outside the Valley and other tech hotspots.

This isn’t a shift to remote workers. In July and August, 92% of software developer job ads on three leading employment sites were for work-on-premises jobs. Apparently, employers are slow to embrace remote working.

The data comes from Mendix, a Siemens business involved in low-code application development. The company recently launched the Mendix 2020 Software Developer Drought Index, an effort to track hiring shortages for developers on the US county and state levels. click here for full article . . .